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Smithtown town code change simplifies part of development process

The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to purchase

The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to purchase two properties for $240,000 that can be used for transfer of density flow rights. (Feb. 20, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

The Smithtown Town Board voted last week to delete a chapter of the town code on the transfer of wastewater capacity from an undeveloped parcel to another site where a business needs greater capacity, and adopted a new code that makes the process simpler for applicants.

The town enacted the transfer of density flow-rights code three years ago in an agreement with Suffolk County, said town Planning Director Frank DeRubeis. It encourages development in ideal areas, discourages it in undesirable locations such as environmentally sensitive land, and protects the public water supply, he said.

The old code created “unintended consequences of being cumbersome and time-consuming,” because it required at least two public hearings and a full environmental review in order to begin the transfer process, DeRubeis said. “It’s like we’re torturing applicants with the length of time.”

David Flynn, assistant director of town planning, told the board that the new code also would make the application process more transparent, reduce administrative costs, and create a method of calculating the flow rights that the town currently owns if the town decided to sell them.

Mark Mancini, an architect and president of the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce, said the new code “definitely makes it easier and is pro-business.”

Mancini said the code change helps “bigger developers and people who are in possession of larger pieces of land that you can increase the density on, but it’s not going to help the smaller mom-and-pop businesses in town.”

“For that we need a sewer district,” he said. “The best way for Smithtown to grow is that we improve our infrastructure.”

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