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Smithtown has backup plan if offer for property is refused

An access road to Sider Lumber off Southern

An access road to Sider Lumber off Southern Boulevard terminates at the proposed entrance in the woods on August 11, 2014. Smithtown Town officials plan to make an offer to purchase property necessary in constructing a new road connecting Southern Boulevard and Broadley Avenue in St. James. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Smithtown Town officials plan to make way -- via purchase or eminent domain of a thin strip of property -- for the construction of a new street connecting parallel roads in St. James.

Officials want to connect the north-south running Southern Boulevard and Broadley Avenue, which intersect with Middle Country Road, to offer easier traffic flow for drivers.

"This is a road system that is long overdue," said Smithtown planning director Frank DeRubeis, adding that the proposal has been on the table since the 1980s. "We were waiting for private developers to develop it."

Broadley Avenue is a private road owned by Damianos Realty Group LLC, which also owns The Sports Arena on Broadley and a McDonald's that fronts Middle Country Road.

Cristofer Damianos, a principal of Damianos Realty, said he is willing to pay for construction of a roadway in the wooded area north of his indoor sports arena that would extend an existing strip of road on Southern Boulevard near Sider Lumber & Supply Co., further east of Broadley.

"You have all these parents dropping off their kids and picking up their kids and it's kind of congested right there," he said. "It will ease some congestion going on Jericho [Turnpike] by having other means of access and egress."

But a third party -- Nino Militello and a relative -- owns property between Damianos' plot and Sider Lumber, DeRubeis said.

"The lots are 200 feet wide or 100 feet wide by 2 to 4,000 feet long. This was a land scam," DeRubeis added, noting that selling such lots was common practice in the early 1900s and limited development due to the lack of road frontage. "The lots were bowling-alley shaped."

Smithtown Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski said the town plans to get an appraisal soon for Militello's property and make an offer.

"They have a time frame to accept the offer or reject it, and if they don't accept it, then we move forward with the eminent domain proceeding," he said.

Attempts to reach Militello were unsuccessful Monday.

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