Candidate urges industrial park expansion
Smithtown councilman and candidate for supervisor Robert Creighton presented a plan Tuesday for taller buildings and parking garages in the Hauppauge Industrial Park, to attract new businesses and reduce taxes.
"Commercial improvement is what will lead to lower taxes to the residents of Smithtown," said Creighton, speaking at a news conference outside an industrial park business. "You have to strengthen a commercial base."
He proposed expanding buildings to up to 62 feet high, with parking.
Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, who is seeking re-election, said Creighton's proposal "is not new news," adding that he is "not opposed to tall buildings."
Vecchio announced in January 2012 at a meeting of the Hauppauge Industrial Association that height restrictions at the park would be lifted this year. They have not changed.
Creighton developed the plan with Councilmen Edward Wehrheim and Kevin Malloy, to amend Smithtown's zoning code which restricts buildings to 35 feet.
The amendment would allow buildings within the park to go up to 50 feet high and buildings along Motor Parkway -- the park's perimeter -- up to 62 feet.
The amendment would also include parking facilities and a buffer zone on the northern end of the property near Northern State Parkway "to protect the residences in that area," Creighton said.
The industrial park employs about 55,000 people and generates about $19.3 million in annual tax revenue for the town, Creighton said.
Steve Louro, CEO of Professional Group Plans, said several buildings are vacant and businesses there "are struggling . . . The current administration under Pat Vecchio's leadership lacks the vision necessary to turn this park around," Louro said. "We need change now."
At an April town work session, Vecchio said he favored raising the height to 50 feet before seeking to further loosen height restrictions, due to concerns over straining the facility's parking, traffic and sewage systems.
"We're not even sure we can do this," said Vecchio in an interview Tuesday, adding that amendments would depend on the capacity of a nearby sewage treatment plant, which is slated for an upgrade.
Smithtown Environmental Protection director Russell Barnett wrote in a July 23 memo to the town board that the county department of public works will not know for 12 to 14 months how much sewage treatment plant capacity will be available for expansion.
Councilman Tom McCarthy criticized Creighton's plans, accusing him of "promising the world to people for political reasons."