A vacant lot that used to be home to a lumberyard, across the street from Town Hall in Smithtown, is in the Town Board’s crosshairs.
A recent waiver request from the applicant in charge of the 102 W. Main Street property set off a somewhat heated debate at Town Hall, when Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio (R) called out VEA 181st Realty Corp. for what he referred to as a lack of good faith in bettering the space. In the application, developer Salvatore DiCarlo requested the gigantic pile of concrete slabs at the site be ground on the premises in a move that Smithtown Planning Director David Flynn said could reduce truck traffic in the area.
At a work session earlier this month, Flynn told the board that DiCarlo needed to remove the concrete slabs from the property in order to grind them down and install a roughly 5-foot mound of vegetation in its place, as the property moves forward into development. Flynn said there was likely more material than necessary for future building on the property, thus making it difficult for the developer to have to truck materials back and forth between the property and an off-site location.
“Reducing truck traffic is in the public good,” Flynn said, while discussing the waiver request with the Town Board. “The applicant already agreed to abide to conditions beyond what the town code requires. He’s volunteering to slightly more stringent requirements as it is.”
Vecchio, however, was not impressed by the suggestion, and contended that the request to grind concrete on-site was nothing more than an attempt to save money.
“When is he going to build? What is his endeavor here?” Vecchio said. “When does he show some good faith?”
Vecchio said he would not vote in favor of a waiver request for DiCarlo, and instead said it was time for him “to put the pedal to the metal.”
DiCarlo could not be reached for comment.
Flynn said the applicant had received approval to build three-story apartments at the site, with retail space on the ground floors. He also said he was unaware of any specific target date in terms of construction at the property.
DiCarlo, who Flynn said took on the property about 10 years ago, was granted a special exception back in 2013 that allowed him to build apartments on the site, but he has yet to file an updated site plan for construction. The town approved a site plan for demolition in July 2014 and two vacant buildings on the site have been razed over the last several months.
Town Councilman Bob Creighton (R) said the applicant has been trying to build on the site for years, but has encountered countless obstacles preventing him from doing so on the town level. Vecchio, however, fired back that the town’s hands were clean when it came to the inactivity at the spot.
“He hasn’t done anything in good faith,” he said. “I find it horrible. I think that’s a no-no.”
The discussion was tabled upon request from Councilman Tom McCarthy (R) pending a meeting with the property owner, with Creighton ending the debate by calling on his fellow board members to give DiCarlo a chance.