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As Mastic Beach moves toward redevelopment, blight study is next

"This year, we will run out of homes to tear down," Councilman Dan Panico said, adding there are just a dozen vacant homes left to demolish in Mastic Beach.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said during

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said during a Thursday news conference that he wants to redevelop Mastic Beach.  Photo Credit: Newsday/Deon J. Hampton

Brookhaven Town officials are taking additional steps toward revitalizing the former Village of Mastic Beach, but said the overall plan is likely years from coming to fruition.

Officials on Thursday said they hired an engineering firm to conduct a comprehensive blight study of Neighborhood Road, the main artery of the unincorporated municipality.

The study is expected to take a couple months, and the results will determine if Mastic Beach qualifies for an urban renewal plan. The plan would determine the conditions of buildings and which should be demolished or rehabilitated along Neighborhood Road. That would eventually lead to a master plan for redevelopment.

“We’re determined to drive investment into the community,” Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said during a Thursday news conference outside the Mastic Beach Ambulance Company headquarters.

Mastic Beach returned to Brookhaven jurisdiction last year.

Two years earlier, it became the first Long Island village to disband since Pine Valley chose to do so in 1991.

The hamlet has shown signs of revitalization since it disbanded as the town cracked down on code violations and ran a marketing campaign calling the area a "diamond in the rough." A $9.5 million ambulance headquarters opened in September. 

But officials say Mastic Beach's potential for redevelopment is limited until it increases sanitation capacity. 

Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico, who represents Mastic Beach on the board, said several developers are interested in privately investing in Mastic Beach.

“That’s one of the first things they [developers] ask. The big question is do we have sewers?” Panico said at the news conference.

Voters approved a $191 million referendum to fund a new sewer district in the Mastic and Shirley area along with build a sewage treatment plant at Brookhaven Calabro Airport — but that did not include funding for sewers in Mastic Beach. 

Timothy Rothang, chief of staff for Suffolk County Legis. Rudy A. Sunderman, said the legislator supports a proposal to connect a sewer pipe from the Forge River Watershed sewer district down Mastic Road and into Neighborhood Road. 

“We’re committed to revitalizing this community and extending the sewer line into the Neighborhood Road business corridor. We know that’s going to jump-start this community for downtown revitalization,” Rothang said at the news conference.

He said the sewer extension would cost $32 million and that town and county officials would solicit federal and state grants and other designated money to fund the project.

Developers would have to pay for the pipe.

“We just need one or two brave individuals to invest,” Brookhaven Town Planning Commissioner Tullio Bertoli said.

One resident asked Romaine if redevelopment meant longtime homeowners would be forced away.

Romaine countered he was focused on attracting more homeowners to Mastic Beach. “This is a community that deserves a better downtown,” Romaine said.

Panico announced Thursday that Brookhaven only has a dozen more homes to demolish before all of the hamlet's vacant and abandoned homes would have been taken down.

“This year, we will run out of homes to tear down,” Panico said.

Former Mastic Beach Village Mayor Maura Spery on Thursday said she’s in favor of redeveloping Neighborhood Road.

“As long as we take care of the business owners who have been here forever,” she said.

Road to revitalization in Mastic Beach

  • Mastic Beach returned to the Town of Brookhaven on Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Brookhaven Town officials in September opened the $9.5 million ambulance headquarters on Neighborhood Road.
  • Suffolk County officials hope to come up with $32 million to connect the downtown area to the Forge River Watershed sewer district.

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