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Mastic Beach incorporation vote may come in April

A special election to decide whether Mastic Beach will become Suffolk County's newest incorporated village may be held as soon as April, Brookhaven Town officials said Thursday.

A pro-village group's petition for incorporation will be the subject of a public hearing Feb. 22 at the Mastic Beach Fire Department building, Supervisor Mark Lesko said Thursday. Mastic Beach residents will be able to comment on the petition at the hearing, town officials said.

According to state law, Lesko must make a decision on the validity of the petition 10 days after the hearing and, if he finds it valid, an election could be held as soon as a month later.

Incorporation advocates say a village would provide more local control of code enforcement and housing issues for its 11,500 residents.

Opponents cite the taxes they are certain another layer of government would add.

Pro-village advocate Paul Breschard, chairman of the Mastic Beach Village Exploratory Committee, said a village would "be a local government focusing just on our problems," such as abandoned housing and absentee landlords.

"The town is so darn big and the county is like a state," he said. "Let us work on it."

Brookhaven, with 368 square miles, is Long Island's largest town in terms of area. The drive from Mastic Beach to Town Hall in Farmingville is more than 13 miles.

But Bob DeBona, president of the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association, is skeptical of the need to incorporate. He said he hopes the hearing will shed light on the costs associated with running a village.

"There should be some facts, such as how much this is going to cost us in taxes," he said.

Lesko said his role in the hearing will be as "an administrator" and that he will not take sides.

Copies of the petition will be available for review at the hearing, Lesko said. It can also be viewed on weekdays in the clerk's office at Brookhaven Town Hall at 1 Independence Hill in Farmingville, officials said.

The Mastic Beach Fire Department, site of the Feb. 22 hearing, is at 265 Neighborhood Rd. The hearing starts at 6:30 p.m.

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