Elwood BOE Weighs In On High Density Rezoning
The following is a letter from the Elwood Union Free School District Board of Education to Supervisor Petrone and the Town Board urging them to reject any rezoning of the property currently owned by Oak Tree Dairy.
Frank Petrone, Town Supervisor
Anthony Aloisio, Director of Planning
Members of the Huntington Town Council
Town of Huntington
100 Main Street
Huntington, NY 11743
Re: The Rezoning and Development of the Property recognized as Oak Tree Dairy
Dear Messrs Petrone and Aloisio, and Members of the Huntington Town Council:
The Elwood Union Free School District Board of Education (EUFSD BOE) has reviewed Mr. Aloisio’s response to our questions regarding the rezoning and proposed development of the property known as the Oak Tree Dairy Property in a letter dated March 1, 2013. The property, located on Elwood Road in East Northport, is contiguous with our High School/Middle School campus.
Over the course of the last 18 months the EUFSD BOE has allocated significant time at our Board of Education meetings enabling information on the rezoning and proposed development of the Oak Tree Dairy Property to be shared with our school district residents. We have also provided an open forum for our school district residents to ask questions and share comments regarding this proposal. While we remain steadfast in our view that the property rezoning decision is the responsibility of the Town of Huntington and not the EUFSD BOE, we do acknowledge that the decision will have a significant impact on our district, its operations and students. Moreover, Supervisor Petrone recently stated in a public meeting that he looked forward to the Elwood Board of Education “weighing in” on the topic, which we assume meant to formulate and communicate a definitive opinion regarding the proposed rezoning and development of the Oak Tree property. Recognizing that silence might be misconstrued as tacit approval, we will provide a clear view into our position.
The Board of Education recognizes that a number of considerations and concerns have been brought forward regarding the impact a rezoned and densely developed property could have on the Elwood Community at large. Nonetheless, our opinion on the development is formulated strictly on school issues related to the overall safety of our students, undue stress on our transportation system, and the possible long-term threat of overcrowding our schools – a threat that would jeopardize the quality of instruction and our educational program . Additionally, any boom in student population would certainly raise costs and put an unnecessary economic burden on our taxpayers.
As Trustees of the Board of Education, the governing body of the Elwood School District, our role is to optimize and protect the soundness and manageability of our educational services as well as the operational efficiencies of our schools, now and over the long-term . It is imperative that our Board not only focus on the challenges of today, but we must look well into the future and make sure that our school community is not put into harm’s way. Therefore, based on Director Aloisio’s letter in responses to our list of questions and concerns, and especially not offering any long-term guarantee that school children could never reside in this high-density development, the Board will not endorse this proposed rezoning and development.
The Elwood Board of Education respectfully requests the planning board and ultimately the Huntington Town Board as the true decision making authorities on this proposal, reject any rezoning of the property currently owned by Oak Tree Dairy.
Please note that BOE Trustee Andrew Kaplan has recused himself from any dialogue on the Oak Tree Property rezoning issue and has stated his plan to abstain from any potential BOE action on the issue.
The Board of Education
Elwood Union Free School District
CC: E. Cook; M. Cuthberston; T. Edwards; S. Berland; J. Raia