Lee E. Koppelman, a planning visionary who throughout 4 many years fought to impose a regional agenda for financial growth and environmental conservation throughout Lengthy Island, died on March 21 in Stony Brook, N.Y. He was 94.
His loss of life, at Stony Brook College Hospital, was confirmed by his daughter Lesli Ross.
As the manager director of the Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Board from 1965 to 2006, Mr. Koppelman was instrumental in preserving tens of 1000’s of acres of farmland and open house in Suffolk County, defending coastal wetlands and the underground water provide, creating Suffolk County’s park system and preserving the huge Pine Barrens forest.
“All these issues had been nicely forward of up to date considering on the time; now they’re taken without any consideration,” John V.N. Klein, a former Suffolk County government, informed The New York Occasions in 1999.
As an appointee beholden to elected county executives, Mr. Koppelman wielded little direct energy. However as a nonpartisan, if prickly, knowledgeable planner, he gained the respect of politicians, preservationists and builders.
Over the course of his lengthy profession, he persuaded legislators to undertake an preliminary 2 p.c gross sales tax, which started grossing about $100 million yearly in 1970; warned that highway runoff was a main pollutant of aquifers and estuaries; and efficiently lobbied to increase the Lengthy Island Expressway and Dawn Freeway east towards the Hamptons.
When Mr. Koppelman resigned as government director in 2006, Mitchell H. Pally, vice chairman of the Lengthy Island Affiliation, a enterprise and civic group, stated, “There’s been no yet one more vital to Lengthy Island within the final 40 years.”
The writer Robert A. Caro recalled encountering Mr. Koppelman first when he was a reporter for the Lengthy Island newspaper Newsday after which when he was researching his magisterial biography of Robert Moses, “The Energy Dealer” (1974).
Moses was a grasp builder who left a legacy of parks, expressways, public seashores and bridges. Mr. Koppelman was additionally a person of huge concepts, however extra of a grasp planner.
“I met only a few planners with such an excellent and farseeing ‘imaginative and prescient of grand scale and scope,’” Mr. Caro wrote in an e mail. “Amongst his many achievements, he was the main drive within the institution by Suffolk County of a program to protect farmland — and Lengthy Island’s vanishing open areas — by having the county buy growth rights.”
Whereas Mr. Koppelman survived partisan political upheavals on Lengthy Island, he was generally extra profitable at producing sturdy debate over his plans than at implementing them.
His ideas for a commuter rail line alongside the Lengthy Island Expressway, an funding in 100,000 inexpensive properties and residences, and a bridge or expanded ferry service throughout Lengthy Island Sound by no means obtained far past the drafting board.
He drafted 4 grasp plans for Lengthy Island, together with one in 1970 that stuffed 60 volumes.
“There are two kinds of planners,” Frank DeRubeis, Smithtown’s planning chief, was quoted as saying in Long Island History Journal in 2009. One sort, he stated, “does the plan after which leaves it as much as the elected officers to both implement the plan or not”; the opposite “is a planner who completes the research after which makes use of every part of their energy to get the plan applied.” Mr. Koppelman, he stated, “was the latter of the 2.”
Lee Edward Koppelman was born on Could 19, 1927, in Manhattan and grew up in Astoria, Queens. His dad and mom, Max and Madelyn (Eisenberg) Koppelman, owned a greenhouse in Queens and a flower store on Madison Avenue.
After graduating from Bryant Excessive Faculty in Astoria, Mr. Koppelman joined the Navy in 1945, then earned a bachelor’s diploma in electrical engineering from Metropolis School in 1950 and a grasp’s from Pratt Institute in 1964. He obtained a doctorate in public administration from New York College in 1970.
Along with his daughter Lesli, he’s survived by his spouse, Connie; three different kids, Claudia and Keith Koppelman and Laurel Heard; and three grandchildren.
In 1952 Mr. Koppelman, who owned a panorama structure enterprise, moved to Hauppauge, on Lengthy Island, the place he grew to become lively in civic affairs. In 1960, the Suffolk County government, H. Lee Dennison, named him the county’s first planning director. He held that put up till 1988.
Together with serving as government director of the Regional Planning Board, he grew to become the director of the State College of New York at Stony Brook’s Middle for Regional Coverage Research in 1988.
He was the writer, with Joseph De Chiara, of “Web site Planning Requirements” (1978) and “City Planning and Design Standards” (1982).