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Letter: Hub project near airport too dense

A rendering of proposed new buildings on Main

A rendering of proposed new buildings on Main Street in the Ronkonkoma Hub project, near the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station. Photo Credit: Town of Brookhaven, Tritec Real Estate

Newsday has detailed a series of taxpayer-funded benefits bestowed upon Tritec Real Estate, the developers of the Ronkonkoma Hub ["Ronkonkoma Hub OKd for incentives," News, Sept. 18]. This is in addition to $23.3 million from Suffolk County for the sewage treatment plant and infrastructure and $5 million from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for expenses including the sewage treatment plant design.

Why is the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency, whose mission it is to increase the number of high-paying, value-added industrial jobs, bestowing a $16-million tax cut package on a residential and retail project? This heavily subsidized project will primarily generate temporary construction jobs and low-wage retail jobs.

If the project is such an economic engine for the region, why do taxpayers need to shell out $44.3 million just to get it started?

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has made water quality a high priority. However, projects like the Ronkonkoma Hub add so much density that they will contribute more nitrogen to the groundwater, even with taxpayer-subsidized sewage treatment. Recent cuts to critically needed water-quality staffing numbers, the raiding of the county's drinking water protection fund to balance the county budget and unsustainable developer benefits packages like this only call into question the county's commitment to water quality.

Sooner or later, our elected officials must learn that "build, baby, build" is not a panacea for ailing government finances, and this path will contribute to declining water quality and a diminished quality of life.

Daniel J. Gulizio, Quogue

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of Peconic Baykeeper, an environmental advocacy organization.
 

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