The following appeared in the Suffolk Times/Riverhead News-Review in December 2015. The original can be read here.
I am writing in response to The Suffolk Times’ recent editorial entitled “County Planning ‘Alliance’ Should Be Put On Hold.” The editorial is correct in saying that while the measure has good intentions, it should be tabled until the proposal is more fine-tuned.
The new program brings to mind a critically important question – is this newly crafted program a mechanism that is designed to expedite the development process? Yes, there is a large need for inter-municipal cooperation, but should the goal be making the development process easier for builders?
True regional planning efforts on Long Island requires the townships to not so much fear the new alliance, but embrace the notion of increased inter-municipal communication. The public needs to accept the realities that yes, there are regional problems, and yes, our region has to adapt to solve them.
Lastly, policymakers cannot allow this new alliance to merely exist to serve development interests, and must ensure that language is placed within the measure to ensure this protection.
If anything, this alliance is the opportunity to take a step back, and truly look at Long Island, assess our regional needs, and implement workable solutions that have impacts on the local level.
Unfortunately, Long Island’s track record with the notion of regional thought tends to justify skepticism.