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Kings Park outdoor storage zoning plan concerns residents

(L-R) Kevin Cox and Michael Cox Jr., sons

(L-R) Kevin Cox and Michael Cox Jr., sons of applicant Michael Cox, stand next to the family's attorney Vincent Trimarco at a Dec. 14, 2013 zoning board hearing as he spoke in favor of a zoning requests to lease a Kings Park industrial property to store 600 metal storage containers. (Jan. 14, 2014) Credit: Lauren R. Harrison

Plans to store as many as 600 storage containers stacked up to 24 feet high outdoors on a Kings Park industrial property have drawn reprisals from residents concerned it may set an unfavorable zoning precedent, bringing additional truck traffic and creating an eyesore.

At a recent zoning board meeting, Michael Cox, owner of real estate holding companies DWC Management LLC and KVC Holding LLC, requested a special exception to allow a trucking station on his four-acre property.The light industrial property is located on the west side of Old Northport Road, south of Townline Road.

Cox wants to lease the land to Mobile Mini -- a storage company with locations across North America -- that plans to relocate its Commack site.

"It's probably the most benign use that anybody could have in a commercial area," said Cox's attorney Vincent Trimarco at a zoning board meeting last week. "They store the boxes there. They take them off the site and then they bring them back."

Four to five trucks would pick up the containers four to six times a day to transport them, said Trimarco.

The 10-, 20- and 40 foot-long containers would be stacked empty up to three-high on the property, where a 3,500-square-foot building would also be constructed to generate about $15,000 to $20,000 in tax revenue, said Trimarco.

But many residents who spoke at the meeting said the town should address zoning for outdoor storage -- a practice that several Kings Park industrial companies have openly engaged in illegally.

"The precedent that this application creates will ripple throughout the industrial area," said Paul Graf, president of the Fort Salonga Association, a community group. "The town board needs a comprehensive plan for this area. Piecemeal zoning by variance will not accomplish this goal."

Assistant town planner David Flynn said, "There's a need for outdoor storage. The hard part is, what do you do when the zoning ordinance doesn't allow it?"

Debbie Virga, community relations consultant for the Commack School district and a member the Commack Community Association, said the group was concerned that the proposal would bring more truck traffic on the busy Townline Road, and near to area schools.

"I cannot see how this planning board can, in their right mind, continue to put more 18- wheelers to go up and down Townline Road," she said.

Tom Unverzagt, of the Old Northport Road-Lawrence Road Task Force, cited the noise caused by stacking the containers, and "street sight blight and negative curb appeal."

"The granting of special exceptions and variances should advance and improve an area," he said. "Not make it worse than it already is."

Trimarco said the traffic pattern could be restricted and Cox can do "reasonable setbacks," and plant buffers "so that the containers are less imposing."

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