Town officials say they have turned down a proposal to store thousands of storm damaged cars on property owned by Anthony Santilli on Old Northport Road.
The proposal was discussed at a town work session on Tuesday. Leonard Shore, the attorney representing Santilli said an insurance company, Auto Auctions, would pay the town $100,000 to store the damaged cars on the Santilli property. It was not clear how much Santilli would have received in the agreement.
Space and willing parties to hold these cars is becoming more problematic. On Friday, Southampton Town attorneys went to Supreme Court after commencing litigation against a car auction firm currently in hot water with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation over cars ordered to be removed from environmentally sensitive property at Enterprise Park at Calverton.
The Department of Environmental Conservation fined Santilli in the past for illegal mining. Santilli Commercial Developers were fined $275,000 in 2008 for over excavating property and in 2010 paid a $200,000 fine for illegal dumping of solid waste.
Exceptions to the zoning code would have had to been made in order to allow the temporary storage.
Supervisor Patrick Vecchio expressed skepticism at the deal.
“I’m not sure any aggravation is worth the $100,000.”
Smithtown town planner Frank DeRuebis said environmentally it was risky.
“These cars are damaged. Fluids may be leaking, it could contaminate the soil,” he said.
Councilman Ed Wehrheim said in a phone conversation after the meeting that the idea was “fraught with problems” and ultimately he said the town, agreeing unanimously, contacted the insurance company and turned it down
“We opted not to accept the offer. It was fraught with way too many problems,” he said.