Hoping to boost local businesses and affordable housing in Kings Park, Smithtown and Suffolk lawmakers are backing a $22 million plan to extend county sewer service into the hamlet's downtown commercial district.
The Smithtown Town Board on Thursday authorized town planning director Frank DeRubeis to apply for county funding for the project. The town agreed to contribute $1 million toward construction.
The plan to expand county Sewer District 6 would use a county sewage treatment plant on St. Johnland Road and existing sewer lines along state Route 25A. The town would donate land at its Kings Park water district facility for construction of a pumping station, DeRubeis said.
Lawmakers and business leaders say lack of sewage capacity is stunting commercial growth in the hamlet. The expansion would help attract new business, such as restaurants, and encourage development of apartments in downtown Kings Park, they said.
"We think that the town is desperately in need of something to spur the local economy," said Kings Park Chamber of Commerce president Anthony Tanzi, a member of the town Board of Zoning Appeals. "It will give building . . . and business owners the ability to expand existing uses, as well as pave the way for restaurants and apartments."
Partial funding for the project is expected to come from a $30 million surplus in the county sewer tax stabilization fund, said Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), a backer of the plan who is exploring other funding sources.
The Kings Park plant is expected to process an additional 80,000 to 100,000 gallons of discharge per day if the extension is built, Kennedy said. The schedule for completing the project is unclear.
Other Suffolk communities contemplating sewer expansions are expected to apply for funding from the surplus, but the Kings Park project is "the furthest along in the process," Kennedy said.
"The stars are really aligning for this project," he said. "It would absolutely be a game-changer for the business community in Kings Park."
DeRubeis said the Kings Park expansion does not include plans to extend county sewer lines to Smithtown hamlet's business district, where leaders support such a project. But it has faced opposition from Kings Park civic leaders, who fear a Smithtown extension would include an effluent discharge facility in Kings Park.