Smithtown Proposed Comprehensive Plan
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and the Town’s Planning Department at email@example.com. ●