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Residents Weigh In On Ronkonkoma Hub at Town Hall

Possible capacity concerns and homeowner relocation discussed amongst positive feedback during public comment.

Ronkonkoma Hub project being presented at Thursday's public hearing at Brookhaven Town Hall. Photo Credit: Michael Sorrentino
Ronkonkoma Hub project being presented at Thursday's public hearing at Brookhaven Town Hall. Photo Credit: Michael Sorrentino

Residents brought feedback on the Ronkonkoma Hub project to Thursday’s public hearing at Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville

The public, whom filled the auditorium to capacity, had a mix of positive and negative reactions throughout the nearly three-hour public hearing on a proposed $475 million development that could bring a mix residential, commercial, hospitality, retail and entertainment among other possible uses to the Ronkonkoma train station area.

The project and its concept photos were presented, which are also available on Brookhaven’s website. Supervisor Edward Romaine emphasized both that no votes were taking place at the hearing, and that eminent domain, which some business owners were concerned about, is not currently taking place.

Most of those speaking during the public comment section offered support of the project.

Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce president Denise Schwarz said that the chamber is supporting the development, as long as those owning property in the area are given fair compensation.

“The chamber feels that the project would only brighten our way of living, and give new opportunities to residents and businesses that want to call Ronkonkoma home,” Schwarz said.

A few residents felt the project could keep young adults on Long Island, who they say are leaving due to a lack of places to live.

However, increased capacity and potential traffic issues were cited as a concern toward the project.

“The density of this project is off the charts,” Bruce Edwards of Ronkonkoma’s Islip side said. “I would like to see a more reasonable density.”

Edwards also said that more involvement and planning needs to be done on the Islip Town side of the project, calling current studies that did not include it “incomplete and faulty.”

Two residents, one a 70-year-old retiree and the other who owns a dental business, both said they chose their property to specifically live and work near the train station, and now face possible relocation due to the project.

After the meeting Romaine told Patch that while the overwhelming number of those speaking were positive, the concerns that were brought up by a number of residents are going to be looked at by the consultants.

Councilman Tim Mazzei, whose coverage area covers the Ronkonkoma Hub, also noted the positive reactions, and that there are areas to still work on.

“I think the traffic and parking concerns are legitimate concerns, and we are going to talk to our planning department about that and talk to Tritec about that and hopefully work on that a little bit better,” Mazzei said.

Romaine also said he would be happy to work with Islip Town if they have any concerns with the project, noting that Islip Town has the Serota Builders’ Islip Pines project currently in discussions that also borders Brookhaven Town.

What are your thoughts on the Ronkonkoma Hub project? Did you attend the hearing, and if so what did you think of the public hearing? Talk about it in the comments below this post.

Stephen 5632 January 10, 2014 at 07:33 AM
I have been traveling on the Ronkonkoma line for 21 yrs now and am now worried about overcrowded parking and the possibility of actually getting charged for parking. It will be just another tax. They will call it a fee, but either way it will cost you extra. Will start off fairly cheap but will rise rapidly! Anyone whom travels the railroad see's that the lots on both sides are nearly filled to capacity daily. Where is everyone putting their vehicle, especially during construction when they will be tying up large chunks of land. Disaster for years. Then what will happen is people will begin to park illegally and the tickets will begin to fly. When the multi story garage is built can you imagine the time it will take for cars to leave and enter the garage. At rush hour now it takes 10 minutes to get out of the parking lot. It will be a disaster for years.
any January 10, 2014 at 09:48 AM
Who were the people in the tee shirts that all left together at 7PM without saying a word?
any January 10, 2014 at 09:49 AM
The Brookhaven elected officials, especially the Supervisor, seemed to already having their minds made up. After all, the increase in the tax base will help the town as they desperately try to fill their current budget shortfalls, but at what price long term? This became abundantly clear when a speaker asked the Town of Brookhaven to collaborate with the Town of Islip on this project. The main Hub development will be on the Brookhaven side of the tracks, but the sewage treatment plant and parking will be located on the south side which is Islip. The speakers comment is well taken, the project impacts both towns. Obviously a prickly point, Supervisor Romaine snapped back that Islip has never asked Brookhaven when they are doing a project to give their input. Since Mr. Romaine has only been in office a short time, I don’t know if that is true or not, but regardless it’s obvious that there has never been a project proposed with this amount of density or the potential to cause as many far reaching impacts as the Hub project does. To plan this project without looking beyond the municipal borders is not just arrogant, it’s bad government. The people of both towns will have to live with whatever is eventually built. Mr. Romaine will be long gone from office by then and the home and business owners will be left with the outcome. Most people can't just walk away and no one wants to be pushed away either. It appears from comments made by numerous homeowners they are now being threatened with legal action that the town will participate in under eminent domain property seizure proceedings. So in other words, residents either can take the “deal” Tritec is twisting their arms with or the town will come in and take your home or business away. One speaker said it very succinctly, why is one potential owner’s rights more important than an existing, taxpaying owner? Does this really come down to the increased amount of taxes that the Hub will collectively pay the town? If this precedent is set by Brookhaven, it will allow any town to use eminent domain for the newer, shinier, better paying use. If that happens, no one’s land, home or business will be safe on Long Island in the future. This is not the appropriate use of eminent domain and I am very sure any decision will be challenged in the courts for years which means nothing positive will happen. It would make more sense to do what is prudent and fair now. I would like to see a new development in the Hub area, but one that is right sized, offers useful amenities and services and that is planned to accommodate the parking needs of the current and future residents. Most importantly, I do not want to see a lucrative development company that has financially cozied up to elected official’s muscle hard working home owners out of their homes so the development company, elected officials and town can profit. If your home is your castle, no matter what economic strata you are in, no one should be allowed to rush in and take it away.
Eileen Kennedy Panico January 10, 2014 at 03:27 PM
The comment by "any" is well said and I agree with it all EXCEPT that Tritec will NOT be paying any taxes. They have applied for and may have already received IDA approval.. which means they pay no taxes for at LEAST ten years if not longer. So who WILL pay those taxes?? Yep, you guessed it... HOMEOWNERS who are already overburdened with taxes! Islip should put the ca-bash on the sewers... the project would be stalled until they found an alternate method of waste disposal. During the stall, perhaps then Romaine will lose his arrogance and work FOR his constituents and not for Tritec. Perhaps THEN the studies will be done properly and not half-assed.
annette kattau January 10, 2014 at 03:55 PM
Trictech will NOT be paying any taxes....IDA approval...Why Why is this...the 43 million dollar sewerage plant that this requires we will be pay...and someone said last night that this sewerage plant will clean out the lake not so....the lake is already polluted and and has toxix allgea the sewer plant will not reverse that it is taking care of the sewerage that this huge project will be generating...WHO will pay for the sewers...the believe it is the taxpayers who will be doing that why doesn't the IDA help us.....this is insanity at best.
annette kattau January 10, 2014 at 04:00 PM
Many residents were being turned away because the room was filled to capacity...we stopped that when we heard it...but many no's did leave all I heard were the yes from the supporters of the builders and the non profits....the people couldn't even get a chance to speak so many left and many were turned away. But remember 30 days to write, email and let those town officials know...the mayor of greenport spoke for this project. he threw a starbucks out of town because it interfered with his friends coffee shop....really Mr. Cappell......the people who are affected by this humongus project should be speaking not the ones who will benefit from it...they were barely heard.....

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