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Committee fails to come to agreement on new redistricting plan for Brookhaven

U.S. Census Bureau

Thursday was the deadline for the Brookhaven redistricting committee to submit a new plan to the town board, but they were unable to come to an agreement.

At their most recent meeting, the redistricting committee of Brookhaven rejected three proposed maps that could serve as the new criteria for district lines in Brookhaven. Brookhaven is the largest town in Suffolk County with six districts to represent its hamlets — outside of the village governments of Belle Terre, Patchogue, Poquott and Port Jefferson.

In 2020, it was determined that of the six districts, the populations of districts 2 and 6 were not balanced compared to the remaining four. Currently, District 2 comprises of Mount Sinai, Miller Place, Rocky Point, Sound Beach, Shoreham, East Shoreham, Wading River, and parts of Middle Island, Terryville, Coram, Ridge, and Port Jefferson Station. District 6 consists of Mastic, Mastic Beach, Smith Point, Moriches, Center Moriches, East Moriches, Eastport, Manorville, Calverton, and parts of Shirley, East Yaphank, Ridge, and Brookhaven Hamlet.

Six votes are required to approve a map. To maintain fair district mapping, each district must comprise a sixth of Brookhaven’s total population of roughly 475,00 residents. At the meeting, there was a 3-5 vote on two maps backed by Democrats and a 5-3 vote on a map backed by Republicans.

Some Brookhaven residents are criticizing what they call an “opaque and mismanaged redistricting process,” saying that some of the current plans will split up districts that are majority people of color into at least three districts. Community members were also encouraged to submit proposals to be voted upon with the same deadline of September 15.

The next town board meeting will include public hearing at 5 p.m. on September 29 to further discuss the current dilemma. Under law, the town board must approve a final map by December 15.

Lauren is a former news intern at WSHU.