Hearing on Kings Park sports complex draws dozens of supporters, critics

J. Timothy Shea Jr., an attorney for Prospect Sports LLC, shares parking details for the proposed sports complex and rehabilitation center in Kings Park during a Smithtown Town board meeting on April 24, 2014.

J. Timothy Shea Jr., an attorney for Prospect Sports LLC, shares parking details for the proposed sports complex and rehabilitation center in Kings Park during a Smithtown Town board meeting on April 24, 2014.

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A public hearing on a proposed $33 million multisport complex, rehabilitation and training center in Kings Park brought out dozens of neighbors -- some supporting the project and others voicing concerns about traffic, safety and quality-of-life issues.

Prospect Sports LLC submitted a special-exception request to the Smithtown Town Board for commercial public recreation use on about 44 vacant acres that were once the site of a sand mine on Old Northport Road.

The application calls for five outdoor multipurpose fields with a concession building, a 3,600-square-foot pool, a 65,040-square-foot building with indoor sports fields and a training center, two medical offices for sports medicine and rehabilitation, as well as space for retail and restaurant use. It also requests more than 1,100 parking spaces.

Ken Henderson, co-owner of Prospect Sports in Farmingdale, said in January that he and investors had entered into a 99-year lease on the site and planned to use about 29 acres to build the facility. The remaining acres are not usable because of the area's steep slopes, he said at the time.

Prospect's attorney, J. Timothy Shea Jr. of Hauppauge-based Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman LLP, said the commercial recreation model is becoming popular. "Schools don't have the room for all of these people, nor the money in order to afford it. Parents, kids are looking for outlets beyond the school forum in order to get better at their sports and to engage in activities such as these sports," Shea said at last Thursday's hearing.

Some residents at the hearing who live north and east of the site expressed concerns about increased noise from visitors to the fields, expected to operate from about dusk until 11 p.m., and exposure to 60-foot-tall field lights.

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Sharon Lasher, 52, said she was concerned about security. "We're all about stuff for kids, as long as it doesn't negatively impact property values and safety issues," she said.

Shea said the site will include 24-hour security and that neighbors will not be negatively affected by lighting or noise due to targeted LED lights, lighting shades and large planted buffers.

Sean Lehmann, president of the Kings Park Civic Association, supports the project, which he said will be "a much more benign reuse of the site than the surrounding heavy industrial type uses in the area" and that it will create jobs, increase the tax base and offer "much needed playing fields."

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