The Town of Brookhaven has dropped its controversial plan to sell a parking lot and marina to the Village of Port Jefferson for $8 million, Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said Tuesday.
The proposal had faced criticism from boaters and some civic leaders who said they feared they would lose access to Port Jefferson Harbor due to higher fees or village restrictions.
Romaine said Tuesday in an interview that he was "surprised" by negative reaction to the plan. It was scrubbed after meetings with village officials, he said. "We no longer have any interest in selling any of our waterfront property to Port Jefferson," Romaine said. "We've decided at this point that we are not moving forward."
Brookhaven and Port Jefferson officials had announced the deal last month, and the village board unanimously voted on Dec. 1 to move forward with the purchase. The village had planned to install parking meters and increase boat slip fees as part of a plan to pay off bonds that would have raised the money to purchase the 8.8-acre property.
Village Mayor Margot J. Garant said she was "greatly disappointed" by the town's decision. She blamed the deal's demise on "innuendo" spread by opponents.
"People were saying that we were going to deny access to the waterfront, which was completely untrue," Garant said. "We were only looking to do something that would improve the waterfront, not take away from it."
Shawn Nuzzo, president of the Civic Association of Stony Brook and the Setaukets, was among critics who said increased boat slip fees would be too expensive for many residents. He said he was pleased that the marina would not be sold.
"Had this been sold, they would have had fewer options" for boat slips, Nuzzo said. "It's one of the few places where working class people can bring their boats, and we're happy it's going to stay that way."
A public meeting that had been scheduled to discuss the sale will be held despite the decision to cancel the deal, Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright said. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville.
Cartright said her office had been "inundated" with calls and emails about the sale.