Meeting set on Carmans River watershed plan

Foliage grows near the train trestle which spans

Foliage grows near the train trestle which spans the Carmans River in the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley. (July 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Brookhaven's town board has scheduled a mid-October vote on its plan to protect the fragile Carmans River watershed from overdevelopment.

The board on Tuesday approved a revised autumn meeting schedule, including a special Oct. 15 gathering to focus exclusively on the proposed Carmans River Conservation and Management Plan.

The meeting is expected to include a public discussion portion, during which residents can comment on the plan. The board plans to vote after the discussion, Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said.

The public comment portion of the meeting is not required by state law, but was added to the agenda at the request of residents, town officials said. "It is important that all voices be heard," Romaine said.

The plan -- which calls for town acquisition of various parcels along the 10-mile river, and new zoning to restrict development -- should be posted in early October on the town website,, Romaine said.

About two dozen people expressed opinions about the proposal at a July 30 public hearing at town hall in Farmingville. Most speakers said they liked the plan, but some questioned proposals for reducing nitrates caused by fertilizer and home septic systems.

In an interview, Romaine said the final plan would include revisions to proposals for reducing the flow of nitrates into the river. "We want to address this more specifically in the plan," he said.

Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister, who had been critical of the town's nitrate-reduction proposal, applauded efforts to revise the plan.

"It's a positive first step," McAllister said. "The groundwater is seeped in nitrogen."

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