By Connor Beach
More than a dozen wildlife enthusiasts and Centerport residents gathered at town hall Tuesday afternoon to weigh in on a proposal to ban cars from stopping along a Centerport road near Mill Pond. The spot offers some of the best views of a pair of nesting bald eagles that live in the area.
The proposal would have barred cars from stopping on Centershore Road between Westfield Drive and Mill Dam Road. It was drafted in response to an email to town officials citing safety concerns caused by birdwatchers parked along the side of Centershore Road.
Several speakers, including both area residents and bald eagle photographers, challenged the concerns.
“I have used this road all my life, and now I use it to observe the beautiful eagles,” said Bruce Adams, a retired Northport Harbormaster. “There are actually, in my opinion, a number of safe parking spots along the east side of Centershore Road.”
“If all the photographers and others who come to the area to see the bald eagles caused any problems with congestion, noise or unsafe conditions, I would be extremely upset,” said Centerport resident Arline Riordan.” But in all honesty I have never experienced any such difficulty and have found them to be a welcome addition to the community.”
Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, also a Centerport resident, said he shared Riordan’s sentiments.
“I think it really functions as it is, and I don’t see the quality of life problems that some have presented,” he said.
The birth earlier this month of two eaglets, the third and fourth chicks to born in the nest, is likely to bring more visitor to the area.
Rob Schwartz, founder of the 20,000 followers strong Bald Eagles of Centerport Facebook Group, also opposed the ban and suggested the town improve parking at town owned land in the area.
After 14 speakers opposed the ban, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci polled the town board. All five members said they did not support enacting the ban.
“We did receive a lot of emails and feedback from people in the community who love the bald eagles, so I think it’s unanimous that we will not be entertaining this restriction any longer,” Lupinacci said.