from NEWSDAY

Official: Town raids illegal mulching operation in Middle Island
Originally published: August 16, 2013 1:47 PM
Updated: August 16, 2013 2:12 PM
By CANDICE NORWOOD  candice.norwood@newsday.com
Brookhaven officials have executed a search warrant at what they believe to be an illegal mulching and sandmining operation in Middle Island.
Town authorities this morning blocked the private road leading to 132 Swezey Dr., off Middle Country Road, and turned away as many as 25 trucks trying to unload material at the site, said town Supervisor Ed Romaine.
“That property is zoned residential; it’s reflected on our tax bill as vacant property,” said an agitated sounding Romaine. “Instead, someone went into that [site] and began an extensive sandmining operation and mulching; it’s operating as a commercial business. It has no plans, no permits and no approvals.”
Deputy town attorney David Moran said authorities are processing information collected today, to see what legal action is warranted.
Romaine said the mulch piles “present a great potential for fire. It is a heavily utilized site that is totally illegal, in violation of town codes.”
Officials said noise complaints from surrounding neighbors led the town’s law department investigators to shut down the road about 10 a.m.
Moran said the heavily wooded, roughly 11-acre site was being used for organic material recycling. He said various companies and landscapers would bring in such things as grass clippings and tree limbs for processing and later possible sale.
“God forbid there’s a fire there,” Moran said.
Romaine said law department investigators had focused on the site in recent weeks, and Moran said Sixth District Court Judge Janine A. Barbera-Dalli signed a search warrant Thursday afternoon.
Moran said the state Department of Environmental Conservation had investigated the property several years ago, but a court ruled they were not authorized to be on the site.
Romaine said officials are being careful in their investigation and working to make sure the property is in compliance with the law.