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New fence, plantings help block Smithtown residents' views of tree service company

Smithtown officials have completed a project to improve screening between residents' homes and a tree service company's property that neighbors have long complained about.

The town installed an 8-foot fence with privacy slats and tree plantings around an existing town recharge basin between the homes and Reliable Tree Service, which is at 927 Jericho Tpke. The project cost $18,340 and was completed Thursday.

Homes north of Reliable Tree -- owned by Prisco Realty LLC -- overlook the commercial property due to a more than 20-foot elevation between homes and the company site, said town environmental protection director Russell Barnett.

"Residents along both Jennifer Road and Amsterdam Road presently have a fairly clear view both through and over the existing recharge basin fence into the Prisco Realty site, and of adjacent portions of NYS Route 25," Barnett wrote in an April memo.

Councilman Thomas McCarthy said the project aimed to improve the area.

"Our property should be maintained as we're requesting neighbors to maintain their own," he said, adding that the project offered "less visual pollution."

Neighbor Ann-Marie Most, 43, of Smithtown, said the update was an improvement, but a more opaque fence and larger trees would have been ideal. "Our whole point is that we just don't want to see it," she said.

In May 2014, Smithtown Town Board members awarded a nearly $500,000, one-year contract for tree services to Reliable Tree and approved the company's site plan, following years of legal proceedings. Neighbors had complained that the company operated more than a decade without a site plan and that wood chips stored in open containers there emitted odors. Prisco Realty owner Frank Prisco said the company stopped grinding mulch on site in 2003.

He was not opposed to the improved separation.

"I think it's great that the town council took action and screened the residential property from the commercial property," Prisco said. "Happy neighbors make good neighbors."


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