Smithtown Town Council members and residents will next month discuss whether town workers should demolish a Kings Park commercial building that officials say is in dangerous disrepair.
A lawyer for KPE II, the company that owns the property at 110 Old Northport Rd. and hopes to build homes there, said last week that contractors would address any problems before the Oct. 9 public hearing.
Town building inspectors ordered demolition of a one-story office building on the site after making at least 16 visits in the past two years, according to inspection notices at the Building Department. An Aug. 21 notice cited “rot and decay” in the building, which an inspector said appeared to have been vacant for years.
The council could authorize town employees to do the work themselves after the hearing.
KPE II lawyer Ed McCabe said the company’s response had been slowed by the presence of asbestos in the building, which required hiring a specialized contractor.
Mark Underberg, one of KPE II’s owners, said he and his partners were working in good faith. “We’re doing everything that the town’s asking us to do,” he said. “We want to have a good relationship with the town.”
Assistant Town Attorney Martin Simon said in an interview that company principals “are not moving as quickly as we’d like them to.”
Underberg and his partners, identified by town officials in 2017 as George Heinlein and Michael Axelrod, plan to build up to 42 single-family homes on the 26-acre parcel, a one-time sand mine and precast concrete site. The plan would require a change of zone from light industrial to residential, and town officials have ordered an environmental study before the application could advance. That study is still underway, though McCabe said the work appeared to be nearing completion. “We’ve gone from 25 or 26 big issues to four or five rather small issues,” he said.
Attorneys for the town and KPE II traded lawsuits in 2013 after officials said the site was being used to hold solid waste and for concrete grinding and processing. The suits are ongoing, but McCabe said they would be rendered moot by a change of zone for the property.