Construction concerns voiced
Local groups have environmental concerns regarding The Vineyards at Blue Point, still under construction.

ADV/Waszynski

Construction concerns voiced

Story By: RANDALL WASZYNSKI
3/21/2019


 

The Vineyards at Blue Point, a 280-unit condominium complex under construction off Sunrise Highway, sits where the United Artists Movie Theater was located. The parcel is surrounded by an open-space nature preserve with trails. The developer, Ornstein Leyton Company, cut a deal with the Town of Brookhaven for the parcel, setting aside 29 acres of the total 35.65-acre parcel for open space. Construction began September 2015.

Blue Point Community Civic Association and Tuthills Creek Alliance members are concerned, however, that the trails the developer has constructed were not built within the constraints of their contract; that outdoor storage and material are being placed outside the bounds of the easement construction road; and that cement washouts are being dumped on-site, with claims attached that this activity can pollute groundwater (and, thus, nearby waterways).

Regarding the trails, the contract between the developer and the town states that the trails are to be 4 feet across. An observance from a walk-through on the trails with the Advance revealed completed portions of the trails were 6-7 feet across and there were disregarded portions of existing quad trails as a footprint for their own construction.

 “Their own assurances and direction was to use existing trails up here, and they decided to come in with a 6-foot-wide blade on a Bobcat and make their own,” said Edward Silsbe, representing the Blue Point Community Civic Association and the Tuthills Creek Alliance.

Silsbe, familiar with this open space, has participated in conversations for several trail constructions, and also pointed out the concerning amount of trees chopped in the construction.

“They were not supposed to knock down any trees, [but] they knocked down lots of trees,” Silsbe said. “They were supposed to trim a few branches and sweep up some leaves.”

Despite multiple phone calls, the developer did not return calls for comment by press time.

Regarding the easement, large mounds of material sit across the curb of the road. Empty 55-gallon drums also sit right on the edge of the curb. Silbe suggested that a silt fence or hay bales should have been installed beforehand to ensure that material or other outdoor storage would not seep into the wooded area.

“They’re storing recycled concrete asphalt basically in our woods.”

Thirdly, concrete washout has been dumped on-site, and there are concerns that it is polluting the groundwater.

 “Water from this site, there is an arm of the Tuthills Creek that runs through this property,” Silsbe said, “so it drains in pretty quick order out to West Lake, a very popular fishing destination in the Village of Patchogue stocked by the State Department of Environmental Conservation.”

Several other residents have voiced their concerns about the hazards this imposes upon existing waterways and wildlife.

But a construction manager, who works with concrete every day, said that concrete is only caustic when it is wet.

“You can get concrete burns when it is active — when it is curing. But once it is cured, within half an hour or an hour, it starts to stabilize out. It is not leaching into the ground,” said Tom Lerner, a construction manager, who has worked on building projects across Long Island. “Once that stuff cures, it is done. You don’t have problems with house foundations in the ground. There is no great pollution coming out of concrete. I have never had any big problems with a slurry that comes out of a truck at the end when we clean up.”

The Town of Brookhaven’s building inspectors, law department investigators, as well as employees from its environmental division are regularly visiting the site, according to Kevin Molloy, a Town of Brookhaven spokesman.

 “It is an active work site and is not finished yet,” Molloy said. “This is a closely monitored parcel and project, so, at the end of the day, we can make sure that all revegetation or remediation is accomplished and rehab this trail system.”