The Brookhaven elected officials, especially the Supervisor, seemed to already having their minds made up at last night’s hearing. After all, the increase in the tax base will help the town desperately 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 - think Cerro Wire.
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.