The Suffolk County Legislature approved an updated list of environmentally sensitive properties to hopefully be acquired in each town early this month with 41 parcels in Islip Town.
“This is just a wish list to protect the properties we’d like to acquire if we have the money, when we have the money,” emphasized Legis. Anthony Piccirillo.
The largest amount on the county list for Islip, 26 parcels, was on Pinehurst Avenue in Oakdale with five at a half-acre, the others at lower increments. There were three at Sayville’s Mill Pond, the largest two at 1 acre or more.
Piccirillo’s district spans from Blue Point to Oakdale on the South Shore.
Bay Shore’s Penataquit Creek had eight parcels with the largest at 4 acres, then nearly 2 acres, with the rest below one acre. Two parcels were listed on Bay Shore’s 3rd Avenue at less than an acre and two on Islip’s Brookville Avenue at less than an acre.
There was $174,816 left in the county’s environmental trust fund balance for possible Islip Town purchases and Piccirillo said there would be a lot of competition from fellow legislators.
“There’s a 10-step procedure,” Piccirillo explained. “The county has a great environmental process. But we have to see how much we have coming in, and the ranking.”
In an earlier interview, Legislature presiding officer Rob Calarco, who introduced the resolution for the updated list, said the county periodically canvasses the owners and that it was an update of priority parcels. The towns, he said, submit the list.
“Under the old Drinking Water Protection Program, monies were set aside for the county to spend in each township,” Calarco explained, referring to an environment trust fund created and made available with funds from the 1/4 percent sales and compensating-use tax.
Possible purchases depend on what funds the county has.
“The federal government is giving Suffolk County $286 million in bailout money from the coronavirus, but it’s not earmarked for specific funds,” Piccirillo said as a possibility. At press time, the county didn’t know yet what or if there were restrictions on the $286 million, Calarco said.
Piccirillo serves on the Environment, Parks and Agriculture Committee. A legislative priority is protecting drinking water.
“I led the Republican effort against getting rid of land acquisition,” he said when county executive Steve Bellone pitched a ballot proposition resolution to reroute the Drinking Water Protection Program sales tax from land preservation to taxpayer relief last year. (It was later withdrawn.)
“I really believe in this whole program,” Piccirillo said. “It was in jeopardy.”
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