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Well, we have an interesting situation - there are actually 2 President's Letters

The first is going out with the Membership forms, which you should receive shortly (if not already).

The second will be in our latest Newsletter, which is entering its final stages before going to print.

So you don't miss anything, we will post both immediately below.

I realize there will be a bit of reading associated.

Please, we encourage you to read both in their entirety.

Also - if you have any questions please email us at

or call Keith Macartney at 631-525-3937

Happy reading

President's Letter  Feb. 2024

This letter is in with the Membership form

Fort Salonga has a rich history, predating the discovery of the area by settlers from Europe. Some artifacts found in Fort Salonga date as far back as 5,000 years, artifacts from Native American tribes who inhabited our hamlet. The Matinecock tribe was native to our area, and for good reason. Long Island Sound provided them an ample supply of fresh fish and clams.  The valley protected them from harsh winds of winter, especially nor’easters that plague the north shore of Long Island. In addition, the warming winds from the south helped during the winter as well as funneling the winds of summer to help keep them cooler.


Then you jump forward roughly 3,500 years to the 1600s, as settlements of Europeans started to dot the landscape of Long Island. The Fort Salonga area drew many, in part for the same reasons the Native Americans lived here – food and weather. 

For those who do not know the history behind the name of Fort Salonga, the name actually changed from the original name of the British fort. Located on Long Island Sound and on the east side of Fresh Pond, the fort was in fact named Fort Slongo, after George Slongo.  Mr. Slongo was contracted by the British government to build the fort, presumably in the years of 1778 and 1779. The location was strategic as it was the eastern most post for the British army. As such it came under attack by the Continental Army on October 3, 1781, commanded by Benjamin Tallmadge and Lemuel Trescott. Additionally, Major Tallmadge acted as leader of the Culper Ring during the war, a celebrated network of spies in New York where major British forces were based. You will see signs in the area marking it as part of the Washington Trail, a vital part associated with the Culper Ring. Elijah Churchill was the first American to receive the Purple Heart due to his injuries in that battle. As a side note, you will notice that many streets in our community bear the names of Colonialists from that time. 


So, you ask – how did Bread and Cheese Hollow Rd. get its name. That story will have to wait as there are actually several conflicting stories behind the name. Please don’t cheat and look it up using Google, that will spoil all the fun.


Now we jump to present day Fort Salonga – 2024. In the last couple of years, as most of you already know, we’ve been fighting battles of our own. These battles are not violent, but the outcomes are as dramatic to our way of life. As the most dramatic of current happenings is on the Smithtown side of our community, I am going to put my focus there. The first is the property known as Owl Hill, which borders on both Sunken Meadow Rd. and Fort Salonga Rd. (Route 25A). There are really two possible outcomes here;  A) the current property owner could build 16 homes there, with many only on ½ acre lots, even though Smithtown Town Code for Fort Salonga is 1 acre. If this project is allowed to proceed forward (and they have already been given approval by the Smithtown Planning Department), this will set a precedent for future developers to ask for variances to down-size all available properties to ½ acre.  B) The Suffolk County Legislature is in talks with the builder to purchase the property – as is. Unfortunately, so far, the builder has not accepted an offer from the County, as I believe he wants to have the most desirable outcome he can get. Understandable, but when you are talking about the difference between the potential profit he can get as opposed to what the County offers, I believe greed has taken center stage. 


The other extremely serious situation is the possibility of CarlsonCorp, AKA Toby Carlson to build a 24 hour a day rail freight yard immediately south of our border. As this is such a fluid situation, I am not going to write about it here as is would take up too much of your time reading. I ask instead that you visit the website to get the latest. What I can tell you here is that the focus now has to be on Town Hall  -  Supervisor Wehrheim and the Town Board, as well Leg. Rob Trotta, all of whom have sent letters supporting the construction of this potential disaster. But as said, please go to our website to get the latest.


Until next – all the very best to those who live, love and cherish the community we all live in.

Keith Macartney - President

President's Letter March 2024

This letter is in the Newsletter

IT IS FINALLY HAPPENING   -   Spring is on its way, and I am sure most of us are anxious for its return. Flowers blooming, leaves budding and warmer days, add to that daylight saving time and all together it makes for happier days. Unfortunately, there are other things that detract from these wonderful things in life. With that, my apologies for a lengthy President’s Letter, but the correct information needs to get to you.


Front and center is the proposed freight railyard on Old Northport/Townline Rd. CarlsonCorp/Townline Rail Terminal is seeking to create a private regional freight yard, hoping to haul ash from the Covanta plant in Huntington, as well as unassociated construction & demolition debris and aggregates (C&D). Beyond this, Townline Rail is seeking a common carrier obligation (CCO). Why this is so alarming is that rail companies with a CCO cannot refuse to carry hazardous materials, such as anhydrous ammonia and chlorine, which are both used in our area and in close proximity to the proposed freight yard. And to make it totally clear, I am not saying something doesn’t need to be done - it does. But there is something called common sense and by approving a railyard with a CCO at this location, adjacent to homes and schools - this is neither a safe nor adequate answer.


The Office of Environmental Assessment (OEA), a federal government agency, has given the initial Environmental Assessment the green light. Sadly, the OEA’s decision appears to have been based on many misrepresentations, and some out right false facts. Much of the information the OEA relied on came from the applicant. Much of the OEA’s information appears to have been faulty, at best.


