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Brookhaven residents divided on housing plan

An artist renderings created to inspire Brookhaven residents,

An artist renderings created to inspire Brookhaven residents, who will discuss in a series of town meetings, a local law amending Chapter 85. Credit: Handout

Brookhaven residents are divided about the town board considering legislation to create new pedestrian-friendly housing.

During a public meeting about so-called Next Generation Housing in town at town hall, Medford resident Don Seubert urged Brookhaven Councilwoman Connie Kepert and the planning department to research other alternatives such as zoning for more sophisticated or commercial uses than housing.

"We're at capacity, and not every young person wants to live in a condo," he said at Monday's meeting.

But Nancy Marr, of East Patchogue, said Next Generation Housing would provide more amenities and enhance hamlets such as North Bellport.

Next Generation Housing is intended to revitalize town centers, neighborhoods and the environment by encouraging environmentally friendly development near transportation centers such as train stations, while attracting young professionals, Kepert said.

Seubert suggested town officials conduct an environmental impact study to determine how such housing would affect water, air quality, traffic and crime.

Some area people are afraid to park their cars at the train station, but constructing more buildings, such as coffee shops, would make the area more attractive, said Marr, a member of the Greater Bellport Coalition.

Jim Gleason of East Moriches wants to hear more before making up his mind.

"There is a need for multifamily housing in any town, but we haven't heard any real reason aside from generalities," he said. "Where is the real data to show why it should be done?"

Like Seubert, Gleason also wants proponents of the housing to detail environmental impacts. "We need to hear more, and until then, we shouldn't go forward," he said.

At the meeting, town officials also discussed passing legislation to restrict development and enhance protection of the Carmans River watershed district, and amending multifamily codes to allow housing in primary, secondary and tertiary zones.

A vote on the legislation and changes to town codes could occur at the Jan. 22 town board meeting.

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