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Wise move to preserve hundreds of county-owned acres in Yaphank

Yaphank civic leader Linda Petersen and other residents

Yaphank civic leader Linda Petersen and other residents worked with county officials and environmentalists to develop a master plan that sets aside 60 acres for future expansion of the county office complex. It would then preserve 137 acres as open space. Credit: News 12

The Suffolk County Legislature smartly rejected a request by two state lawmakers to delay voting on a master plan for the 683-acre county center in Yaphank. The plan, approved by a 16-1 vote, was the product of a thoughtful process that balanced preservation and development and included community input.

State Sen. Tom Croci and Assemb. Dean Murray had urged lawmakers to consider alternative uses for 197 wooded acres, much of it slated for preservation, to generate revenue to address Suffolk’s dismal finances. We share their worries, but selling land is a once-and-done move that does not address the county’s structural deficit. And no good alternatives were presented, including a proposed drag strip that could not even fit in the parcels involved. The plan wisely set aside 60 of those acres for expansion of county facilities, 30 of which could be leased or licensed for solar farms or other money-generating endeavors.

As open space dwindles and pressure builds to develop what’s left, preserving land is always a good idea. — The editorial board