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Town may form committee to implement Carmans protection plan

The Brookhaven Town Board is expected on Tuesday to pass a resolution approving the formation of a Carmans River Conservation and Management Plan performance committee.

The committee would be charged with helping the town implement the landmark environmental plan, which coalesced after years of often volatile debate. It would meet at least quarterly and issue reports to the board on its progress.

The Carmans plan, adopted last month, called for the formation of a performance committee to assess the effectiveness of the plan, town attorney Annette Eaderesto said after Thursday's work session.

The committee would include town planning board members, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Central Pine Barrens Commission, federal agencies and local civic groups interested in protecting the river, officials said.

The town board developed the landmark plan to conserve the Carmans River watershed by buying land and imposing tougher zoning along the estuary. The board enacted the sweeping, 200-page blueprint by a 6-0 vote.

Town officials said the 10-mile river -- home to more than 100 species of birds and fish -- would have been threatened by overdevelopment if the plan had failed. The town board must draft amendments to the town code that reflect the plan's recommendations.

The Carmans plan calls on town officials to purchase various parcels along the river and impose stricter zoning to restrict development. Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, who crafted the plan, has budgeted $6 million in capital funds for Carmans River land acquisition next year, and town officials plan to use credits under the state Pine Barrens law to discourage development along the river.

The state Pine Barrens law permits the town to award credits allowing developers to build in other parts of town, in exchange for not building along the river.

The plan also boosts wastewater control standards to decrease the flow of harmful nitrogen through fertilizers and sewage runoff. The plan's approval followed three years of stalled efforts to conserve the fragile watershed.

With Carl MacGowan

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