What to do with Violet’s Cove

At a meeting Monday of the Pattersquash Creek Civic Association, the topic of discussion centered mostly on Violet’s Cove, specifically, what the community would like it to become.

The site closed down in 2008, after the restaurant and marina shut its doors. Before Violet’s Cove, Captain Andy’s was in the location, built in the 1940s. Since then, it has been an issue of development and open space, especially when Mastic Beach was an incorporated village. The village was in talks to purchase the land from Suffolk County, and once it disbanded, the county was again the sole owner.

At the Monday meeting, County Executive Steve Bellone was in attendance to gather feedback and help start a community plan for what the site could be. But residents in attendance responded, basically saying that it’s already been done. There was a Mastic Beach Comprehensive Plan put together after Hurricane Sandy that looked at Neighborhood Road and Violet’s Cove. It proposed a private waterfront development with a marina and boardwalk, as well as environmentally friendly sites.

The village, when in talks to purchase the land, was hoping for a partnership with a local university for educational programs. That goal was echoed Monday night, with residents suggesting that Long Island Aquarium, Cornell Cooperative Extension, or Stony Brook University could be valuable partners in developing a popular use for the land.

Other suggestions for the land included having a private developer come and create a restaurant with a catering hall. Another resident envisioned a revitalized marina, where boats could come in and eat, walk around, and treat Mastic Beach like the waterfront destination it could be.

Bellone declined to suggest ideas of his own, which he said he wouldn’t do to any community, but said that he would support any plan that was community-based. He encouraged residents to plan for the short- and long-term, and look at the community as a whole, rather than site by site.

“Whatever happens has to come from the community,” he said. “It has to be community-based.”

Cornell has reached out to Sunderman’s office, the legislator said Monday, but there have been no solid plans put forth, though they do have interest in the land. Officials wanted to bring the community into the conversation before making any decisions.

The conversation ultimately delved into the overall issue of quality of life in Mastic Beach. Although the community is closer now than ever to acquiring a sewer system, many residents who have been along for the process are skeptical it will arrive anytime soon, and believe it is one of the major reasons for the lack of investment by the private sector.

Residents were upset with the perception the community gets, saying that it can sometimes lead to or influence reality. Officers from the 7th Precinct of Suffolk Police said that while perception may be negative, the reality is that crime is down again and has continued to decline.

Also at the meeting

Sunderman gave some brief updates on the sewer project. His office is looking to acquire funding through Mastic Beach after the referendum passed in January, which covers Mastic and Shirley. His priority is to get funding for the Neighborhood Road corridor first, so businesses have a chance to move in and invest in that area, which has been a priority for town and county officials.

Sunderman also said the county is waiting on approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to move forward with planning for the new Smith Point Bridge. He added that in the approved renderings, there would be no loss of the marina and the bridge would come in around the tennis courts. The project is slated to begin in 2021, but the legislator is trying to push it up to 2020.

The next meeting of the civic association will be on April 1 with Brookhaven Town officials.

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