The Smithtown Town Planning Board recommended the Town of Smithown approve the change of zone to allow developers to build garden apartments in an area that was zoned for town homes at Wednesday evening's town board meeting.
Vincent Pizzulli, an attorney representing Indian Head Family LLC requested the change at an April 20 hearing. The planned development, on Indian Head Road, just south of Superior Ice Rink will have 36 one and two-bedroom garden apartment units. Pizzulli was scheduled to speak at the April Kings Park Civic Association meeting but canceled at the last minute.
According to the town, the site has been the subject of a previous zone change to permit multi-family housing in the form of townhouse condominiums. Officials say that proposal would have required several variances but the current proposal would require a variance only for development on environmentally sensitive lands because of the steep slopes at some portions of the site.
According to the proposal, the idea is that smaller rental and co-operative complexes would provide more affordable housing options and fewer residents would decrease the demand for parking, however a concern was raised that ownership of the units, which would be the case with townhomes may contribute to a stronger sense of community.
According to the planning board the advantage of this type of development would be smaller units with lower rents and operating costs. They also noted that approval of the proposal could mean additional traffic circulation concerns at the site.
The planning board recommended the approval of the petition based on a few conditions including that a driveway giving access onto Indian Head Road is graded to provide safe access and would help to avoid congestion. They also recommended that the final site plan include a bus shelter or a bus turnout.
The matter will be put up for a future town board public hearing. The town must still approve the zoning change.