Town Board: No Impact If Restrictions on Insignia Steakhouse Are Dropped

Smithtown elected officials make statement that dropping the previous agreement between business and neighboring land owners would not negatively impact the environment.


Smithtown Town officials have taken one more step closer to a potential resolution in the conflict between Insignia Steakhouse owners and local residents. 

Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously at their Aug. 14 meeting that dropping the restrictive covenants placed on the Insignia Steakhouse's property,  a 100-foot required buffer be maintained between its nearest residential neighbors, would have no negative impact on the environment. 

This negative SEQRA declaration allows the town council and Smithtown's Board of Zoning Appeals to further consider the new parking lot plans that are on the table. 

Local residents first voiced issues with Insignia Steakhouse in March, claiming The restaurant’s expansion has generated noise and flooding concerns within her community.

I am throwing myself at your mercy. Help us preserve our quality of life. We want to be good neighbors, but we don’t want the cars parking underneath our windows," said Laraine Rossi of Smithtown at the Mar. 6 town board meeting. 

Frank DeRubeis, Smithtown's Planning Director, confirmed the gravel parking lot was not on Insignia's original building plans and was constructed without necessary permits.

The impromptu gravel parking lot broke a restrictive covenant placed on the land by Smithtown town officials when granting Insignia's owners permission to construct the restaurant. The town had stipulated that owners, the Scotto Brothers, leave a 100-foot gap, 50 feet of buffer and 50 feet of easement, between the restaurant and neighboring residential properties when approving the building plans.

The gravel parking lot is closer than 100-feet to the residential homes. 

The town board's ruling on Aug. 14 states that removing the 100-foot buffer restriction would not cause any negative environmental impact on the immediate properties. 

This clears the way for Town of Smithtown engineers have drawn up a parking lot design that would increase Insignia's parking from 122 to 237 spaces, while reducing the distance to residential homes from 100 to 58-feet. 

Insignia's owners have submittedthat include a 80-foot buffer with a earthen berm that varies from roughly 50-feet wide and narrows towards Mount Pleasant Road. Their proposed expansion would add 79 parking stall along the back of the restaurant's property, double stacked, in what is commonly referred to as valet-style parking. 

The restaurant owners have removed the proposed stockade fence that was included in its first set of plans. However, the owners also noted their intention to expand its septic area by 50 percent.

These revised parking plans are still awaiting approval from Smithtown's Board of Zoning Appeals and Smithtown Town Board. Then the site plans would need to be formally approved by the Building Department. 

RC August 21, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Glad I don t live there ... Residents , did you really think you would win this ?
HeyJoe August 21, 2012 at 12:44 AM
and this is yet another example of a corrupt smithtown government in action. DeRubeis and the town board need to go. stop voting the same people into office over and over again.
RC August 21, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Hey Joe is right !!
FED UP 1 ! August 21, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Why aren't they all in jail? Because everybody gets their share of the "corruption pie" When are we going to revolt?........Maybe when all our taxes double and we lose our houses!
Nesconset Dude August 21, 2012 at 02:42 PM
This just goes to show that YOU CANNOT TRUST SMITHTOWN ELECTED OFFICIALS! They pulled the ol' bait and switch again, and once more at the expense of local residents. When will everyone wise up, go to the voting booths, and vote for a fresh candidate than the same rotten, crooked coots that are running this town into the ground? Get real and get campaigning for the opposition. Sad thing is, who is the opposition this election season? That front has been dead quiet.
mrfixit August 21, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Scotto brothers played it perfectly. Agree to restrictive term to get the permit, then do what you want anyway. Apply to modify it to incapable town board and Presto! Now, if a homeowner dares build a deck without a permit.......
Nesconset Dude August 21, 2012 at 04:57 PM
You nailed it. I think everyone in Smithtown should add that wrap-around granny porch they always dreamed of but the town would not let them. Everyone just start building. Put a second floor on all of your ranches, too. No permits, nothing. Incapable AND ineffectual with no regard for the taxpayers.
todd August 21, 2012 at 05:02 PM
insigna is over priced i cant see it lasting long most of the customers dont live in smithtown
Nesconset Dude August 21, 2012 at 05:06 PM
It appears rather busy to me. That, along with the fact that they appear to need more parking kinda says the opposite of a business that's not going to last. I'll take Blackstone or Vintage any day over Insignia, haven't heard many nice things about the food, the service, etc. I'm sure I'll get around to trying it anyway at some point.
To tell you the truth... August 21, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Should be called Insignia SNAKEhouse. I will make sure not to go to there, since they have no consideration for their neighbors. Surely homeowners affected by this can be creative and let the patrons know how they feel. I don't think it's illegal to demonstrate near the premises. A baseball "accidently" thrown over the fence would be a shame : (
Nesconset Dude August 21, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Well, truth be told, you can't blame Insignia since they are a business just trying to make money. Blame the local politicians since they are the ones who are supposed to enforce the rules designed to protect the town's residents. It's their job and they do it poorly. How many free dinners or bottles of wine do you think some of the board members received?
To tell you the truth... August 21, 2012 at 07:58 PM
The only one to blame is Insignia. Insignia submitted the request. They have forgotten common sense and good neighbor code all in the name of the almighty dollar. If they had a conscience they wouldn't ask for revisions. I don't know how the Scotto family sleeps at night, when people are begging for mercy. They are bullies.
Nesconset Dude August 21, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Sorry, but I disagree. Like I said in my prior post, they are just trying to do business and make money, they are allowed to submit the request for a change. It's the town that has to make the decision whether or not to approve the change. Funny thing is, and a big reason why town officials are failures, is that gravel was put down in this restricted area and the Scottos acted like a contractor just did it on his own. The town should have stomped all over them for this, but they didn't. Instead, they're caving to the money and that's it, where instead they should have made an example of this blatant disregard for town rules. Sure, there may not be an environmental impact from this parking lot (I guess the additional asphault won't create more run-off. Is this magic asphault?), but the quality of life for the current residents next to this soon to be approved unauthorized parking lot will suffer. Remember, this is the same town board that had 84 Lumber right across the street from town hall demoed right under their noses without any permit even though htere was a risk of contamination. Oh, wait, some in our town government allowed this to happen. I almost forgot.......
To tell you the truth... August 21, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I understand "they are just trying to do business and make money", I get that. What I am saying is shame on them for pushing the matter when they are so close to a residential area. They should have thought ahead if they felt they would need to spread their greedy wings. This selfish attitude is why this country is morally and financially ruined. Everyone looks the other way when important decisions are being made. It's either "right" or "wrong", and intruding on an established residential area is "wrong".
Nesconset Dude August 21, 2012 at 09:05 PM
You don't get it.
To tell you the truth... August 21, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I get all of it....I understand your beef is with the town....no surprise there. The town's ineptness is nothing new. That's why I am focusing on the Scotto's... the one's with the "blatant disregard for town rules"...the one's you said should have been "stomped on". The one's who started the ball rolling....So I guess we can agree they both have issues.
Kms August 22, 2012 at 03:53 PM
This difference between Insignia breaking the rules and a resident breaking the rules is Insignia gets to keep their "oversight" but a resident would be forced to remove theirs.
William1979STJ August 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded. " Yogi Berra


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