An artist's rendering of Amber Court in Smithtown.

An artist's rendering of Amber Court in Smithtown. Credit: Handout

Smithtown's planning board has approved a proposed 186-bed assisted living facility in Nesconset, despite objections from several area residents.

The board on Wednesday voted unanimously for the Amber Court project, which would be built on a 6.7-acre parcel on Lake Avenue, near Park Avenue. The facility needs approval from the town board, which is expected to consider it next year.

Before the vote, seven Nesconset residents expressed concerns about traffic, drainage and potential hazards posed by construction vehicles.

They said a business such as Amber Court did not belong in the mostly residential neighborhood.

After the meeting, resident Eugene Ahrens said the board's vote did not surprise him and he hoped Amber Court would be a good neighbor. But he said the property was vulnerable to inclement weather. "When it rains, the whole area floods," he said in an interview.

Amber Court is the third proposed assisted living facility to face community opposition in Smithtown this year. The others are under review.

Amber Court officials, who operate four facilities in Westbury, New York City and New Jersey, have said the 67,700-square-foot Nesconset development will meet a need on Long Island for assisted living residences. Most of the property is zoned for light industry, and a small portion is zoned for houses.

The town board last year approved a special exception for the facility to be built in a light industrial zone, and the town board of zoning appeals has approved building height and loading-dock variances.

Uniondale lawyer Anthony Guardino, representing Amber Court at Wednesday's meeting, said construction is expected to begin next year. "They're anxious to move forward," he said.

The facility will not be "a huge traffic generator," and catch basins would be installed on the property to contain stormwater runoff, Guardino said.

He said Amber Court would fit in with the neighborhood. "It's got some residential components to it, and it's got some commercial components to it," he said.

Ahrens, who lives on Park Avenue, said he was concerned about trucks on the road while the facility is built. "There's small children on the block," he said.

Planning board chairman John Gee said construction vehicles would use a Lake Avenue entrance, which is away from houses on Park Avenue.

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