Insignia Prime Steak and Sushi, located in Smithtown, has a...

Insignia Prime Steak and Sushi, located in Smithtown, has a large wraparound bar, a sushi bar, a lounge area and overhead wine cellars. (Dec. 29, 2011) Credit: Randee Daddona

Neighbors say thumping dance music from a Smithtown restaurant and headlights from its parking lot are disrupting their lifestyles and keeping their children awake at night.

Speaking Tuesday night at a Smithtown town Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, a half-dozen residents said they can hear music from the bar at Insignia Prime Steak and Sushi on Smithtown Bypass after midnight.

"The sound has been loud into the late hours, sometime around 1 or 1:30 [a.m.]," said Matt Setteducati, who lives on Brilner Drive, more than 30 yards away, who said his children "have difficulty sleeping at night" because of the noise.

"The hours of the bar are much later than serving dinner, and that is out of character with my neighborhood," he said.

Insignia's owner, Anthony Scotto, and his attorney said they conducted a study that showed the restaurant does not generate excessive noise. If neighbors hear music late at night, Scotto said, "It can't be from Insignia," which closes no later than 11 p.m.

"I'm sure there are times when there are some noises," Scotto said, addressing the zoning board. But, he added, "I did not build a nightclub. This is not a nightclub."

Complaints from neighbors prompted town officials to issue a summons on Dec. 14 to Insignia's parent company, Boulder Smithtown Properties, charging the firm with parking cars in a 100-foot buffer zone between the restaurant and nearby homes. The case is due in 4th District Court in Hauppauge on March 27. The company faces unspecified fines if the charges are upheld.

In the meantime, Scotto is seeking town board approval to reduce the buffer to 58 feet, so he can add 51 parking spaces to the current 100. The town board has scheduled a March 22 public hearing on that request.

Scotto is asking the Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance allowing him to build the additional parking spaces on a portion of the property that is restricted because it is less than 10 feet above groundwater.

It is unclear when the boards will vote on either request.

Scotto's attorney, Don King of Kings Park, acknowledged that Insignia has "a definite parking problem" and said he and Scotto "will do everything we can to mitigate the problems."

Scotto said he would erect a barrier behind the restaurant so neighbors are not bothered by noise. "I will do whatever I have to do," he said. "You want me to put up a wall, I'll put up a wall."

Residents also expressed concern that the restaurant's landscaping would cause drainage problems in their neighborhood. King said the restaurant's lawn would be pitched to drain rainwater away from homes.

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