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Long Island

Long Island briefing

PLANDOME HEIGHTS/Parkland piece sold to resident

Gov. David A. Paterson has signed a bill into law allowing the Village of Plandome Heights to sell a small part of its parkland to a resident.

Mayor Diana Merenda said Friday that the village needed permission from the state to separate 3,500 square feet from 74,653 square feet of parkland to be sold to a neighbor who had sued, challenging the village's ownership of the unused land.

That resident, who lives next to the land, had made the slice of parkland part of his backyard because, he claimed, the village did nothing with it, explained village attorney Christopher Prior.

The land will be sold at fair market value for $40,000 as part of a settlement to the lawsuit, Prior said. State legislation was needed because it involves parkland.

The Plandome Heights Preserve parkland is where Bay Driveway, Bayview Circle and Waterside Lane meet.

- JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER


WADING RIVER/Creek dredging to begin

A $100,000 emergency dredging project is expected to begin next week at Wading River Creek.

The creek, which divides the towns of Brookhaven and Riverhead, contains a boat-launching facility installed by Riverhead Town, as well as some dock space.

The creek is too shallow to launch boats into Long Island Sound, and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said the Wading River Fire Department has complained the only way to get a rescue boat into the Sound would be to drive to the former Shoreham nuclear power plant and launch from its protected jetties.

"If a boat were sinking, that would take precious minutes," Walter said.

The silting of the creek is blamed on the same March storm that led to widespread flooding across Long Island. The federal government will pay 65 percent of the cost of the dredging. Riverhead's share of the cost will be $12,500.

Dredging projects are not usually done in spring or summer on Long Island because of the impact on migrating wildlife. In spring, no work can be done during the piping plover's breeding season. When that season is over, Department of Environmental Conservation officials say, dredging and the silt it creates can be harmful to winter flounder and other fish.

As a result, the DEC permit for the project mandates that all work be completed in just two weeks.

- MITCHELL FREEDMAN


SOUTHAMPTON TOWN/Police contract approved

The Southampton Town Board has approved a four-year contract with its Patrolmen's Benevolent Association - which has been working without one since Jan. 1, 2009 - that has yearly 3 percent pay raises starting retroactively on Sept. 1, 2009.

Based on the town's 2010 adopted budget, the contract covers about 75 police officers. Starting officers earn just over $56,000 a year, while veteran officers earn up to $97,626 in salary. Added benefits can bring their annual compensation to $150,000 to $160,000.

- MITCHELL FREEDMAN

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