Brookhaven Town's decision to keep open a controversial public composting site in Manorville has prompted criticism from civic leaders and a promise from a town councilman to continue pushing to close the facility.
But another council member, Connie Kepert, called the decision to keep the 33-acre Papermill Road facility operating a "victory" for the community of Yaphank, and civic activists in that community agreed.
Kepert said closing the Manorville site would have sent more business to private Long Island Compost, which operates a 62-acre facility in Yaphank that Kepert and other officials have accused of emitting excessive odors and particulate matter. The town board voted 4-3 earlier this month to keep the Manorville facility open.
Councilman Daniel Panico, who represents Manorville and voted to shut the facility, said the site costs the town $400,000 a year to run and burdens the surrounding community with odors and excessive noise. He said he would continue calling for the facility to be shuttered. "It's going to exacerbate the air quality problems that we have out in Manorville," he said. "I question the need to do this when clearly this facility has consistently cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year."
Kepert issued a statement that said the Manorville Road site is expected to make budget - or even make a profit - in 2011. The decision to keep the Manorville facility open will prevent a transfer of material "to the already overburdened community of Yaphank," the statement read.
Long Island Compost president Charles Vigliotti has said his facility is not a public health hazard.
Johan McConnell, president of the South Yaphank Civic Association, said the decision to keep the Manorville site open will prevent Long Island Compost from having a monopoly on local composting. "When you have no competition you can raise your rate to whatever you want," she said.
But Susan Sineo, a member of the Manor Park Civic Association and president of a group called Compost Alert, called the decision to keep the Manorville site open "grossly irresponsible."
She added: "This is not a matter of Manorville versus Yaphank. . . . We want these dumps out of our community."