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Smithtown officials permit radiation material at Commack cancer center

Artist rendering shows the 90k sq expansion plans

Artist rendering shows the 90k sq expansion plans for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 650 Commack Road, Commack, NY. The hospital wants to expand from 52,725 square feet to 90,000 square feet. (February 7, 2013) Credit: Ewing / Cole Architects Handout

Smithtown town board members have amended a zoning condition that prevented materials for radiation therapy from being stored at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's expansion site in Commack.

Town board members voted 4-0 at last week's meeting to remove the condition, with Supervisor Patrick Vecchio absent.

Smithtown planning director Frank DeRubeis said an error had been made on an earlier town board resolution, which would have prevented the addition of the cancer center from fully operating.

Hospital officials originally requested a satellite office, but later applied for a nearly 40,000-square-foot expansion, DeRubeis said.

"They're expanding it to include cancer care, which does have machines in chemotherapy that have radiation. Now, all of a sudden, they can't have those because of this condition that was adopted," he said.

"We eliminated that condition . . . " DeRubeis said. "They can bring in all of the new equipment that they need."

Site plans have been approved, and the next step is to start building, DeRubeis said.

Victor Ribaudo, executive director of the cancer center's regional care network, which includes locations in Hauppauge and Rockville Centre, said in February the new addition is expected to be completed in summer 2016.

The expansion would house more rooms for surgical consultations, chemotherapy infusion bays or chairs where patients receive treatment and additional MRI and CT scan devices, Ribaudo said. It would also allow the center to expand physical therapy and radiology services, he said.

Councilman Thomas McCarthy said he voted to remove the condition so the hospital could do more treatment. "It's a great center, and it just allows people not to have to drive to Manhattan; and they do such good for the community."

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