HAUPPAUGE, NY Suffolk County this week took the first step toward preserving 17.29 acres of open space located in Port Jefferson Station when Legislators authorized the appraisal of 62 separate properties within the Terryville Greenbelt. Chairwoman of the Legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee, Legislator Kara Hahn, sponsored legislation that was approved on Tuesday night that allows the Suffolk County Planning Division to assess owners of these environmentally sensitive tracts’ interest in selling to the County for open space purposes. On those parcels where the owners have expressed an interest in participating in the voluntary drinking water protection program, the bill also allows for appraisals to be conducted.
"For the past fifty years the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville community has worked to offset itsrapid growth with safeguards of its quality of life and environment. Protecting these parcels,located within a Special Groundwater Protection Area, in perpetuity highlights the continued commitment of Suffolk County to being a partner in this careful balance that ensures not only the local environment but also our resident’s quality of life,” said LegislatorHahn.
"Special thanks to Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn for her hard work in getting the Terryville Greenbelt appraisallegislation approved,” said preservation proponent and Terryville resident Louis Antoniello. “The dream of creating a greenbelt around Comsewogue High School started back in 2003, we never gave up on the dream and now the dream is going to become a reality. The preservation of the property helps to protect our drinking water; creates an ecosystem for the many species of animals that make the greenbelt their home and it creates a living biology classroom for thechildren in the Comsewogue School District.
The Terryville Greenbelt is located south of Route 112, adjacent to the rear of Comsewogue High School, and is approximately 75total acres. The Town of Brookhaven has already preserved approximately 40 of those acres through its open space acquisitions and is expected to partner with the County on these additional purchases and subsequent maintenance of the greenbelt.
The bill now goes to County Executive Steve Bellone for his expected signature.Once the County's Planning Division does the preliminary work authorized this week, there are two subsequent steps established in County laws that will follow leading up to a parcel’s possible acquisition. If Suffolk is able to negotiate the purchase of these parcels, funding will come from the County’s Drinking Water Protection Program.