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Smithtown board sets hearing on plan for virtual golf course in Hauppauge

Plans to turn a vacant building into a virtual-golf paradise will be the subject of a public hearing Feb. 26 in the Town of Smithtown.

Hauppauge-based Simplay Entertainment LLC submitted an application for a special exception to renovate a building on the north side of Commerce Drive, near Adams Avenue in Hauppauge, into a commercial public recreation center.

Smithtown Assistant Planning Director David Flynn said the roughly 1.7-acre site had been a manufacturing building in the 1980s. Simplay wants to build an indoor site with cubicles for virtual golf, space for parties and a dining room, Flynn said. "You can pretend you're playing at a world-class golf course," he said.

The application, received by the town on Jan. 9, also calls for parking and site improvements.

Simplay's attorney, David N. Altman of Melville-based Brown & Altman LLP, confirmed the content of the application, which said the proposal would decrease the amount of vacant light-industrial properties in town. "The proposed use is in harmony with the surrounding industrial park and will provide year-round recreational opportunities to those who work within the industrial park and live in the neighboring community," it said.

The special-exception consideration is needed because commercial recreation is not considered a permissible use under town zoning regulations, Flynn said.

"In 1950s or '60s, the town board felt that certain uses might have more impact than other uses," he said.

Other special-exception uses include hospitals, day care centers, fast-food restaurants, gas stations and repair garages, Flynn said.

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