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Smithtown officials divided on industrial site

Smithtown council members are divided on whether a Kings Park industrial site complied with a court-ordered agreement.

Carlson Associates -- owner of one of several industrial sites along Old Northport Road that violate town zoning law -- agreed to file a site plan application by June 19. But Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the company submitted bogus plans.

"What they submitted in my mind is a sham, and they continue to operate this business for which the town receives no taxation," Vecchio said. "They're laughing in the face of the court order."

Carlson Associates paid a $1,000 fine and pleaded to four property maintenance violations in a March conditional discharge agreement. It also agreed to file the site plan and obtain town approvals by Nov. 19.

Councilman Thomas McCarthy described the agreement as "garbage," saying it "wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. Why aren't we just enforcing the code like the residents want?" McCarthy said.

Councilmen Edward Wehr-heim and Robert Creighton, who is running for Smithtown supervisor, suggested town officials meet with the owners before deciding whether to seek an injunction as Vecchio asked.

"The residents, rightfully so, want action and we're beginning to take action," Wehrheim said. "But I certainly don't think it's possible to clean it all up in a week."

Creighton said Carlson submitted a check of more than $70,000 along with three different site plans to the planning department in earnest and has "complied with almost every request" from the town. "The planning department is supposed to work with the applicant and come to some kind of agreement," he said.

Mark Smith, a Carlson Associates spokesman, said in a statement that the submission of three site plan alternatives "was not a stall tactic . . . it was done to initiate the important dialogue that is needed with Planning after three separate requests for a pre-filing meeting by Carlson Associates' attorney went unanswered."

But Frank DeRubeis, town planning director, said there have been numerous meetings with the property owners, who were advised on their plans in writing. The recent application was rejected due to its generic descriptions, proposed uses for which the business did not have appropriate zoning or uses that weren't allowed in Smithtown, he said.

"To say they have complied with everything in the town, that is simply not even close to the truth," DeRubeis said. "They are violating the law on a very large level."

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