New plan for vacant Smithtown lumber store

Revised plans are in the works for a Revised plans are in the works for a vacant lumber store in Smithtown's downtown, including shops, offices and dozens of apartments, officials said on Feb. 8, 2011. Photo Credit: Jason Andrew

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Revised plans are in the works for a vacant lumber yard in the heart of Smithtown's downtown business district, including shops, offices and dozens of apartments, town officials and the developer's attorney said Tuesday.

The 3-acre property on West Main Street -- long considered an eyesore by town officials and residents -- was the site of a 2009 illegal building demolition that led to a grand jury investigation last year.

Property owner Salvatore DiCarlo of East Hampton plans to soon submit proposals for two three-story buildings at the site, said his attorney, Vincent Trimarco of Smithtown. Previous designs had proposed a single, U-shaped building.

The new plans are "basically in the same vein as the other proposals, which are apartments, some retail and office [space]," Trimarco said. "They're just reconfigured a little bit."

Town planning director Frank DeRubeis said the plan includes about 60 apartments. A parking lot between the two buildings would be connected with existing lots, creating an alternate driving route between Maple and New York avenues parallel to Main Street. "It's a good design," he said.

The property -- across the street from Smithtown Town Hall -- has vexed town officials since the closing of a lumber yard there at least three years ago. DiCarlo paid $3,500 in town fines for illegally demolishing six buildings in 2009.

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Smithtown officials have said that demolition led to a grand jury investigation into whether the town induced DiCarlo to raze the structures for $4,000 in tax savings. The panel, in a report released in February, found no wrongdoing by town officials.

Remaining buildings at the site are "deteriorating," town building director John Bongino said. They are inspected every three weeks, and officials last week found a four-foot section of barrier fencing had fallen, and plywood blocking access to a building had been removed. Bongino said failure to repair the damage could lead to fines.

While Bongino said the plywood has been replaced, Trimarco said the damaged fencing would be repaired.

Though most town officials support development at the site, DiCarlo faces several zoning hurdles before the project can be approved. The town board must approve apartments on a part of the property where residences are not permitted, and the town Board of Zoning Appeals must waive building height restrictions, DeRubeis said.

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