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Don't let legislative moves block Kings Park growth

NY State Assembly member Steve Englebright spoke during

NY State Assembly member Steve Englebright spoke during a Suffolk County Leg. Task Force on superstorm Sandy at Stony Brook University on April 11, 2018. Credit: Randee Daddona

Kings Park has waited for sewers for years. Civic groups and local businesses want them to revitalize the downtown. The Town of Smithtown is on board, as is Suffolk County.

The planning is done. And the project is fully funded, thanks to $20 million allocated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2017. All that’s required is passage of a bill in Albany to transfer a small piece of town-owned land to the county for a required pump station.

Unfortunately, the measure is being held up by Assemb. Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), who is trying to get town officials to develop a comprehensive plan for sewers that includes needed systems for the downtown areas of Smithtown and St. James. Englebright, chairman of the Assembly’s environmental conservation committee, also is concerned about the traffic and environmental impacts of an unrelated, controversial development proposed for the Gyrodyne property in St. James. That proposal includes a sewage treatment plant that could serve St. James, but unfortunately the effluent to be pumped into the ground would travel north and end up in comparatively pristine Stony Brook Harbor.

The Albany slowdown has Smithtown officials considering buying a two-acre parcel in the same area of Kings Park, but farther off Main Street, for the pump station. That would require new plans, slow down the project and make it more expensive.

We understand Englebright’s concerns, but he shouldn’t use a worthy project so close to final approval as leverage to achieve something else.

The bill to help Kings Park got lost in the Big Ugly at the end of last year’s legislative session. That can’t happen again.

The ball is in Englebright’s court. Fighting for comprehensive planning is laudable. But getting this bill passed is essential. — The editorial board