Smithtown to update coastline development laws

The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to purchase The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to purchase two properties for $240,000 that can be used for transfer of density flow rights. (Feb. 20, 2012) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

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The Town of Smithtown has received a $30,000 state grant to update laws governing coastline development.

Smithtown -- among the first towns in New York to adopt a local waterfront revitalization program to manage coastal areas and navigable waters -- needs to update regulations that were established in 1989, town planning director Frank DeRubeis said.

"That particular law has managed, statewide, to protect coastal resources," he said. "The chief benefit that the residents will see . . . is a continuation of that policy, but to eliminate some of the antiquated features."

The New York Department of State awarded the Smithtown grant earlier this month.

Existing regulations limiting house size have upset some residents who want to expand near the waterfront, officials have said. "We have a limitation on house size because we were concerned about the scenic impact that homes would have, but it's not really the size of the homes that have the scenic impact, it's the architecture and appearance," said DeRubeis, adding that updated standards may focus more on the type of materials used and other aesthetics.

Rules also extend to commercial areas along Jericho Turnpike and piers in roughly 14 square miles along the Long Island Sound and Nissequogue River.

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Revisions to the laws may address how and where to construct piers, establish a commercial corridor on Route 25 from the Smithtown Bull statue at the intersection of Route 25A east to Edgewood Avenue to make it easier for businesses to make changes, and shorten the review process.

Smithtown is the only municipality on Long Island that received the grant to update its waterfront revitalization program in the 2013 application year, according to officials with the New York Department of State, which oversees the program. The town is matching the state grant with $30,000, officials said.Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio in July said that regardless of whether the grant was available, the program must be updated "because times have changed."

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