Smithtown Officials Blast Findings of Lawrence Road Study

Consultant report calls for 126 acres to be rezoned to new designation industrial and outdoor storage.

Town of Smithtown officials have blasted the preliminary findings of the Lawrence Road Study as taking a "step backwards" for suggesting 126.4 acres be zoned for industrial and outdoor storage use. 

Councilman Ed Wehrheim called the  findings of the Lawrence Road Study prepared by consultants Baldassano Architecture a "step backwards" for suggesting that more than 90 acres of residential land along Old Northport Road and Lawrence Road to be rezoned for Industrial Storage (IS) for industrial and outdoor storage uses, tripling the industrial use area.

"It's not worth the paper it's printed on. To recommend residential portions of Indian Head Road should be industrial is mind boggling," Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said a Tuesday work session. "It was bollixed up." 

Town Board commissioned the $20,000 zoning study in July, to get a "fresh set of eyes" on an ongoing zoning issues in the Kings Park area for more than 30 years, according to Wehrheim.

Baldassano Architecture came back with 11-page study that believes the area would be best suited for industrial uses with outdoors storage, by the following types of businesses: 

  • Offices or medical offices;
  • Light Industrial and warehouse use;
  • Research and development;
  • Agriculture, nursery or tree farm; 
  • Commercial poultry farm;
  • Animal husbandry, care or training; 
  • Park, playground or nature preserve;
  • Fitness center, gymnasium and sports facilities; 
  • Mini-storage warehouse, portable storage on demand; 
  • Wholesale businesses or distributors; 
  • Outdoor storage of equipment, materials or vehicles; 
  • Outdoor sports, ball fields and recreation; 
  • Non-nuisance industry.

Wehrheim said that among the suggested uses, he can find a few that he believes would be appropriate for the Lawrence Road area like a professional baseball facility, not heavy commercial industry. 

Town Board, despite these reservations, have asked Smithtown's Planning Director Frank DeRubeis to review the study full and provide his own written summary, criticisms and suggestions to the town board. 

"I have some serious reservations over the content of the report. It is recommending a four-fold increase the amount of industrial zoning," DeRubeis said. 

However, he will wait until Baldassano submits the second half of the report, an economic and fiscal overview of what may be feasible in the area before passing judgment.

In the 11-pages the town received on Dec. 5, Baldassano has suggested the properties off Lawrence Road would not be suitable for residential development due to heavy excavation over the past several decades.  

DeRubeis said he will wait to pass his final judgment and analysis until the full report is received. 

ILOVEKP December 17, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Reject ILOVEKP 8:53 pm on Sunday, December 16, 2012 Sal....you are 100% right. Residents by the area in question are making the same complaints residents closer to Old Northport Road voiced over a year ago. The odors persist and our politicians turn a blind eye and point fingers to other agencies (like the D.E.C.). Our town calls the area the "Wild, Wild West of Zoning" gone wrong. They claim there hands are tied because these businesses operate under the grandfather claus. The way the grandfather clause is worded, these businesses can operate if they utilize the land the way it was used before zoning laws existed IF they do NOT creat a nuisance. The noise and odors are more then a nuisance and Vecchio should have the town attorney bring them into court. All the business owners need to do is contain the odors and resident would be happy. A resident paying high taxes should not have to live with potent, chemical smells invading their property and homes. Lets get our acts together and fix this problem once and for all!!
P. J. Miller December 18, 2012 at 01:06 AM
If you are worried about odors - we should ask them to NOT consider a commercial poultry farm! OMG That would be the absolute worst thing that we can have here. A medical building, park or storage facility - but NOT A POULTRY FARM!! That is for something upstate or out of state not in Kings Park.
Aidan December 19, 2012 at 01:58 AM
The poultry farm has been there for many years. The idea of the study is to properly zone existing businesses while attracting light industrial uses.
Reform Smithtown December 26, 2012 at 08:23 AM
It sounds like a reasonable project for this property. Having a storage facility or even a sportsplex for soccer or basketball would be much better than what is there now. The owners seem to be trying to put something there that works for all parties. What no one understands is that the Smithtown Planning Department is very powerful and they do what they want without regards to what the neighborhood wants or even what Mr. Vecchio wants. Unfortunately, Frank Derubeis, Smithtown’s planning director, calls the shots...not only is he the highest paid town employee, making even more than Mr. Vecchio, but he also decides what is allowed to be built in Smithtown and even what you as the taxpayer can do with YOUR property. The sad part of it is that no one has stepped up to stop this abuse of power. In fact, he doesnt even live in Smithtown. I think all employees of the town should live within its borders. We need new leadership in town hall...someone who won't put up with town employees like Frank Derubeis who work for us the taxpayers. In my opinion, Mr. Vecchio and Mr. Derubeis are contributing to the fiscal problems that our town is experiencing; by not allowing our tax base to grow and homeowners and businessmen to invest in Smithtown. They need to go!
lisa February 21, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Please sign our petition, Let's make our communities healthy and safe for our families to live http://www.change.org/petitions/smithtown-hall-representatives-shut-down-all-companies-that-do-not-comply-with-current-town-codes


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