Fort Salonga and Kings Park residents are calling on Town of Smithtown officials for a second time to take steps to address the issue of commercial vehicles cutting through their neighborhood streets.
Several Kings Park residents attended the May 24 Smithtown town board meeting to ask for elected officials help in addressing an increasing number of Dejana Truck & Utility Equipment company trucks driving through their local residential streets, particularly Orchard Drive. Kings Park and Fort Salonga residents have been pushing for the issue to be addressed since February.
“The community is extremely upset,” said Karen Wellus, of Fort Salonga. “Dejana is pretty much running wild and doing whatever they want with very little input from the community and those of us who are affected.”
“Dejana is pretty much running wild and doing whatever they want with very little input from the community and those of us who are affected.”
– Karen Wellus
Dejana currently has an application pending with the town to construct a second building next to its current existing facility, at 490 Pulaski Road in Kings Park, according to town spokeswoman Nicole Garguilo. While the building is under construction, the company has been entering and exiting the site using an entrance on Pulaski Road, which is a county-owned road.
“Dejana Trucking has still not acknowledged the traffic and safety concerns of Fort Salonga residents that we brought to their attention in a petition February 2018,” Orchard Drive resident Kathleen Montemurro said, reading from a letter sent out to the community. “To summarize, Suffolk County mandates that all trucks exiting the new Dejana facility must exit eastbound on Pulaski Road. The most expedient route is to turn around and head westbound through Orchard Drive.”
Melissa Langino, an Orchard Drive resident, said as a mother of four children under age 10 that she is highly concerned about increased truck traffic and possibly larger vehicles coming down her residential block, rather than sticking to larger roadways.
“I think they have a legitimate argument, that if you send traffic out right-turn only they will, but through the residential areas instead of driving all the way north to Main Street in Kings Park to head west,” Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said.
The supervisor said he has instructed members of the town’s Department of Public Safety to evaluate traffic on Orchard Drive while he reaches out to Suffolk County to discuss the issue.
“We are currently exploring traffic flow options for the property,” read a statement from the town.
“We are currently exploring traffic flow options for the property.”
– Town of Smithtown
Wehrheim said he has also reached out to Dejana’s attorney Vincent Trimarco to see if the company would be willing to have a traffic signal installed at their property’s entrance on Pulaski Road to allow trucks to safely exit heading westbound. The trucking company would be responsible for paying for the signal’s installation, according to the supervisor.
Trimarco could not be reached for comment by press time, but Smithtown town officials said they’ve been informed that, “his client is willing to work with the community.”
The town was also in court against Dejana May 29 for violating the zoning code by allegedly storing commercial vehicles outdoors. Wehrheim said the trucking company purchased a new piece of property, graded it and is allegedly storing trucks there.
“We’ll clean that issue up in court and hopefully have some answers from the county on whether they will make an application to put a traffic signal in,” Wehrheim said.