While beautiful in all seasons, I always feel Spring really showcases the true beauty of Fort Salonga with our rolling hills, water views and expanding foliage, reinforcing my decision to live here. Our commitment at the FSA continues, as it has for the past 70 years, to preserve and protect our community and our remaining open spaces. Additionally, we seek to protect the existing character and safety of individual neighborhoods for all our residents. An important part of our mission is to foster a sense of community through our various community events. I want to thank the many residents who have supported us in these efforts through your enthusiastic response to our recent membership drive. Read More
Here is a copy of the letter sent by Fort Salonga Association Frank Capaccio to Town of Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone announcing the FSA’s vote in favor of cluster zoning for the Indian Hills Country Club:
Dear Supervisor Petrone,
The proposal to rezone the Indian Hills golf course has generated a great deal of controversy in our community. Recognizing the significance of this decision to the future of Fort Salonga our association has reviewed the application considering all the implications. We have met repeatedly with residents and the builder and also solicited input from the community at large. After careful consideration it is the considered opinion of the majority of our board of directors to support the rezoning application. This is supported by the majority of our 2,500 residents based on the emails we have received over the past several months. Read More
Although the summer months are usually slow for business, we cannot say the same for the FSA. This year the warm weather has brought Smithtown residents newly paved roads, a proposed comprehensive plan (a.k.a. “Master Plan”), a proposed change of zone for undeveloped property on Pulaski Road, and an application filed with the state for funds to preserve our beloved 27.7 acre “Owl Hill” property, located at the corner of 25A and Sunken Meadow Road.
At the Town of Smithtown’s June 15, Planning Board public hearing, the Town published a Draft Comprehensive Plan, outlining the Planning Department’s vision for the future of the Town of Smithtown. Per the Town, “A Comprehensive Plan is the sum total of the community’s ideas for the future.” For Fort Salonga’s purposes, topics of interest in the plan include), the potential for a Long Island Railroad spur or rail yard on Old Northport Road, expansion of industrial activity in the Kings Park Industrial Park off of Townline Road, and land preservation.
For some background, the Town of Smithtown has not completed or approved a Master Plan in 55 years. The last master plan did not discuss such massive economic projects as the Smith Haven mall and there was very little concern for environmental issues such as land preservation or wastewater management. For those who have not had a chance to review the proposed plan, we encourage you to visit the Town’s Comprehensive Plan website at www.smithtownny.gov/ComprehensivePlan.
Statute requires that the Town allow the community 30 days to review the plan and submit comments and recommendations for changes. The Town encouraged the community to comment by establishing an online survey that expired on July 15 (30 days after the Plan was published). In response, the FSA sent an email blast to the community requesting that they review the comprehensive plan and take the Town’s survey. Fort Salonga represented over 35 percent of the responses received by the Town. After a thorough review of the Plan, the FSA submitted a letter to the Town addressing topics that will directly affect our community. We will keep the community updated as the Town’s schedule for reviewing and implementing the Master Plan.
Proposed Change of Zone on Pulaski Rd
A portion of the undeveloped lot on Pulaski Road that sits between the Dejana Trucking facility and Townline Road was recently purchased and the owners have applied for a change of zone. The property is currently zoned as light industrial, but the owners have applied to change the zone to Wholesale Service Industry (WSI). Per the Town of Smithtown’s Table of Use Regulations at http://bit.ly/2bbq2Mo, WSI allows for out-door storage, motor vehicle sales, shipping centers, taverns and several other uses including adult entertainment. As of now the Planning Board had not scheduled a hearing.
Road Paving / Gas Update for Smithtown
After National Grid completed the installation of gas line extensions that brought natural gas to over 150 homes on Hastings, Woodfield, Glenview, and the dead ends and cross streets connected to these roads, the Town of Smithtown grinded the old roads and replaced them all with new pavement. If you have gas in the street but have been advised that gas is not available, do not fear. National Grid has advised that the main line expansion required an upgrade to their gas supply system and they anticipate the upgrade will be complete by March 2017.
Grant Application for Funds to Preserve Owl Hill
On July 28, the Town of Smithtown’s Planning Department submitted a grant application to the State of New York for $500,000 in funds to purchase and preserve the 27.7 acre privately-owned tract known as Owl Hill. If the grant is awarded by the state, the supervisor and Town Board have agreed to match up to $500,000 in preservation funds to assist in the acquisition of the property – for a total of $1 million in preservation funds. As part of the application, the Planning Department was required to submit letters of support. The FSA worked diligently to gain the support of state and local officials including members of the Assembly, Senate, Legislature and Town Board. The FSA also gained the support of not-for-profit organizations that specialize in land preservation, including the North Shore Land Alliance and The Nature Conservancy. As a result of these efforts, the Town’s grant application was submitted with multiple supporting letters and emails. The FSA’s letter of support can be found on page x of this newsletter and on our website at www.fortsalonga.org. The Town has advised that results of the application will not be released until November. We will keep the community apprised.
