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Commack developer offers land in exchange for mall expansion

This is a part of the PJ Venture-owned

This is a part of the PJ Venture-owned shopping center in large shopping area off Crooked Hill Road near the Long Island Expressway in Commack Road. The photo is from Dec. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

A Commack developer proposes to donate vacant land in the hamlet to Smithtown in exchange for the right to expand Cosentino Commerce Center, reprising a similar deal for development rights at the site in 2015.

This time there’s a twist: A company owned by the Cosentino real estate family is asking the Town Board to take up the deal on its own motion, a maneuver that would cut the town out of about $20,000 in fees and speed the application process.

The Town Board is scheduled to consider the deal at its Nov. 1 meeting, although Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in an interview earlier this month that he was “disinclined to waive the fees.”

The swap would permit 24,361 square feet of new development at the shopping center, along with more than 1,000 extra gallons of wastewater per day. In exchange, the town would get a little under an acre of property at the southwest corner of Veterans Memorial Highway and Harned Road, near 1.3 acres it already owns. That land would be kept as green space and could be turned into a passive park, said David Flynn, the town planning director.

John Baker, director of projects for the Cosentino-owned company PJ Venture, declined to comment on any expansion plans at the Commerce Center, which occupies 53 acres off the Long Island Expressway and Crooked Hill Road in Commack. Current tenants include Costco and Target.

Town zoning limits the amount of wastewater that can be generated at the shopping center, which sits in a special groundwater protection zone, but officials have permitted exceptions when the developer has offset the increase by preserving property elsewhere.

Under the 2015 deal, the Cosentinos agreed to preserve a 0.34-acre site on Arthur Street near Crooked Hill Road and a 1.1-acre site at Sunken Meadow Parkway and Veterans Memorial Highway in Commack. In exchange, they got the right to build 17,555 square feet of floor space at the Commerce Center and generate about 962 extra gallons of wastewater per day.

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