Brookhaven Town officials have scheduled a vote March 29 in a last-ditch attempt to keep alive a plan to save the Carmans River.

The Carmans River Watershed Protection and Management Plan is designed to protect the nine-mile river by steering building away from its watershed, plan backers, including Supervisor Mark Lesko, have said.

But the plan has been resisted by residents and civic groups, who say they were not consulted enough about it, and that it could overburden the rest of the town with development.

The town needs to hold a public hearing on the proposal for the town board to have a chance to pass it, town officials have said. The board will vote March 29 on whether to hold the hearing in April, officials said Wednesday.

The public hearing needs to be held in April because the Carmans plan would necessitate a battery of approvals by June, Lesko said. The town has until late June to approve the plan because of a state deadline, he said. "It is expected . . . on March 29, the town board will reconsider accepting a draft plan and set a public hearing."

The Carmans proposal promises that in exchange for their property along the river, developers will be allowed to build with greater density than zoning laws allow outside the 10-mile watershed.

Residents turned back an attempt March 6 by the town board to set the public hearing. Several residents attended a Tuesday night town board meeting to reiterate their opposition to the plan. "I was really surprised that this was only tabled and not thrown off the table," said Debbie Felber of Selden.

The plan will be retooled before the March 29 meeting to try to make it more palatable to the public, Lesko has said.

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