The Town of Brookhaven has taken into account suggestions made by this publication in an editorial suggesting better implementation of the redistricting maps.
As per Brookhaven Town code, town lines must be redistricted every 10 years, after council districts were formed in 2000. The requirement, according to town officials, ensures equal representation as a reflection of the most current population data. In May, the Town of Brookhaven appointed a redistricting committee comprising three Democratic representatives, three Republican representatives, and two other party representatives. Since then, several public meetings have been held throughout the town.
According to the town, with the currently proposed maps, the vast majority of residents in Brookhaven will see no change in representation under the map of least change. (90.55 percent will remain in the same council district from the last cycle). The map will also improve compactness, with 100 percent of North Bellport now existing within District 4; currently, a portion is in District 5. The change, according to the town, was done in response to the community’s request over the past several years to be represented by a single council member, and the minority population increased in every district when compared to the 2010 population.
The new map has 10 split hamlets in comparison to the current 13 split community. The communities to remain split will remain so, due to community requests to maintain likeminded neighborhoods rather than zip codes. These communities include Coram, which will remain split in order to maintain Gordon Heights as a community, while 11720 will remain with Centereach, including South Setauket Park. Also, the new map reduces the number of school districts that are split from nine to four.
“This proposed map is the result of a robust, transparent public process after a dozen publicly advertised meetings resulted in highly attended meetings, hundreds of comments and suggestions, written testimony and suggestions from residents across the town, and numerous suggestions for alterations, and changes,” said a town’s spokesperson. “The maps embrace the concept of least change, as was repeatedly recommended by residents attending public hearings.”
A public hearing to discuss this proposed map was set for Thursday, Sept. 29 to amend Chapter 27 entitled “Procedures for Ballot Propositions Proposing Ward (Council) Districts and Reapportionment Thereof” by amending Section 27-8 entitled “Reapportionment” of the Town Code of the Town of Brookhaven. The town board has until Dec. 15 to approve the new map, which will set council district lines for the next 10 years.
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