The return of heavy equipment on May 18 has the community buzzing. Dump trucks and pay loaders seem to be renewing activities similar to those of 2015. Back then, illegal sand mining was suspected and MICA contacted both the TOB and DEC numerous times. It turns out these new activities are actually part of a DEC-approved clean up plan for the site, with Brookside Environmental providing equipment and Jim DeMartinis of Seacliff Environmental as senior hydrogeologist. The Town of Brookhaven sent Inspectors and Enviromental Analysts there to confer with DEC Officers familiar with past activities and actions at the parcel; more information will be shared as it becomes available.
We await further word about a possible major pharmacy proposed for the Kogel site. Attorney Tim Shea attended our October 2106 MICA meeting and explained three potential projects for the MI Rt 25 corridor, including the yet-to-be-named drug store. This would be one of several uses for the large parcel, which might also include some senior housing to the rear of the property. We’re hoping for a major sit down restaurant, too.
December 2015 Old Kogel Update
So much for feeling free to visit any time! Following a heavy DEC presence — passersby noted many official looking vehicles on-site mid-month — JD Material and Trucking pulled up stakes and basically disappeared from the property during the week of December 14th. When MICA Prez Gail Lynch-Bailey drove into the site on December 17th, a single truck and low-level worker remained. This person explained that Jeff DeFranco had “relocated” his operation into some old barns in the Moriches area. The site has since been locked, with large piles of earth along the perimeter, and deep holes excavated throughout, especially in the northern rear section. Inquiries have been made to the DEC about the property’s status and future.
September 2015 Old Kogel Site Update from MICA President Gail Lynch-Bailey:
I was finally able to meet with someone in person at the old Kogel site on Thursday, September 24. I saw some activity and drove in, spoke to one worker, then left my civic card under the doormat of the locked trailer. I got a call from someone less than 15 minutes later. I then met with Jeff DeFranco of JD Material and Trucking for over an hour in the job site trailer.
Here is what Jeff told me: he is renting the space from the corporate owners (tentatively identified as Brodsky or Brodski) to store his equipment, which consists of at least 2 tractor trailers, an excavator, a payloader and the trailer. In exchange for rent, Jeff has been doing the removal of all the concrete, drainage pools, etc., that have been an attractive nuisance on the site for ATVers, skateboarders and such. Jeff showed me the TOB permit for this process. Many of the footings are extremely deep, thick and long. Much of the removal has been occurring at night, Jeff said, because he is not union, so his trucks cannot enter approved drop off places during the day when union trucks are present.
The DEC has been to Kogel nine times (they were there when I drove in on Thursday, and I confessed that I have contacted them about the site several times) They have only issued one violation, for the berms. The berms were built in lieu of more expensive fencing, to shield surrounding areas from noise, dust, etc. The DEC should have approved the material used for the berms prior to their formation. But the DEC tested the dirt after the fact and it is okay, per what Jeff told me.
In addition to completing the debris removal, Jeff will then re-grade much of the site (almost 21 acres) to bring it up to near trailer-floor height. There is at least a five foot variance from the northwest corner to the southeast corner (not including the excavated areas which are much deeper.) Jeff wants to use as much material on site as possible to do this (the berms?) because otherwise DEC will need to approve all the dirt he brings in for the re-grading.
We also discussed the problems of trucks on our roads, especially near schools, and other local issues. Most importantly, Jeff has issued an open invitation for MICA officers and MIFD personnel to visit and tour the site with him. I would like several of us to do so, soon. A number of you have written or spoken to me about this site with legitimate concerns. We will arrange a mutually convenient late afternoon or two when we can inspect and ask more questions about this important location at the heart of our hamlet.