Smithtown board divided over proposed parking lot

Smithtown Town Board members are split on whether to build a municipal parking lot, which has the support of more than 600 residents, in downtown Kings Park.

The proposed lot would create about 20 to 22 parking spaces on Pulaski Road on vacant land behind Park Bake Shop. Councilman Robert Creighton said the residents who signed the petition requested a municipal lot there.

Board members plan to discuss the issue Tuesday at a work session at 10 a.m. at Town Hall.

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio expressed support in November, but changed his position last month when Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski said property owners want $279,000 for the land.

Monday, Vecchio said residential taxes should not be used to "benefit private owners."

"I don't think that the people living in St. James or Hauppauge or Smithtown want to be paying for that," he said. "The law allows a central business district to create a Business Improvement District . . . it allows the people within that business district to tax themselves [for] improvements that they desire. If they want the parking lot, that's what they should do."

But Creighton noted there is a lack of municipal parking downtown and said he hoped to reach a consensus about whether to get an appraisal for the lot.

"I really do not believe that you build a municipal parking lot for the businesses," he said. "You build a municipal parking lot for the benefit of the citizens who use those businesses."

Councilman Edward Wehrheim said businesses and residents would gain from having the lot developed. "The whole business district would benefit from additional municipal parking," he said.

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