Assemblyman Steve Englebright
Quality of Life Update
from Assemblyman
Steve Englebright

Summer 2010

149 Main Street • East Setauket, NY 11733 • 631-751-3094 • engles@assembly.state.ny.us
Dear Neighbor,

Protecting the quality of life of this district’s residents means fighting for the environment and for jobs that enable our community to be sustainable. Quite often these efforts require years of commitment and the efforts of many people. When the results of such perseverance become apparent it is news worth sharing. It is within this context that I am pleased to send you this summary of some recent, worthy projects I have supported that I believe significantly enhance our community.

Sincerely,
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Steve Englebright

Inside...
  • Terryville/Port Jefferson Station residents oppose cell towers near residential neighborhoods and schools

  • Important open space parcel preserved

  • Cancer mapping project sheds light on possible cancer-environment connection

Englebright and Bishop secure construction dollars to enhance our quality of life

The East Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway is a recreational and commuter path that has been a big hit since its first segment opened thanks to Assemblyman Englebright and Congressman Tim Bishop. The second phase of the Greenway/Bikeway is currently in design. Once built out, the Greenway will run 3.5 miles and, when linked with other proposed trails, will join together many of the neighborhoods of our community from East Setauket to Mt. Sinai. Congressman Bishop worked successfully to provide a $5 million grant that, along with $2 million in state highway funds secured by Englebright, will enable the design, construction, and completion of Long Island’s newest—and many believe most beautiful—bikepath while also helping our region comply with the Federal Clean Air Act.

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Pictured above from left to right of cyclist: Congressman Bishop, Assemblyman Englebright, and Charlie McAteer, President of the Friends of the Greenway. This community organization helps coordinate stewardship of the Greenway and is part of the Three Village Community Trust. For more information about this new, safe, bikeway call Assemblyman Englebright’s office at (631) 751-3094.


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Assemblyman Englebright (center) joined members of the Terryville Port Jefferson Civic Association and other residents of Port Jefferson Station in May at a demonstration against the proposed installation of a cell tower. The residents were demonstrating against cell tower placement too near residential neighborhoods and schools.

Terryville/Port Jefferson Station residents oppose cell towers near residential neighborhoods and schools

The Terryville/Port Jefferson Civic Association and residents of Port Jefferson Station have consistently opposed T-Mobile’s efforts to place a cell tower in close proximity to neighborhoods and schools. More than a year ago, the residents courageously fought the first battle on Norwood Avenue when T-Mobile was in negotiations to establish a cell tower near a residential neighborhood and the Norwood Avenue Elementary School. Shortly after winning that controversy, they felt compelled to move across Route 347 to Boyle Road where T-Mobile had begun to negotiate with a local establishment near another neighborhood.

Assemblyman Englebright supports the right of residents and Civic Associations to have meaningful input into the appropriate placement of cell phone towers and joined the civic at their demonstration at Boyle Road and Old Town Road to help reinforce the importance of protecting neighborhoods, families, and children from health uncertainty and potential damage to the equity value of residences.

When it became known that the Terryville Fire District was also talking to T-Mobile about a cell tower at the sub-station on Old Town Road, the residents rallied to communicate their concern about this possible placement. After several members of the community spoke at the Board of Fire Commissioners’ Public meeting on June 30, 2010, the Commissioners unanimously voted against entering into a contractual agreement with T-Mobile.

Assemblyman Englebright applauded this decision saying, “congratulations to the community for coming together on this difficult issue. Although we need cellular communication capability, it must be allowed to emerge from a thoughtful and transparent planning process that respects community concerns and values.”

Working to keep our kids and elders on Long Island

Affordable and accessible housing continues to be a primary concern for both senior citizens and young people who are entering the local job market. Despite a growing population of seniors and many younger workers who would like to stay on Long Island, finding housing that is suitable and affordable continues to be a challenge. For example, much of today’s senior housing is single purpose in design and targeted to specific subpopulations that effectively segregates them.

Many localities are discovering that there is a need to re-evaluate zoning codes to encourage the creation of mixed-use age-integrated town centers that enable stores and businesses to be located immediately proximal to housing for different generations. A new law (Chapter 319 of the Laws of 2010) authored by Assemblyman Englebright fosters age-integrated communities to allow for these possibilities while also creating opportunities to build smart, control sprawl, and revitalize downtowns. Englebright’s law directs the state to develop model zoning guidelines that will be available to communities.


Important open space parcel preserved
Setauket purchase will help preserve water quality of Conscience Bay, Port Jefferson Harbor, and Long Island Sound

Assemblyman Steve Englebright joined with State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis and Regional Director Peter Scully this spring to announce that New York has purchased one of the largest remaining open space parcels that contributes directly to protecting the water chemistry of the Greater Port Jefferson Harbor Complex. “Preservation will greatly bolster ongoing efforts to create a greener, healthier community while also protecting its vital coastal waters,” said Commissioner Grannis at the press conference.

