Soccer fields instead of sand mines may be in the future for a parcel of land in the industrial area of Kings Park.
Anthony Santilli and his attorney, Leonard Shore laid out plans at Thursday evening’s civic meeting, for what they would like to see become of the 44.5 acre parcel of land, located between Indian Head Road and Old Northport Road and known to many residents as the Santilli sand mines. The plans include 4 soccer fields, 2 dedicated ball fields and a 16,000 square foot sports facility, which would contain 10 batting cages. The plan left some civic members skeptical.
For starters, Santilli Commercial Developers, the owners of the property were fined $275,000 in 2008 for over excavating the property and in 2010 paid a $200,000 fine for illegal dumping of solid waste. Shore says Santilli wants to be a good neighbor, but Read Smith, zoning committee chairperson for the KPCA called the plan “misconceived and dangerous.”
Reed ticked off a list of concerns he found after reviewing the plans.
“There are no bathroom facilities,” said Smith. “The plans call for 2 huge basins, but the plans show no drainage pipes.”
Use of fertilizers and insecticides to maintain the fields were also brought up. Reed said the property sits over an aquifer. Smith has asked the civic association not to support the plans.
Mike Rosato, vice president of the KPCA said that the civic association has a favorable opinion for the proposed outdoor soccer facility.
“There is a shortage of athletic fields throughout the town, so this facility would certainly be welcome news to the sports community. Any indoor uses included with this proposed project would help add to the tax base, which would be a win-win situation for the local residents,” he said. “However, a formal endorsement of the project cannot be made until we are able to review the final plans,” said Rosato.
Sean Lehmann, civic president said that he would like Santilli and the town to ensure that the plans, if approved, are brought to completion.
“I would like to see the town keep a close eye on this project. There are environmental concerns,” said Lehmann. “The whole area has had a track record of illegal dumping. We want the town to stay on top of this,” he said.
Developers have submitted an overall general site plan but Shore says a more detailed plan would be needed before approval. A public hearing for the plans is set for Feb. 23. Santilli is seeking a special use permit for the property, which is zoned light industrial. Santilli estimates it will be at least a year before development on the property will begin.
Some residents at the meeting said the town had a shortage of playing fields and that a project of this type was sorely needed.
“There is definitely a need for these types of fields,” said a representative of the Kings Park Youth Association.