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Smithtown studying impact of residential proposal in Kings Park

Town of Smithtown officials are assessing the consequences of a proposal to build up to 42 single-family homes on a former sand-mining and industrial site in Kings Park.

The release last week of a draft environmental impact statement coincided with the opening of a public comment period for the project through Feb. 17.

The prospective developer of the 26-acre site at Old Northport and Lawrence roads is Westbury-based KPE II, a limited-liability company owned by George Heinlein, Mark Underberg and Michael Axelrod, town officials 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. Those lawsuits have not been resolved, officials said. The Town Board in 2014 determined that former activities at the site, among other factors, merited the review of an environmental-impact statement.

Most of the land on the site is zoned for light industry. KPE II is requesting that it be rezoned for residential use.

Edward G. McCabe, of the Uniondale firm Sahn Ward Coschignano, who is representing KPE II in its suit against the town, could not be reached. Vincent J. Trimarco Sr., a lawyer who represented KPE II when the town announced it would require an environmental review, did not respond to a request for comment.

The company envisions four-bedroom homes selling for $550,000 to $600,000, clearing about 12 acres but landscaping or replanting 10, including areas that are now bare soil, according to the impact statement.

While the draft impact statement suggests that it is unlikely the industrial uses at the site and nearby have caused any “significant impacts” from contamination, it notes that residents of the proposed subdivision would have to live with some of those industrial businesses as neighbors. That would mean living with “soil erosion, dust, loss of habitat, truck traffic on local roadways, and impaired community character.”

Larry Shaw, a Kings Park lawyer who has tracked industrial activity in the area, said this week that home construction would be “much better than anything else that was there. They should have been there from the beginning.”

But Kings Park Civic Association president Sean Lehmann says his group has the results of soil tests from an adjacent industrial property that show the presence of toxins. “It’s not a smart place to put housing and we don’t believe it to be a safe place to put housing,” Lehmann said.

His group supports uses permitted under the current code, like a brick and masonry supply store or solar panel depot, he said.


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