PATCHOGUE - The Brookhaven Civic Association and the Town of Brookhaven are challenging an illegal mulch operation from continuing in Middle Island.

Deputy Town Attorney David Moran, representing the Town of Brookhaven, says Green Vision Materials is operating without a permit. 

The challenge follows a December fire that spewed smoke into the nearby residential area. Moran says the fire in early December was so severe that it required more than one dozen fire departments to respond. Residents say they are concerned about the health issues that could potentially result from the fire.

Marien Marcario, owner of the operation, failed to appear in court the last time a hearing was scheduled, but was forced to show today to answer for three fire code violations.

Moran says the only means the facility has of battling a fire is a one-inch garden hose, and that there is no way the facility could handle it if the entire mulch pile went on fire. He says the town's goal is to bring the property into compliance with town code.

Marcario's attorney, Jacob Worsoe, says that they always wanted to find a happy middle-ground with the town to work something out so his client can co-exist with neighbors, while ensuring their quality of life.

If Marcario is convicted of violating town fire codes, the misdemeanor punishment could include a fine or even jail time. The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15.