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Islandia challenges Suffolk County's right to run sewer line through village

Islandia Village Hall, 1100 Old Nichols Rd., is

Islandia Village Hall, 1100 Old Nichols Rd., is home to the village mayor's office, code enforcement, the building and highway departments and the fire marshal. (April 9, 2013) Credit: Brittany Wait

A Suffolk County proposal to build seven miles of sewers to serve the Ronkonkoma Hub development project has run into opposition in Islandia, where village officials want control over the effort.

Mayor Allan Dorman is fighting the county's proposal to place a portion of the sewer piping system along Johnson Avenue in Islandia. The $22 million project is to eventually connect the 58-acre Ronkonkoma Hub mixed-use project to a Central Islip pumping station and a West Babylon wastewater treatment plant.

Dorman said the county is "overstepping" by extending the project into Islandia's boundaries, and he wants the village to oversee the entire project instead of the Suffolk Department of Public Works.

"We control who's coming in here digging up holes," Dorman said. "They don't have the right to come in here digging up our streets."

The village board at its monthly meeting Jan. 6 unanimously approved a resolution to send the county a letter saying the project is "designed to cause a significant disruption and negative impact" for Islandia residents, and requesting lead agency status. Dorman also vowed to deny any permits to the county or its contractors for related work in the village.

"Because the project is going to have extensive involvement with the village and the village roads, the village would like to be lead agency on the project," Islandia's attorney Joseph Prokop said.

County spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said Islandia cannot be the lead agency because the project's scope is larger than just the portion in the village, extending into parts of Islip, Brookhaven and Babylon.

Babylon spokesman Kevin Bonner said the town had no comment on the project. Islip spokeswoman Patricia Kaloski said in an email statement that the town's planning department is evaluating the impact the project may have on the municipality and its residents.

Brookhaven Planning Commissioner Tullio Bertoli said "it's the normal procedure" for the county to take the lead in these projects.

Baird-Streeter said the Department of Public Works had met with Dorman and told him the construction in the village would be in "areas already disturbed." County officials also told Dorman "we would fully restore their roads and would also be willing to place whatever bond they wanted as part of their road opening permit, within reason," Baird-Streeter said in an email statement.

If the county and Islandia cannot agree on the lead agency, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will decide, Prokop said.

Dorman said he was sticking to his decision. "We're going to have to have an agreed-upon solution, or it's going to be a long battle," he said. "They're going to have to re-evaluate what they're going to do and how they're going to do it."

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