Official: Town raids illegal mulching operation in Middle Island
Brookhaven officials executed a search warrant Friday at a suspected illegal mulching and sandmining operation in Middle Island.
Town authorities early Friday blocked the private road leading to 132 Swezey Dr., off Middle Country Road, and turned away as many as 25 trucks trying to unload material at the site, said town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine.
The property is zoned residential and is listed as vacant on the town's tax roll, he added.
"It's operating as a commercial business. It has no plans, no permits and no approvals," Romaine said.
The owner, who town officials identified as Marien Marcario, could not be reached for comment. A man at her listed address in East Setauket ordered a reporter off his property.
Deputy town attorney David Moran said authorities are processing information they collected Friday to see what legal action is warranted.
The site "is totally illegal, in violation of town codes," with mulch piles that present a fire hazard, Romaine said. The violations could result in a cease-and-desist order or tickets, he said.
Officials said noise complaints from surrounding neighbors led the town's law department to shut down the private road about 11 a.m.
Various companies and landscapers came to the heavily wooded, roughly 11-acre site to drop off organic materials, including grass clippings and tree limbs for recycle processing and possible sale, Moran said.
Town investigators had watched the site for several weeks, Romaine said; and Moran said Sixth District Court Judge Janine A. Barbera-Dalli signed a search warrant on Thursday.
Though the state Department of Environmental Conservation investigated the property several years ago, Moran said, a court ruled the DEC was not authorized to be on the site. DEC officials did not return calls for comment.
Romaine said officials are being careful in their investigation and working to make sure the property is in compliance with the law.