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Girl Scouts' holiday light show in Bayport will continue this year

Local Girl Scouts submit "thousands" of letters of

Local Girl Scouts submit "thousands" of letters of support to the Islip Town Board Tuesday, July 14, 2015, for their annual holiday light show in Bayport. Credit: Newsday / Sarah Armaghan

The controversial winter holiday light show run by Girl Scouts that brings thousands of cars to a dead-end street in Bayport will continue this year after the Islip Town Board narrowly passed a resolution in support of the event.

The show will run in two sessions, Dec. 11-13 from 5 to 9 p.m., and again Dec. 14-23 during the same hours, at the Scouts' Camp Edey, which sits at the end of Lakeview Avenue, according to the resolution passed Tuesday. Rain dates are scheduled for Dec. 26-28.

During several town board meetings over the past nine months -- and including Tuesday's -- dozens of Lakeview Avenue residents and Girl Scout officials, troop leaders and members argued their points before the town board.

A number of residents of Lakeview Avenue, which intersects with Montauk Highway to the north, voiced concerns about safety and quality-of-life issues. Some said the narrow street and traffic congestion during past shows made it impossible for them to get their cars out of their driveways and, in the case of an emergency, would prevent police, fire or ambulance vehicles from getting through.

Girl Scout supporters rallied to keep their holiday light show at Camp Edey. Because of the compromises they say were made for last December's show -- including limiting the number of cars, requiring prepaid tickets, hiring extra security and coordinating with Suffolk County police -- supporters said the group saw a 60 percent drop in revenue compared with 2013, when they made about $225,000. Last year's show brought in about $93,000, agency officials have said.

Islip Town Board members John C. Cochrane Jr., Anthony S. Senft Jr. and Steven J. Flotteron made up the majority required to approve the special-events resolution, which contained a total of 29 events throughout the Town of Islip.

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt recused themselves from the vote. Carpenter's sister, Mary Garrote, is director of development for the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County. In an interview, Weichbrodt said she recused herself because she didn't want to vote "no" on the 29 events. She cited a suggestion by Legis. William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) that Suffolk's Smith Point County Park would be a more suitable site.

"I'm a fan of the Girl Scouts and I think that they do a wonderful job as an organization, but I think that this location that Legislator Lindsay had suggested is a safer location and one that doesn't impact the community as much," Weichbrodt said. "I have never been to the light show personally, but from accounts, including an account by the legislator, it seems to have outgrown its location."

Permits can only be granted for 10 days at a time, a town official said, prompting the need for two for this event. If there are problems with the show, the second permit could be revoked or changes could be requested, the official added.

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