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Smithtown official: Acquiring Nesconset property 'is an emergency'

In this view looking south, the town of

In this view looking south, the town of Smithtown is proposing the creation of a new intersection to replace the one currently located near the Nesconset Fire Department at Lake Avenue and Gibbs Pond Road. (July 15, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

Smithtown Town board members unanimously voted Thursday to work with the owner of a 3,000-square-foot property near a busy Nesconset intersection in order to obtain the land and create a safer roadway.

Officials requested, during a work session, that the town attorney’s office and planning department work with the owner to resolve any issues in the next 30 days in order to move forward with the town’s acquisition of the property — located at Lake Avenue and Gibbs Pond Road — by purchase or donation.

“We’re trying to work it out amicably between the owner and the town so we can proceed with the project this year, hopefully,” Councilman Thomas McCarthy said in an interview.

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The town wants to use the property to realign the intersection about 100 feet south of its current location, officials have said. That would create a safer road for motorists who face a blind curve there and allow the Nesconset Fire Department, whose building sits at the intersection, to more easily maneuver its trucks, officials said.

Last month, Smithtown planner Frank DeRubeis met with Jerry Chasteen, co-owner of 99 Lake Avenue LLC, a St. James construction company that owns the 3,000-square-foot property. Chasteen has said he plans to build a medical office there.

Smithtown Attorney John Zollo cautioned against hastily getting an appraisal on the property while Chasteen and his architect are still developing plans.
“I think it’s premature until they put a plan in — because we’re not really sure what piece of property we’re going to be appraising,” said Zollo, adding that placing a value on the property would be Chasteen’s responsibility if he donates the parcel after submitting plans.

But, McCarthy said, “The Nesconset Fire Department thought it was pretty urgent to get it done . . . It’s cutting down their response time, so it is an emergency.”

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