Civic Accomplishments: Implementing the Portion Road Corridor Land Use Plan

Planning is a rational way of preparing for the future. A process that includes gathering and analyzing data, forecasting future trends and needs, and considering alternatives, all with community input. Such was the case for the Portion Road Corridor Land Use Plan.
What began as a vision-driven process became a comprehensive community plan with specific goals, an understanding of trends and opportunities, and strategies for implementation. Back in early 2010 the Civic was proud to support the Town of Brookhaven’s adoption of Portion Road Corridor Land Use Plan, a plan the Civic helped to create.
Some of the goals of the Plan include:
• The revitalization of the long-established downtown center at Hawkins Avenue, and the development of a new downtown area at Morris Avenue, near Nicolls Road.
• The creation of Transition Areas along the roadways that bring vehicles and pedestrians into the downtown centers.
• The integration of existing Regional Centers by providing more pedestrian-friendly connections to local residential areas.
• The further development of Transportation networks that reduce congestion, enhance safety, and encourage a diversity of transportation options.
• An economic development plan that will increase appropriate retail activity, encourage the expansion of local businesses, increase the quantity of local jobs, and provide an adequate tax base.
• The interconnectivity of commercial and residential areas with local resources, such as the Lake. A related goal is the preservation and promotion of the history and historic structures in Lake Ronkonkoma.
• The establishment of architectural design guidelines to improve appearance of buildings undergoing construction or renovation, because a picturesque downtown draws more shoppers.
The adoption of the Land Use Plan was a significant accomplishment for the Civic, but it was only the first step. In June 2010, there was a Special Town Board Hearing at Brookhaven Town Hall to re-zone certain parcels within the area of the Land Use Plan, along Hawkins and Ronkonkoma Avenues. The Civic supported this series of re-zonings because it changed the zoning of specific parcels where the current use of the property matched the Land Use Plan, but not the current zoning. This action removed the burden of a Change of Zone application from property owners who want to develop a parcel in compliance with the Land Use Plan, and it also protects residential parcels from inappropriate development. The Town was successful in re-zoning close to all the parcels presented at the hearing. Another special hearing for a similar purpose for parcels along Portion Road will be scheduled for 2012.
The Civic also continues to work on enforcing the architectural design guidelines contained in the Land Use Plan. The Civic’s Land Use Plan Implementation Committee comments on drawings submitted to the Town of Brookhaven and appears in front of the Town’s Planning Board to ensure that proposed façade changes comply with the design guidelines.