Despite the encouraging news above, it is important to note that the property is currently being offered for sale for $4,999,000, which is five times the amount of monies that the Town is working to secure for acquiring the property. Unless the County, federal government or private investors acquire the property for preservation purposes, there is a good chance that a portion or all of the property will be sold to a developer. With the property being zoned R-43, it could be converted to 18+ single family homes or, if a special exception is awarded by the zoning board of appeals, the property’s use can be changed to development other than single family homes.
In the past we have written articles about the Town’s Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program, which serves as a means for property owners to expand their commercial building or business in exchange for purchasing and preserving undeveloped acreage in another sector of the Town. If you know anyone who needs to purchase these TDR’s in order to expand their commercial property or business, please contact us at email@example.com and the Town’s Planning Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. ●
The FSA continues to explore the issues raised by the Northwind Group’s development proposal for the Indian Hills Country Club (IHCC) property.
In short, the Northwind Group wants to take advantage of a Town of Huntington code that allows large recreational-use properties to be converted from R40 zoning—which in Fort Salonga typically means minimum one-acre for residential use—to cluster zoning. You can review this part of the code at ecode360.com/14315622. This change generally allows construction of clusters of homes in portions of the large recreational-use property while the rest of the property is designated a preserve in perpetuity. At the time of a zoning change, a conservation easement would be established that would be very difficult for anyone to change in the future. You can learn more about the Northwind Group’s preliminary plans at its website at http://northwindgroup.com/preserve-indian-hills/.
Our Board wishes you a happy and healthy 2016. I am writing this to you after what I call the big dig. Forecasters named our recent blizzard “Jonas.” The press referred to the storm as Snowzilla. We had a nice run up until this storm. It was great to see neighbors helping each other out all over the hamlet as we cleared our driveways and walkways. Thanks, also, to the towns of Huntington and Smithtown for making our roads passable and safe.
If you are not already aware we are starting off this year with a challenging issue before us. The Indian Hills Country Club has been purchased by the Northwind Group. They are proposing a change of zoning as part of a plan to preserve the golf course. The new property owner offered our association an opportunity to view this plan. Several residents concerned about activity at the club also contacted us. And we were approached by other local civic associations in our community: the Indian Hills Association and the Claymore Association. Read More
The days are growing shorter as we round up the oceans of leaves that flow through Fort Salonga each autumn. Know that your Association is actively engaged in representing the interests of this community. Herein are a number of updates about our work.
Longbotham Property – We have been in continued contact with the neighbors near Sea Shell Lane in monitoring proposed plans for the Longbotham property. This week we presented our shared concerns to the Smithtown Board of Zoning Appeals, encouraging them to view this environmentally sensitive parcel through the prism of current Town Code and their local waterfront resource management plan. We believe that it through covenants regarding the current structures and future development all interested parties can be protected.
Annual Meeting – Please join us at this year’s Annual Meeting – Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fort Salonga Elementary School. On this evening residents will be voting on a proposed slate of officers and directors and two proposed changes to the by-laws meant enhance the work of our organization. Our guest speaker will be the Assistant Director of the Smithtown Planning Department Dave Flynn.
Holiday Sing Along – Saturday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. followed by a visit from Santa and the Kings Park Fire Department in the Country Corners Shopping Center. You know the drill: come early, enjoy crafts for kids, drink a cup of hot chocolate, and sing along with the Fort Salonga Holiday Band. It is always a great way to ignite the spirit of the season.
An appreciation – Several of our valued directors will be stepping down at the end of this year. They include director and former President Ken Kraska, who has keep this organization on solid footing, coordinating our scholarships, egg hunt, and maintenance of the membership database; Kevin Claus who has coordinated the Spring Brunch and led our activities committee; and Paul Zacher, our friendly representative in the northern part of the hamlet who represented his neighbors in challenging the proposed expansion of the Country Club in the early 2000s and who currently represents the FSA at the Crab Meadow Watershed Task Force meetings. Each of these industrious individuals contributed time, talent, and insight to the FSA. Their partnership will be missed.
Lastly, let’s hear from you! We have been awarding scholarships since the early ’90s we would love to hear what our former winners are doing in their careers or coursework. Please drop me a line. We are also well aware of the number of beach associations that contribute to the management of our community. Recently, we have worked closely with the Makammah Beach and Salonga Seas groups. We are creating a list of all associations. Kindly, send an email to email@example.com so that we can register your organization’s contact information and enhance our partnership.
Callahan’s Beach Cell Tower The Town of Smithtown’s plan to install a cell tower in the parking lot at Callahan’s Beach is currently on hold pending interest from a vendor. We will continue to monitor the proposal.