Commack and Kings Park residents say Smithtown officials are taking a step in the wrong direction if they allow residential property along Lawrence Road to be rezoned to wholesale industry.
Anthony Leteri, a Kings Park resident, went before Smithtown Town Board on Jan. 24 seeking to have 4.6 acres of property bordering Lawrence Road to be rezoned from half-acre residential lots to wholesale industry. Leteri has a contract to purchase the land from its current owner if the zone change is approved, and intents to use it for small business storage.
Fred Eisenbud, a Commack-based attorney for Leteri, said due to years of sand mining and excavation of the property, it would be best suited for small business use.
"It's acknowledged it will never be used for a residential purpose surrounded by light industry. No one would have to want to live there or deal with the structural aspects of filling the property," Eisenbud said.
He also said it would provide a second business area in the Town of Smithtown to be used for outdoor storage - which currently only exists along Middle Country Road in Smithtown.
"A small guy in business is not going to pay the price to be on Middle Country Road. We need to keep these guys in the community. They will be paying taxes, bringing in jobs and supporting the downtown areas," said Bob Desmond, president of AIRECO real estate in Hauppauge.
However, residents with complaints against the so-called Kings Park industrial area lobbied against this change.
"I believe this zoning change will negatively impact our community by creating more traffic, more noise, increase the health risk to our families, poor curb appeal and possibly other unintended negative effects," said Anthony Inzerillo of Kings Park.
Commack resident Cheryl Kriegel said on Thursday morning, she was woken up at 5:40 a.m. from the noise of trucks and other crushing activities in the area. She said in the summer she can't have guests come over and sit outdoors due to the stench and noise.
"It's already been misguided," said Fred Cannata of Kings Park. "Going further away from residential will give an opportunity to misuse it further unless something is put in place to enforce this."
Many residents asked town officials about the $20,000 Lawrence Road Study, conducted by consultants Baldassano Architecture, designed study the so-called Kings Park industrial area and find a zoning that would be best suited. The study recommended the entire area be rezoned for industrial storage with outdoor uses and is still being reviewed by officials.
"I think any zone change should be done as a whole and consider the surrounding areas. The surrounding are residential property and also Smithtown High School with several other schools," said Victoria Brown of Kings Park.
Eisenbud said waiting for the Lawrence Road Study could take years, as an environmental impact study has been suggested by the town. He doesn't feel Leteri, who has been waiting since 2011, should have wait longer.
"I want to improve the area," said Leteri, as he extended the offer to meet with residents one-on-one to discuss their concerns.
He could not offer details of a specific project for the 4.26 acres yet, saying he has been waiting on the zone change before seeking tenants.
If the change of zoning is approved, Leteri said he would be willing to place a restrictive covenant on the property to prevent adult entertainment; a tavern, bar or inn; printing plant of more than 4,000 square feet; coin-operated machines - such as a laundromat or amusement park that would normally be permitted under WSI zoning to prevent potential nuisances to the local community.