With Hub Study on the Horizon, 'Monday Morning QB' Offers Perspective

Port Jefferson Village's chair of its comprehensive plan citizens' committee spoke at Tuesday night's Port Jefferson Station-Terryville civic meeting, before Brookhaven Town starts a transit study in the area next month.

As Brookhaven Town gets ready to kick off a transit-oriented hub study in the Port Jefferson Station area next month with the aid of influential Long Island planner Lee Koppelman, members of the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Civic Association looked to the north on Monday night as Port Jefferson Village wraps up a comprehensive plan of its own.

Virginia Capon, chair of the village's Comprehensive Plan Committee and a former village trustee, offered the civic a sense of "Monday morning quarterbacking" through the planning process as she has seen it.

The CPC has met nearly over 90 times throughout the process, she said, gathering input and inviting representatives from various levels of government to see how they fit into the plan.

Guest speakers from entities such as the Long Island Rail Road, Department of Transportation, Suffolk County and Town Planning Departments, Department of Public Works, and more all made appearances to the village, Capon said.

Also among guest speakers was Koppelman, who produced the Comsewogue Hamlet Study in 2008 and urged Capon and the village committee to issue a survey to everyone in the study area about what they would like to see in a study.

Adding a blank space at the end for individuals to give their thoughts, Capon said "we got some little booklets," noting the 20 percent return rate as well showed that it proved successful.

Though a survey helped get the pulse of the general public and to their dismay, some guest speakers didn't tell them what they were hoping hear (a LIRR rep reportedly said to "expect no changes" in the next 20 years), Capon told the crowd that in the end, the members of the group should trust their own opinions and instincts – not necessarily the ones that people are paying for.

"Don't rely on consultants too much," she said, pointing to a "big city on the hill" idea she believed Campani & Schwarting leaned toward when coming up with a plan for Upper Port.

The conversation Tuesday night turned at more than one point to the civic group's opinion about the village's proposed plan in its current form – part of which calls for increased density in the Upper Port area, a fear for many residents in the Comsewogue School District.

Capon agrees that the Upper Port Plan – accepted by the village board last month (though not yet adopted) – calls for too much density, writing in a Feb. 4 letter to the village board that the 1,200 units the plan foresees in the future is "inconsistent with what the survey shows the residents want: to preserve our small town character."

While there are likely to be far less than 90 meetings – civic head Ed Garboski noted the need to act "swiftly and responsibly" – residents on the south side of the LIRR track get their chance to start giving input on what kind of character they want along the Route 112 stretch at next month's civic meeting as the process begins.

Earl February 28, 2013 at 04:50 AM
I've said it before, and I will say it a million more times, they need to focus first on the huge homeless problem first, then deal with the loitering in front of all the stores in upper port. No plan will ever be a success until that is dealt with firmly and swiftly!
Bryan Rivera February 28, 2013 at 02:51 PM
I've said it before and I will say it again; this town needs a vigilante. Batman, if you're out there we could use a hand.
Mels Ditties February 28, 2013 at 07:22 PM
I don't think I've said this before (but the ole' brain cells don't work quite as well as they use to!..) incorporate existing businesses in the plans...These "pie in the sky" plans are dreams, that almost never happen...
IrishJoan February 28, 2013 at 09:59 PM
How can we find out about these meetings? Earl, we need to get a babysitter for the kids, albeit one who is trained in self defense, considering where we live. Mel, do you attend the meetings? And yes, I think we could use a Guardian Angel approach, since Batman isn't real, unfortunately :(
Jerry February 28, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Mels Ditties March 01, 2013 at 04:06 AM
IJoan.....If you join the Civic Association you will get all the info on upcoming meetings...they probably have a website too, where they typically post the schedules/agendas for upcoming meetings... As for my attendance...I have spent many years as part of the Mt Sinai Civic (member & board member) and attended/ran many of those meetings...And attended many of the Port Jefferson Town meetings...and quite honestly, got a major headache from hitting my head against the wall to no avail....I have found it to be very difficult/virtually impossible to change the tide without a majority...and so many people just don't get involved or attend...
IrishJoan March 02, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Mel, I hear you. It's a real shame when proactive people are met by the complacency of the powers that be. Returning home from errands this morning, we were met by a vagrant hovering around in front of our house. Obviously, the politicians are ignoring the problems; sadly, the regular people are left to live with it on a daily basis. I'm truly worried that it will take a tragedy to make a change.


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