It should be acknowledged that on-site materials permitted by the existing Town of Smithtown zoning code and the materials permitted by the NYSDEC solid waste permit both limit Carlson's activities and are in conflict with the proposed railroad use (including hazardous materials). The OEA was led to believe that the Sunken Meadow Parkway would be a roadway for trucks to utilize in order to access the rail site, for the transportation of building materials, and tractor-trailer trucks loaded with anything and everything imaginable – including hazardous waste. We know this is not true, as all parkways in New York State do not permit truck traffic. Further, the OEA was given wrong numbers on the projected volume of truck traffic that would transverse our roads - by roughly 50%, using roads that pass thru residential neighborhoods, not industrial or commercial thruways. In addition, the OEA was told that the entire property was or would be zoned heavy industry – this again was far from the truth, as a large swath of this land is zoned single-family residential, and according to the proposed Smithtown Master Plan, will not be rezoned heavy industry. (More on the Master Plan to come. There will be postings on our website as well as an email or two, so please sign up on the website with your email address. You do not need to be a paying member to get our emails, but we would be appreciative.) 


To sum it up, the information used by the federal government in finding no adverse impacts on the community with this proposed project was made using incomplete and/or inaccurate facts. The federal government relied, in part, on information supplied by a private company looking to make millions of dollars on a regional freight yard in the midst of our hamlet, instead of the OEA doing their own due diligence, as they should have. Fortunately, there are people within the Smithtown agencies that picked up on these reporting errors and have sent letters to the OEA attempting to correct those errors.


Another related issue that we need to contend with is support from our local elected leaders, both Town and County.  Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim sent a letter to the STB in full support of the rail yard, BEFORE CarlsonCorp had even submitted their application. (I will let you draw your own conclusions here) To date, on record the railyard has garnered support from a wide range of public figures – from Supervisor Wehrheim, to the Smithtown Town Board to County Leg. Rob Trotta. Their opinion unfathomably has said that a terminal in an already industrialized area is a reasonable option, regardless of the effects on surrounding communities. This endorsement comes without the faintest thread of support from their constituents - you, the taxpaying citizens of Smithtown. Our political leaders need to understand the countless negative effects a freight railyard at this location would have on our community – people’s health (both physically and emotionally) as well as financially – the lost value of their homes when they ultimately decide to move away from this planned monstrosity. Their support does not take into consideration any of the other options available, including the now vacant Pilgrim State Hospital property, the large Winters Bros. facility being bult in Yapank, or a similar facility already in existence in Babylon, with both of the latter two being capable of handling all materials being proposed, including the ability to transport hazardous materials, which would include the hazardous ash from the COVANTA incinerator.


In related news, in late February the DEC published a report on the COVANTA incinerator in Hempstead. In summing that report up, they found that COVANTA was mixing “hazardous fly ash” with the less noxious bottom ash at levels that violate United States Environmental Protection Agency standards. The USDEC was specific about this hazardous material and COVANTA’s deviation from regulatory standards and has referred the matter to the state Office of General Counsel. Make no mistake, this is what could be coming to Fort Salonga and surrounding communities if this project is allowed to move forward.


To summarize, there will be freight cars that could contain hazardous materials passing by homes & schools, noise around the clock, vibrations from locomotives and freight cars, more air pollution, more truck traffic on our residential roads, continued contamination of our aquifer and waterways, and more. This proposal does nothing to solve regional waste issues, it only increases the bottom line of a private company – CarlsonCorp and its owner Toby Carlson, while harming families with children. We deserve a life free from hazardous materials in the air we breathe, the freedom to raise our families without politicians siding with private concerns over our children’s lives.


The business CarlsonCorp/Townline Rail Terminal is seeking to create a private regional freight yard, hoping to haul ash from the COVANTA plant in Huntington and unassociated construction & demolition debris and aggregates. Beyond this, Townline Rail is seeking a common carrier obligation (CCO). This is so distressing that rail companies with a CCO cannot refuse to carry hazardous materials, such as anhydrous ammonia and chlorine, which are both used in our area and in close proximity to the proposed freight yard.


If you and your friends and neighbors disagree with Mr. Wehrheim’s and others support for this railyard, we urge you to flood their offices with letters and emails, detailing exactly what this would mean to not only the community as a whole but to you personally. We need to keep the pressure on until Supervisor Wehrheim, and other proponents retract their support for the railyard and they instead stand up for the environment and taxpaying citizens of this Town. And as things move along, please check in on the website for updated information.


In closing, we have several events coming in the next few months. We will have our Annual Egg Hunt March 23 (rain date March 30) at the Fort Salonga Elementary School as well as our Annual Brunch at the Indian Hills Country Club on April 21. Put these in your calendar and come have a fun time, whether the kids or adults, we will all have a good time. Additionally, the Townline Association will be holding a BINGO night on April 19th and their 2nd Annual Golf Outing on June 3rd to raise money for attorneys, environmental engineers and other expenses in fighting the railyard. Continue to check their website as well   – A community meeting, organized by the Fort Salonga Association, Townline Association, and the Commack Community Association is being planned. More information to come.


All the very best, 

Keith Macartney -  President

YOUR Fort Salonga Association

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