The 28-acre parcel of rolling woodland has 1,200 feet of frontage on NYS Route 25A across from Setauket’s Stop and Shop and Wild By Nature Shopping Centers. Zoned for single family residences, the property could have been intensively developed, which would have increased both the demand for government services and costs for the local school district. Instead, the property will remain as open space, preserving community character and connecting people to nature while providing protection to surface and groundwater resources.

Preservation of this site will also help prevent road runoff from entering the Conscience Bay. This, in turn, will protect the water quality and ecological viability of this exquisite shallow embayment and all of the rest of the Port Jefferson Harbor Estuary.

The $5,450,000 transaction was made possible by $5 million in Natural Resource Damages (NRD) funding originally derived from a fine imposed upon Northville Industries in 1988 and $450,000 from a recent Federal EPA grant through the Long Island Sound Study. Englebright along with Scully and the Civic Association of the Setaukets insisted that the 1988 fine be returned to purchase watershed in Setauket. The NRD Funds had been “on loan” to and utilized for many years by the Long Island Pine Barrens Commission as start-up funding for the Pine Barrens Transfer of Development Rights program. Due to the vigilance of both Englebright and Scully, it was returned to the DEC in 2005.

As a result, the acquisition did not require the use of any state or local tax dollars.

“With this preservation initiative, the DEC has fulfilled the promise it made to this community that these funds would be used for the long-term benefit of the watershed that suffered the impacts of the Northville spill,” Assemblyman Englebright said. “This is a gift that will benefit our community for generations. I want to thank Commissioner Grannis for making sure that this commitment to protect the environment was kept and Regional Director Scully for helping to skillfully navigate this complex process to a successful conclusion.”

Preservation will greatly bolster ongoing efforts to create a greener, healthier community while also protecting its vital coastal waters.

–Commissioner Grannis

From left to right: Assemblyman Englebright; DEC Commissioner Grannis; Heather Amster, DEC Region 1 Land Acquisition Specialist; and Regional Director Peter Scully.

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Cancer mapping project sheds light on possible cancer-environment connection

This spring, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) opened the Environmental Facilities and Cancer Map website to the public. The interactive map, created at the direction of the State Legislature, was designed to answer questions many people have with regard to cancer and possible environmental contributors. The map shows cancer counts of 23 types of cancers from the years 2003 to 2007 in census blocks, the smallest area measured by the U.S. Census. Also displayed are the locations of environmental facilities such as water discharge sites, hazardous waste management facilities, brownfields, and chemical bulk and major oil storage facilities across the state.

The new Environmental Facilities and Cancer Map will provide an important new method to help determine if there is a link between cancers and the environment.

The new Environmental Facilities and Cancer Map will provide an important new method to help determine if there is a link between cancers and the environment. Cancer risk depends on many things including lifestyle (e.g., smoking, diet, weight, sun exposure) and family history. Cancer map viewers are, therefore, cautioned not to draw conclusions about a potential relationship between the cancer counts and certain types of facilities. The website includes a “Frequently Asked Questions” section to answer questions about the information available from the map.

Assemblyman Englebright believes that this map tool is an important step in understanding the link between cancer and environmental factors. He plans to expand upon this tool to have other information relating to risk factors for cancer overlaid onto it such as socioeconomics, ethnicity, and age.

The site can be accessed at http://www.health.state.ny.us/statistics/cancer/environmental_facilities/mapping/ where you will find important information including how to use the map and interpret the cancer data.

Green Redesign of NYS Route 347 Set to Begin

When completed, this project will improve mobility for motorists and pedestrians, as well as transform Route 347 into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles between the end of Northern State Parkway in Hauppauge and Mt. Sinai near the Heritage Park.

After several prior proposed Department of Transportation (DOT) Route 347 Corridor plans were rejected by the community, the agency decided to ask their landscape design and environmental specialists to help advance this challenging project.

The result is both beautiful and functional; a model for highway redesign for the entire state. Equally important, the DOT’s new plan has been well received by the public and elected officials. After years of delay, this critically important project is finally underway.

The NY Route 347 project is expected to cost $26.8 million. This summer will be see the first in a series of planned corridor safety improvement projects along this vital arterial that will take place in a staged manner well into the next decade. When completed, this project will improve mobility for motorists and pedestrians as well as transform Route 347 into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles between the end of Northern State Parkway in Hauppauge and Mt. Sinai near the Heritage Park.

The initial one-mile long reconstruction, begun in August, will provide a continuous third travel lane in each direction between the Route 454/347 split and Route 111, creating a separate bike and shared-use pedestrian path on the south side, add seven new bus stops for transit riders, and provide a host of environmentally sustainable amenities and benefits.

Assemblyman Steve Englebright
149 Main Street, East Setauket, NY 11733 • 631-751-3094
engles@assembly.state.ny.us