Boats seemingly dumped on DOT property, not cleaned up

Land viewable from Sunrise Highway south in Shirley

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The Town of Brookhaven recently reported the discovery of several private boats on New York State Department of Transportation property in Shirley. The parcel, located at the end of Maple Avenue in Shirley, is visible from Sunrise Highway.

The property is fenced and marked with “No Trespassing” signs with several trees. Behind the trees, numerous boats, cars, trailers, and related equipment are being stored or were dumped on the property. According to the Town of Brookhaven, the parcel is zoned A-1 and the storage of such is a non-permitted use.

The lot is littered with at least 20 boats, Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine explained, also noting that the town was able to write tickets and have a few of the boats on neighboring town property removed.

The New York State Department of Transportation is aware of the property concern adjacent to Sunrise Highway and stated they are working to resolve the issue.

“The Department of Transportation is aware of the illegally stored items within our right-of-way and is working to have them removed,” said Stephen Canzoneri, NYSDOT spokesperson.

However, according to the town, the issue has not been resolved since reporting it several months ago. Additionally, no time frame or reasoning for the illegally stored equipment was given by the NYSDOT, nor was an explanation of what the property is used for by the entity.

In response, Romaine submitted a letter to the NYSDOT regional director Richard Causin.

“This matter was brought to the attention of Sen. Alexis Weik’s office, who contacted your office approximately a month ago,” the letter reads. “The town’s Law Department contacted your office on Nov. 8 about this dumping on your property. To date, we are not aware of any action to remove these derelict boats that are an eyesore by your office.”

Weik’s office confirmed, also stating they were waiting on a response. Romaine further requested that the NYSDOT immediately remove the boats and seek action against the boat owners when they can be determined from the boats’ registration numbers.

His major concern with the dumping is that is has now become home to a homeless encampment.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue and just because it’s a moderate to low-income area, they don’t care,” he said of the NYSDOT’s inefficiency of clearing up their property. “This is shameful; it’s shameful this entity is not working with the town. I am shocked by the inefficiency of the NYSDOT to do their job.”

If the NYSDOT does not follow through with the removal of the boats, Romaine said, he is going to seek action from the Governor’s Office.

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