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Douglas Lederman, of Smithtown's founding family, gets town OK to subdivide historical property

Douglas Lederman, 65, of Kings Park, holds an

Douglas Lederman, 65, of Kings Park, holds an aerial photo circa 1960 of a farm and cow barn owned by his family, who founded the Town of Smithtown. Credit: Lauren R. Harrison

A descendant of Smithtown Town's founding family has received approval from the town planning board to subdivide his property, which includes a farmhouse listed on the town's inventory of historical sites.

Douglas Lederman plans to subdivide his roughly 2-acre lot on state Route 25A, with frontage on Saber Drive and Saber Lane in Kings Park, into three single-family-home lots.

Lederman's proposal, dubbed Sesame Estates 2, calls for the creation of a cul-de-sac on Saber Lane for a little more than a half-acre plot, and converting a temporary turnaround at the end of Saber Drive to a permanent cul-de-sac for another approximately half-acre plot.

"All I want to do is sell the property and retire," said Lederman, 65, a former restoration specialist for the National Park Service. "This has been going on for five years."

The planning board voted 5-0 on Wednesday to grant the request. Lederman plans to live in a farmhouse built around 1866 by his grandfather Willis J. Smith.

Town planning department officials recommended that Lederman create a road to connect the two cul-de-sacs, which drew opposition from neighbors.

Joseph Hruska, 50, handed the board a petition signed by 51 residents opposing the road, and his son, Joseph, 13, also gave the board a petition signed by 37 children.

Hruska, who has lived in the area for 21 years, said the top concern is safety, particularly since children play basketball at the curb.

"If that road got opened up, we'd have to start worrying about where kids are, keeping them off the street," he said in an interview.

The planning board rejected a recommendation by the planning department requiring the construction of a pedestrian walkway so children wouldn't have to use Route 25A for play dates.

"How have the kids been doing it all these years?" said planning board member Conrad A. Chayes.

Lederman said he was pleased with the board's final decision, but added his plans had been met by "too many regulations. . . . It took longer to build this than World War II."

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