This 128-acre, ecologically diverse parcel straddles the headwaters of the Yaphank Creek and lies adjacent to the northern boundary of the Wertheim Federal Wildlife refuge. It is the last remaining large, unprotected property in the scenic portion of the southern Carmans River watershed. Current development plans propose 64 houses, but the landowner has indicated a willingness-to sell to the federal government. Efforts to preserve this land through public acquisition are endorsed and fully supported by local, state and federal legislators. We also have the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy. Because this land is included in the scenic designation of the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act, because it straddles the 10-acre headwaters of the Yaphank Creek, because it is so environmentally unique, and because we feel this land must be insulated from development, we recommend that it be rezoned from A2 to A5 and that efforts be strongly increased to preserve this land through transfer of development rights or through acquisition by public or private agencies. We would also like the Town Board to pass a resolution supporting the prospect of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acquiring this parcel.
2. Land North of Montauk Highway in the Study Area, including the Headwaters of the Beaver Dam Creek
In order to preserve the critical northern portion of the Beaver Dam Creek corridor, as defined by the Town’s South Shore Critical Environmental Area, we recommend that the Town and County cooperate with each other and with private interests to consolidate all vacant land near the headwaters of the creek through exchange of ownership, acquisition through tax defaults, or transfer of development rights (see discussion in Ch. V, Sec. 2, p.18, of this report). Certain parcels are of particular concern:
|The parcel owned by the Brookhaven Fire District, which is planning to develop it as a recreational area (ballfield). Several suggestions have been made by the BVA, and by the Town Planning Department, for exchanges of ownership to provide another suitable site for this activity. These discussions should continue, as we believe there are suitable alternative sites, such as the land now owned by the Town or County to the north and east of the Oaklawn Cemetery.||The vacant, 9.5-acre parcel (SCTM 200-932-02-87) immediately north of the Montauk Highway, through which the headwaters flow. We recommend that this lot be rezoned to A10 to further protect the headwaters.||The 8.4-acre parcel owned by N.Y.S. Department of Transportation (SCTM 200- 902-02-01), adjacent to the Sunrise Highway in the headwaters area. The DOT has no plans for construction here. We propose that this property be transferred to the Post Morrow Foundation with the stipulation that it be kept forever wild.|
The remainder of the area between Montauk and Sunrise Highways, west of the headwaters, is perhaps the most difficult in our study area to address. It is almost completely forested, and serves as a natural buffer between populated areas and the landfill. It is too environmentally sensitive for industrial use, and too close to the landfill to recommend housing. The existing Oaklawn Cemetery is an appropriate use, and may be expanded. There are possible sites here for the kind of recreational space that the Fire District is seeking.