Dan Panico is running for re-election in the 6th district of Brookhaven Town. Panico was first elected in a 2010 special election and currently serves as deputy supervisor.
For his record with the town, he cited the town’s fiscal success with stable finances and tax levies, as well as the high bond and credit ratings the town has received. He added that personally his knowledge of zoning and land use, both from his time on the town board and in private practice, has led him to be successful in planning for the town.
He said that the new sewer project, which was approved earlier this year, is a major step forward for the Mastic, Shirley and Mastic Beach communities. Panico said that sewers allow new commercial uses like restaurants and other retail spaces that are attractive to businesses and housing developers.
“It gives you tremendous opportunities,” he said. “You’re going to see dramatic changes to the corridor.”
Panico said a major piece of the revitalization of Mastic Beach centers around Neighborhood Road. The town is undergoing a blight study, which will hopefully turn into an urban renewal plan, Panico said, which will allow new development in the area. The town has made a priority of demolishing zombie homes in the area as well, and the councilman said there are almost none left to take down.
Panico added that the development that the town is searching for comes along with realizing balance and keeping the environmentally sensitive areas secure. Mastic Beach has become more vulnerable to flooding, and the town has made a point to preserve the wetlands where houses are taken down and limit waterfront development. Panico said several parks and docks in the area are being refurbished as well. He said the town needs to continue to maintain the infrastructure near the water to deal with storms and other environmental issues.
In areas like Shirley and Mastic, Panico said he has been proactive in removing commercial blight and working with property owners to clean up abandoned properties and develop new ones. He said he has been seeing more investment in the area.
As for the landfill, Panico is confident in the plan to close by 2024, and said the town has been capping and closing as time goes on, rather than all at once at the end. He said there would be an energy park on the property and the reserve fund will help with the revenue when the landfill closes.
Panico is proud of the way the town board has worked together on many issues, and he has taken special steps to preserve lands as open space and manage taxes. He is also supportive of the new measure that gives councilmembers four-year terms, which he said would bring more stability to the town and the government. He added that he is always open to working with residents and the community to solve problems.
“I am full steam ahead,” he said. “We care about what residents have to say.”