McKeown sisters at Beaver Dam Creek and South Country road

Brookhaven & South Haven Hamlets

Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York

Brookhaven/South Haven Hamlets Study

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4. South Haven School

In 1989, the South Haven School District (SD # 30) merged with the South Country School District (SD # 4). South Haven had only one school building, which is located along Montauk Highway. The South Country School District decided not to use the South Haven School building, and it is now being rented. Sitting on 12.2 acres, some of which is Yaphank Creek wetlands, the former South Haven School is mostly surrounded by the above-mentioned Southaven Properties parcel and is adjacent to Wertheim Refuge property.

In 1992, all seven federal wildlife refuges on Long Island were lumped into one category called the Long Island Refuge system. There was office space shortage at the refuge complex headquarters at Wertheim and the Fish and Wildlife Service was considering plans to build an addition to the existing building they now use located on the Carmans River.

At a meeting with then Congressman George Hochbrueckner, the BVA, the South Haven Civic Association and the Open Space Council asked Hochbrueckner to look into the possibility of the federal government’s acquiring the South Haven School for use as both a nature education center and for office space for the Fish and Wildlife Service. The school district replied to Hochbrueckner that it would be interested in selling the school to the federal government, pending voter approval. Hochbrueckner then proceeded to seek funding for the acquisition.

Although Federal acquisition now seems unlikely, the current A10 zoning of this property is appropriate for this environmentally sensitive parcel, and we recommend that no downzoning be considered.

5. The Former Robinson Duck Farm

As mentioned earlier in this report, the former Robinson Duck Farm was acquired in 1991 by Suffolk County with the stated intention of transferring the land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be used for a Nature Education Center. However, then Congressman George Hochbrueckner tried unsuccessfully to get funding for this project, from 1989 until his defeat in 1994, and currently there seems to be little or no support for a Nature Education Center on Long Island.

We recommend that the Town upzone this 85-acre parcel from A2 to A10 to be consistent with the surrounding government-owned land in the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act area. We also recommend that the Town pass a resolution urging the transfer of this land from Suffolk County to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be part of the Wertheim Wildlife Refuge.