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Smithtown considers closing St. James residential street to trucks

Smithtown environmental protection director Russell Barnett discusses changes

Smithtown environmental protection director Russell Barnett discusses changes to the Montclair Avenue yard in St. James at a Smithtown town board meeting on Jan. 23, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Lauren R. Harrison

Smithtown officials said they are considering a plan to block trucks from using a residential street to enter a town transfer station in St. James after complaints from residents.

Town officials also said a contractor has agreed to find a new place to grind storm debris after residents living near the transfer station objected to the noise.

St. James residents said at a town board meeting last week that trucks rumble past their houses while using Montclair Avenue as a shortcut to the town facility. Bob DeMoustes gave town officials a petition calling for Montclair Avenue to be turned into a cul-de-sac.

"If we can separate our residential area from the industrial area, that's got to be better for the values of our homes," he said after the meeting. "We understand the town is trying to make things better, but for us it hasn't been better."

Councilman Edward Wehrheim said the town may permanently close Montclair Avenue to truck traffic.

"I believe it's something that's possible to do, and I believe it's something we should do to give these people some relief," he said. "I don't see the necessity of the commercial truck traffic going through these residential neighborhoods."

Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the town Traffic Safety Department is studying the proposal. He declined to further comment.

Debris such as tree stumps and branches from superstorm Sandy has been stored at the transfer site since October 2012, town officials said. Workers use grinders to reduce the size of the debris so it can be hauled away. Town environmental director Russell Barnett said a contractor, All Island Excavating, agreed last week to relocate grinders to a different site.

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