While there were two public hearings on the agenda for the Town of Smithtown's board meeting Thursday night, locals packed out the Eugene A. Cannataro Smithtown Senior Citizen Center to speak in opposition of just one – the special exemption to build the Whisper Landing Assisted Living Facility.
The proposed facility would be a three-story, 99,900 square foot building built on the northeast corner of River Heights Drive and Route 25A in Smithtown.
Prior to the hearing, the town's Director of Planning Frank DeRubeis listed the types of zones in the town and stated that this assisted living facility is "permitted within most residential and most commercial districts within the town."
Richard Schayer, legal council for the assisted living facility applicant, stated that the facility meets "all of the requirements of the special exception except height and that "the height ultimately will have to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals."
While Schayer stated this facility would meet almost all town requirements, locals said it would be a burden to the community.
"Traffic on [Route] 25 is already at capacity," said Smithtown resident William Kerney. "You already have a reduced lane on [Route] 25, which anybody that drives the area knows, you go to work you're in one lane, going through the town you're in one lane. It's already overburdened, why should we add more?"
Kerney also cited existing difficulties for emergency vehicles to travel the area as a reason to not build the facility and stated that the facility will make the community appear to have "a New York City skyline."
Smithtown resident Rob Trites, who also spoke in opposition, stated the town should look at this facility as it would someone who wanted to make changes to their personal property.
"If you're going to treat this as a residence treat it as if I was going to cut down 10 trees and you were going to come to my property and tell me 'you can't cut down more than 10 trees,'" he said. "These retaining walls are built 40 feet from my property where my children play. This is where I live, this is where I raise my children."
Local Diane Carol also cited concerns with raising her son in this area, and pleaded with the board to not open Lower Road.
"I have a disabled child, he is hearing impaired ... if that opens up my child's life is in danger," she said. "He cannot hear cars and not that he's playing out in the street but I need to know that when I bought the house for my son's safety it will continue."