Eastport, Remsenburg And Speonk Community Notes December 10

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While the holiday season should be a time of happiness, there have been far too many instances of violence and unnecessary loss these past few weeks. With that in mind, can we all take a moment and try to do something positive, and perhaps help someone else? Though difficult this year, let’s try not to forget our holiday spirit.Tragically, on the afternoon of Friday, December 4, 26-year-old Courtney Pivirotto of Eastport was killed in a head-on collision that occurred in Northampton. The friends of Courtney and her family have launched a GoFundMe page to help her mother and sister pay for her burial costs.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.gofundme.com/k7dhcsrg. I know I speak for many in our community in sending my deepest condolences to Courtney’s family and friends who are grieving this sudden and senseless loss.

Last Wednesday, December 2, I joined many of my neighbors in Speonk and Remsenburg in sitting through a rather tense community meeting at the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School about a workforce housing development proposed for North Phillips Avenue in Speonk. As the meeting began, attendees soon learned of a second project of a larger scale targeting another property on the same street.

Residents shared their frustrations and voiced many issues with both of the properties, including the proposed rezoning of land to allow for significantly increased density. The two projects could result in the building of nearly 100 new apartments on North Phillips Avenue, and many in attendance want to know how that will affect our elementary school.

I took this away from the meeting: A) How could the developers not even consider the potential ramifications on our small school district? and B) If they simply develop both lots according to current zoning, I doubt that anyone would oppose their efforts.

Clearly, at least with The Castle property, the land needs to be cleaned up.

Tim Dahlen Sr. of Speonk, who was the last member of the community to speak during last week’s meeting, summarized our feelings as follows. He said, “This would affect our quality of life.”

Indeed, our road infrastructure is not set to accommodate this increased density, and Speonk does not offer quick access to a major highway (Sunrise). Also, the “workforce” that these apartments would generally support would not necessarily work in our community.

Whether you are for or against the proposed housing—or if you have any suggestions on what you would like seen built there—please make sure you email our town officials and let them know what you think. Their personal email addresses can be found on the town website, www.southamptontownny.gov/.

Families came from all over Sunday to meet and Mrs. Claus at the Eastport Firehouse. Children had their photos taken with the big guy in red, and some even took a quick ride around Eastport aboard the fire department’s antique fire truck. As always, the buffet breakfast was delicious!

I overheard people saying on more than one occasion Sunday that this is the best part about living in a small town. And I must agree—we do have something special here.

There’s no need to travel too far this weekend to get your fill of holiday cheer. Our neighbors in Westhampton Beach will host the village’s first Dickens Family Holiday Festival, sponsored by the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce, on Saturday, December 12. The event runs from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at multiple locations on Main Street. The rain date is Sunday, December 13, at the same time.

One of the highlights for me is that attendees will get the chance to learn how to build an oyster cage. How fun is that? This class will be offered at 2 p.m. on the Village Green and hosted by the Moriches Bay Project. Love it!

Books & Books on Main Street in Westhampton Beach is running a book drive that seeks to send all students attending the Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside home with a book this holiday season. Principal Deb Rogers hopes to hand out the donated books starting on Monday, December 21.

So, from now until Sunday, December 20, the good folks over at Books & Books will be soliciting donations. Those interested in participating only need to buy a children’s book for donation; they start as low as $3.99 each. What a great idea for the holidays.

Finally, tickets are now available for the upcoming musical “Elf Jr.” that will be put on later this month by theater students attending the Eastport South Manor High School. Performances will be offered at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 18, and Saturday, December 19, and 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 20, in the auditorium of the high school that sits off Moriches-Middle Island Road in Manorville. Tickets are $10 each and can only be purchased online at www.esmca.org/esmca-fundraiser.html; they will not be sold at the door.

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