Green business heroes
Patchogue Village awarded Green Business Awards to local businesses whose environmental efforts signify commitment. Pictured (left to right) are: Mayor Paul Pontieri, FINS superintendent Alex Romero, Blue Point Brewery director of brewing operations Dan Jansen, Blum’s owner Marc Siegel, trustee and PEP chair Joseph Keyes and village clerk Patti Seal.


Green business heroes



Six Patchogue businesses received the local ‘Oscar’ of environmental accolades — a Green Business Award — Monday night at the village board meeting. Blue Point Brewery, Arooga’s, Blum’s, BrickHouse Brewery, James Joyce Pub & Restaurant, and Fire Island National Seashore were the recipients.

Its idea came from a newcomer to Patchogue.

Well, sort of. 

Nick Rosenberg, environmental health and safety manager for the newly expanded Blue Point Brewery on West Main Street, came across a New York State green business program that was too broad, but that might be refined. As a member of the Protecting the Environment in Patchogue committee, he pitched the idea and the PEP committee helped develop it. Patchogue is believed to be the first municipality on Long Island to initiate this type of award.

“I thought it would work better if we concentrated on the businesses locally in the village that are taking green initiatives,” said Rosenberg, who worked with the PEP creator, trustee Joseph Keyes, for two years. “Blue Point built a brand-new facility with efficiency in mind. So it’s recovering water for use in multiple stages of the brewery process. We have plans to install solar on our new property this year. The grain we use for the brewing process and husks, all that gets sent off and mixed in for cattle feed to farms.” 

As for the restaurant side, in addressing utensils and takeout, “right now, the initiatives are going to the brewery side until we can get the restaurant up and running,” Rosenberg said. “We are planning ahead for a lot of those things, coastal and environmental in mind, so we have plans for ecofriendly initiatives.” 

The businesses will receive decals to publicize their commitment. Keyes said they can also be posted as green businesses on the Patchogue Village website and can use the village logo.

“We invited businesses to participate and sent out applications seven months ago,” Keyes said. “If the businesses qualified for certain points, hopefully it would trigger a mindset to further enhance environmental habits.” PEP was started in 2014 by Keyes; Patchogue Village banned the use of plastic bags, behind Southampton and East Hampton towns and villages, officially in September 2016.

A green business application was distributed; 10 applied, Keyes said. Six made the grade, scoring on recycling, energy-efficiency measures, sustainability training for employees and efforts to reduce single-use plastics and packaging.

BrickHouse Brewery was the first one to get the application in, Keyes said. BrickHouse opened in June 1996. 

“The biggest thing we did was the initiative with Brookhaven Town; our leftover grain goes to a rescue farm for goats and bovine animals,” said BrickHouse owner Tom Keegan. 

BrickHouse Brewery manager Maud Franklin said the restaurant stopped giving out plastic straws. “We have them if asked for, but we do not freely give them out,” Franklin said. “The Brew to Moo program with the town saves hundreds of pounds of grain a week from going into the landfill and we also have restaurant technologies. We recycle the oil we use for our fryers. A company monitors the oil; the used oil is collected as biodiesel oil for their trucks. Our boiler also collects condensate hot water to clean instead of using fresh water. And we research as much local products as we can for our beer process, so we only use Long Island hops. They use less fuel to get here. We’re the oldest operating brewer on Long Island, so if we take the lead, others will, too.”

Fire Island National Seashore park planner Kaetlyn Jackson said FINS has been addressing several buildings including the maintenance facility on West Avenue, two offices there, the ferry terminal, the headquarters on Laurel Street and at Watch Hill. “Our new facility at Watch Hill was built with green sustainable designs,” she said. “We have a green geothermal heating system to keep the rooms at a level temperature in winter and summer. We also have solar panels on that building as well. We are looking at a solar array at the Fire Island Ferry terminal over at the current parking lot and for locations for plug-ins for charging — that’s our goal. We have night-sky lighting, which focuses down instead of up. That’s the majority of what we put into our application. We have a native plant garden that supports native pollinators.”

In other village news:

•  BID executive director Dennis Smith reported that the owner of 8 West Main Street will transfer the 9,000-square-foot space into three units instead of renting to SMASH Ping Pong. Work at Fireman’s Memorial Park at the end of Rider Avenue will hopefully start early April. Construction for Shorefront Park may be six to 12 months away.

•  A change order was approved for L-C Construction to provide and install root barrier protection at Fireman’s Memorial Park for $8,650.

•  Don’t forget the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the saint’s day, March 17, that starts at Route 112 and proceeds to West Avenue. Paula Murphy is the grand marshal. The May the Road Rise to Meet Ye 5K begins at 11:55 a.m. The parade kicks off at noon sharp. Volunteers are still needed. 

•  If you see drug activity, call police at 631-852-NARC, not the village.

•  A Memorandum of Understanding was approved between the village and Cornell Cooperative Extension to provide Stormwater Management Program Education, Public Participation and Guidance for 2019-2020 for $27,628.75.

•  The 2018 LOSAP Program for Patchogue Ambulance was approved.

•  During the public comment period, several Beach Avenue residents registered complaints about an empty house with open windows, a house damaged by Sandy on property with a trailer for three years, a huge solar array and an alleged trucking business.

“The village will be actively reviewing previous approvals,” said village attorney Brian Egan. “Last night we heard from the east side of the street and no one on the west side. I am commissioning a full review on Beach Avenue and will do a thorough assessment of what’s legal and what’s not.”