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Tesla gets support for a zoning change to open in Nesconset

Tesla has proposed renovating the site of the

Tesla has proposed renovating the site of the former Sixth Avenue Electronics store at Route 347 and South Hillside Avenue in Nesconset, seen on Jan. 16, 2018. Credit: James Carbone

The Smithtown Planning Board has recommended a zoning change to the town council that would permit outdoor vehicle storage and display at a planned Nesconset Tesla location.

The planning board’s vote supports a change of zone from central business and neighborhood business to wholesale industry for the 5.7-acre 1000 Nesconset Hwy. property. Those business districts do not permit outdoor storage.

Extending the wholesale industry district, where storage is permitted, would link the property at Nesconset Highway — also known as Route 347 — to a 2-mile stretch of Middle Country Road that houses more than a dozen car dealerships.

Vincent J. Trimarco, the Smithtown lawyer representing the property developer, Tim Ziss, said the move would have no adverse effect on neighbors. Tesla’s electric cars “don’t make noise, that I know of anyway.” Nor do they use oil, he said. “Environmental issues are really cut down to a minimum.”

Brooklyn-based Ziss would renovate the former Sixth Avenue Electronics store now at the site and rent to the electric car manufacturer.

In a brief interview following the Jan. 31 planning board meeting, Ziss said he could not confirm that Tesla was his intended tenant, citing a nondisclosure agreement. But chief town planner David Flynn named the company during the hearing, and Tesla’s name appears on documents submitted to the town planning department as part of Ziss’ application.

Still unclear is whether Tesla would operate a sales facility or merely a gallery for viewing cars. The company has already hit a New York State cap of five sales facilities, but legislation was recently introduced to expand that number by 15 to 20.

Tesla has one Long Island sales facility, in the Americana Manhasset shopping center, and galleries in East Hampton and at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station. It also has a store in Manhattan and two in Westchester County.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

The town council is scheduled to take up Ziss’ application Feb. 22. The planning board’s recommendation is not binding, but several town council members have already said they were eager to welcome the company to town.

Rocky Shankar, an audit manager who lives near the proposed site, said in an interview this week that he was concerned about puddles and mounds of dirt at the site. Ziss told him after the meeting that landscapers would level the ground and plant grass once weather improves, he said.

Ziss did not respond to messages left at his Brooklyn business number.

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