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Mark Lesko, Supv Town of Brookhaven Blight to Light

August 13, 2010 @ 12:00 am EDT

Members and Friends,

We often wonder where and when will we get enlightened leadership, and once in a while it shows up.  Our speaker this morning was Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, filling in for Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko.  Lesko and Pontieri are the enlightened leadership we seek.

Mr. Lesko has created a vision that addresses several needs in one program.  Pontieri showed the award winning film "Blight into Light" that began by showing a beautiful pristine environment, then segued into the blight that exists in the Town of Brookhaven…broken down factory buildings, abandoned retail space and other eyesores dot the landscape.

The program that Lesko has advanced redefines the way permitting is done.  A point system has been developed where the value of certain conditions wins points.  Clearing an eyesore wins points, use of property is evaluated against a weighted point schedule.  Job creation possibilities win points.  New housing plans win points as well..  Other conditions that are considered are location, drug and crime problems and the potential for the area to be a plus in terms of generating tax dollars.  Where the property is so contaminated that housing would not be feasible, another use could emerge.

The idea is to preserve as much still uncontaminated land as possible, and clean up those areas that are no longer being put to gainful use .At the same time, these derelict properties  often do not have current tax revenue streams coming into the Town.  When industry and high density residential properties are part of the redevelopment, then the taxes from those properties reduce the pressure on all other taxpayers.

The process, by its’ nature, is complex and comprehensive in execution.  Yet the method promises to actually move proposals to fruition faster than the piecemeal approach that we have always taken.  Furthermore, the scope of the project can be bigger if all of the elements are in place.  For example, more units of housing can be built on an acre if there are sewers.

Mayor Pontieri is a natural partner for Town Supervisor Lesko because he uses some of the same principles in the Village of Patchogue.  As a result, the planning and building in Patchogue has been very successful.  Pontieri credits several previous Mayors for exhibiting foresight in the moves that they made. An example:  providing sewer capacity in the Village that was about four times the size necessary at the time the sewers were put in.  Now they are much needed, and already in place.  Saving the beautiful Patchogue Theater was another great move proposed by a previous mayor.

Pictured: Paul Pontieri, Mayor of Patchogue; Yves Michel, Suffolk Co. Dept. of Econ. Dev.; Joe Ogno, Telcar Corp. Interiors

Ernie Fazio 

ATTENTION ALL: ERNIE NOW HAS HIS OWN BLOG.Check it out at fazio-op-ed.blogspot.com



August 13, 2010
12:00 am EDT