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Hauppauge Industrial Park restrictions could be lifted

Smithtown -- Supervisor Patrick Vecchio Preparing a town

Smithtown -- Supervisor Patrick Vecchio

Preparing a town budget in the era of the state’s 2 percent tax cap is no easy task, and that won’t change next year, Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said.

The declining economy has dried up some sources of revenue, leaving towns little choice but to raise property taxes or cut services in 2012, he said.

“Revenues continue to fall, making it difficult to keep taxes at no increase or even tolerably low,” Vecchio said.

Smithtown’s 2012 budget raises taxes 0.72 percent. To avoid hiking taxes even more, Vecchio dipped into reserve funds. He said the reserves are “sufficient to get us through another a year or two,” but when they dry up, “You have nothing to lower taxes with.”

And, he said, there is not much fat in the budget.

“We’re bare minimum now, and certainly I would appeal to the [town] council to let jobs go by attrition,” Vecchio said. “No department is really overstaffed. There are no patronage jobs in the town.”

Credit: Handout

In a bid to add construction jobs and attract new businesses, Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio announced Tuesday a plan to lift building restrictions at the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

During brief remarks at a meeting of the Hauppauge Industrial Association, Vecchio said the town’s new master plan, currently being developed by the town planning department, will eliminate height restrictions, limits on parking and other rules meant to control development at the park.

New rules would enable existing businesses to expand without obtaining variances from the town, Vecchio said.

“The laws will be changed in 2013,” Vecchio told several hundred people gathered at the Hamlet Wind Watch Golf and Country Club in Hauppauge. “You will be able to go up. You will be able to go wide.”

The announcement was greeted with applause from many of the business owners and public officials in attendance.

The sprawling industrial park, off Motor Parkway in Hauppauge, includes 1,300 companies that employ more than 55,000 people.

About two-thirds of the park is in Smithtown; the rest is in Islip Town. The changes announced by Vecchio affect only the section that is in Smithtown. Vecchio said the changes could bring in “hundreds of construction jobs.”

Jack Kulka, owner of an eponymous construction company with offices in the park, said businesses would be able to build and expand “without going through that two- to three-year zoning process” to obtain variances.

Park tenants have long complained that town zoning laws and lack of sewer systems have stymied growth there. The park is currently being connected to a county sewer district.

County Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), whose district includes the park, said the new town zoning policy would keep businesses from leaving. “I’m absolutely thrilled,” he said.

Vecchio said he expects the town board to adopt a new master plan early next year.


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