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Legislator Schnedierman Expands Gabreski Airport Conservation And Assessment Committee

Originally Posted: April 04, 2012

Sag Harbor - The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved Resolution 214-2012, A Local Law to establish the Gabreski Airport Conservation and Assessment Committee to create a prominent community-based panel that reviews proposed leases and licenses at Gabreski Airport and makes recommendations to the Legislature, County Executive and the Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), introduced by Legislator Schneiderman.

The committee shall be composed of eight members, one member to be appointed by the County Executive; one member by the Presiding Officer; one member to represent the aviation community, to be appointed by County Executive with Legislature approval; one member to represent local business community surrounding airport, to be appointed by the County Executive subject to approval by Legislature; one member to represent an environmental group serving the East End towns of Suffolk County, to be appointed by the County Executive with approval of Legislature; and three members to be appointed to represent community, civic and neighborhood organizations that serve communities in close proximity to the Airport, with one member to be appointed by the Supervisor of the Town of Southampton, one member to be appointed by the Mayor of the Village of Quogue, and one member to be appointed by the Mayor of the Village of Westhampton Beach. All members of the committee have a term of three years.

In 2006, Legislator Schneiderman was appointed by the Presiding Officer to serve on the ACAP committee. With the 2008 joint venture for Suffolk County and the Town of Southampton to begin transforming 58 acres surrounding Gabreski Airport into a thriving business and technology park. The county selected Melville-based Rechler Equity Partners to re-develop the property into a campus-like hub with elements including film production, biotech, small business incubators, manufacturing and research and development operations. The 433,000 square-foot hub will attract low-impact industries providing high-paying, careers and jobs. County officials anticipate the hub could produce 600-700 jobs.

Legislator Schneiderman's concerns started to grow as constituents expressed the current committee lacked authority with the development of the airport hub it is especially important to have a standing body which provides statutory authority and community support to advocate for the best interest of the local community. In August 2011, Legislator Schneiderman had proposed IR 1703-11, a Local Law to establish the Gabreski Airport Conservation and Assessment Committee but it stricken on December 30, 2011.

Last February, Legislator Schneiderman, County officials, Southampton Town officials, economic development leaders, and community advocates held a special ceremony unveiling the newly named East End Economic center, "The Hampton Business District at Gabreski." The area is anticipated to generate more than $7 million in rental revenue to Suffolk County over the next 10 years, and more than $40 million over the life of the 40-year lease. The state-of-the-art business and technology center, located on the westernmost part of Gabreski Airport, is within the approved Airport Planned Development District (APDD) and will focus on the aforementioned industries as well as businesses involved in homeland security, alternative energies, green research and development and other high technology. In addition, the park will include a 145-room hotel with conference capabilities.

On February 7, 2012 at the General Meeting of the Legislature, Legislator Schneiderman introduced once again, A Local Law to establish the Gabreski Airport Conservation and Assessment Committee. He made amendments to the original resolution and was successful in garnering the support of his colleagues. "Now with the passage of this legislation the community can have a voice that can truly be heard on how the airport develops," stated Legislator Schneiderman.

The bill now goes to the County Executive for his signature. If the measure is approved the law shall take effect immediately upon filing in the Office of the Secretary of State.

Representing the South Fork, Jay Schneiderman is the Suffolk County Legislator for the Second Legislative District. He is also chairman of the County Legislature's Public Works and Transportation Committee.

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