Home Wanted

Smithtown Animal Shelter

WANTED:  WARM LOVING HOMES !!!

 Ramsey – Shep/Chow mix 3 years old male/neutered up to date on vaccines. Ramsey loves to play with his toys and go for walks. He is affectionate and playful but would be best placed with older children and a home without other dogs.

 

 

 

  The Smithtown Animal Shelter has many kittens for adoption, the little ones are handled and socialized by our volunteer staff they are friendly have their initial shots and de-worming.

 

          

 

 

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April at Sunken Meadow



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Saturday
Sep202014

Kings Park Activist Mike Rosato - "Let The People Decide" 

 By Dana Klosner

For the past several months Mike Rosato, an activist from Kings Park, has been lobbying the Town Board to establish an Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund. Local civic and youth organizations supported this effort, he said, because they understood the economic, environmental and quality of life benefits it would provide to the community.

“A lot of youth groups in the town support the effort because they say there is not enough field space to play on,” he said. “The field space that is there is rutted and over used.”

According to Allyson Murray, an environmental planner for the town, the planning department has identified 150 parcels (a number that changes as new sites are identified)  as possible acquisition parcels. The sites vary in size, shape, geographic features, value and possible use. The list “reflects parcels that the Planning Department would likely recommend acquiring if the Town/County/State were interested.” Stated Ms. Murray in an email to Smithtown Matters.

Rosato, emphasizing the benefits of an Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund for Smithtown residents, has been lobbying members of the Town Board. But his efforts have been to no avail. One of the reasons the Town Board has not put the idea to a vote is because of the tax cap, Rosato said.

In the long run the referendum would save taxpayers money, he said.  Open space is considered the ultimate tax cap. Protected open space can help keep property taxes from going up because increased residential development leads to increased demand for government services, schools and other costly infrastructure. 

If the referendum were approved it would allow Smithtown to become an active partner in Suffolk County’s Public Space Program which would allow our taxpayers the local benefits of a program that is supported countywide, he said.

Rosato said he recently wrote a letter to the Town Board requesting that they support a Smithtown Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund referendum. According to Rosato he asked members of the board to let the people, not politics, decide if they wish to invest in open space preservation and recreational facilities. Unfortunately, this concept was not supported.

He cited the Ryan Property in Fort Salonga  as an example. The site is 22 acres and according to Rosato the owners are looking to sell.

“We can’t participate in purchase of property because the town does not have an open space program and is unwilling to put aside money to purchase any open space,” he said.

“Just let the people decide. That’s all I and others are asking,” Rosato said.

 “I don’t think that placing referenda at the behest of one individual makes for good government,” Town Supervisor Pat Vecchio said.

“Central Park in New York City is approximately 840 acres,” Vecchio said. “As a comparison, in the center of Smithtown we have 1,300 acre (Caleb Smith State Park, Blydenburgh Park [county], Greengate Park [town]). These are in addition to our 130 acre golf course. There is also Hoyt Farm (133 acres), Sweetbriar Nature Center (56 acres), 22 town parks and 3 beaches. We acquired the 22 acre Saam property (behind the “Bull”), the 8 acre Harned Sawmill property and most of this acreage was obtained without cost to the taxpayers.”

There is also Sunken Meadow State Park (1,200 acres) and Nissquogue River State Park, (500 acres), he said.

“We are not lacking for open space and we continue to acquire it. Since 2009, the transfer of development rights has gained approximately 10 more acres at no cost. Folks like Mr. Rosato seem to forget we are under a state mandated 2% tax levy cap. The 2015 budget is capped at 1.6%. He disregards that and says ‘Spend, spend’ and that’s not my mantra. People pay enough in taxes and it’s not my desire to levy more than is necessary.”

A petition could be used to circumvent the Town Board, but that does not guarantee its (the fund’s) implementation, Rosato said. Even if the referendum passed, the Town Board would not be obligated to create the trust fund.

It’s better to have the majority of the board supporting the measure to help promote it and facilitate its adoption.

Thursday
Sep182014

No Deal - The Town Will NOT Be Building A Parking Lot On Pulaski Rd. In Kings Park

No deal!  That’s the word from Councilman Robert Creighton on his proposal to purchase a vacant piece of land on Pulaski Rd. in Kings Park to be used as a 20-22 parking space municipal parking lot.

According to Councilman Creighton, the  property owner and the town could not reach an agreement on the purchase price.  In 2013 Councilman Creighton made a proposal to town board members that Smithtown purchase property and use it to relieve some of the parking problems that exist in Kings Park.  Town Board members in February 2014 authorized the expenditure of $2,000 to be used for an appraisal for the property.

Town Attorney Matt Jakubowski notified the seller of the Town’s interest and the appraisal amount, which according to Jakubowski, was roughly $70,000 less than the seller wanted. 

At the September 9th work session it was mentioned that the seller was unwilling to accept an offer the town had put forward.  Councilman Creighton asked Mr. Jakubowski to continue the negotiations.  Today in a phone conversation with Smithtown Matters, the Councilman stated that the seller increased the selling price for the piece of property and negotiations have ended. 

Town Attorney Jakubowski concurred with Mr. Creighton that negotiations between the town and Mr. Lupoli the property owner have ended.  Although Jakubowski was uncertain if the owner had received other offers, he stated that the property owner was not interested in doing business with the town at the price the town was offering.  

A disappointed Creighton said that there was little that could be done giving the reluctance of the property owner to reduce the price of the property. 

 

Sunday
Sep072014

Neighbors Petition BZA To Say NO To 24 Hour Dunkin Donuts In Nesconset

By Dana Klosner

Site of proposed Dunkin Donuts in Nesconset (photo google maps)There is a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts with a 9 car queue drive-thru proposed to the zoning commission to be located in the former Prestano’s Bakery location at 223 Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset. The idea of a 24 hour business has neighbors on the adjoining Lancaster Avenue up in arms.

“We’re not against Dunkin Donuts running their business,” said Dawn Gary who has been circulating petitions in the neighborhood as well as on Change.org. “We are against the traffic this business will produce.”

The stores currently in this location are “Mom and Pop” stores and are not open past 8pm with Ralph’s Italian Ices and Maria’s Restaurant staying open a little later on the weekends, Gary said. 

“With a 24 hour operation there will be increased lighting, increased traffic, increased noise and increased patronage,” Gary said. “Currently my block is quiet after hours. [With this new business] there will be people and cars at all hours of the night. Smithtown Boulevard is already congested at all hours of the day, especially rush hour. Rush hour is prime time for Dunkin Donuts business.”

Gary also expressed concern that there is a Smithtown Central School District bus stop at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Leydon Street about 200 feet from the proposed business. She said cars would enter and exit from Smithtown Boulevard, come down Lancaster Avenue to make a right onto Smithtown Boulevard and be right at the bus stop when the kids are there.

Gary also is concerned about headlights beaming into the homes of her neighbors.

“There is not a proper buffer proposed between Dunkin Donuts and the house directly north of the property. The home shares a back fence line with the site. It is proposed that there would be just grass between the home and the business. No shrubbery or fencing. A customer can come into the property with their lights on, shining directly into the living room and bedroom of this home. There is no code to prevent the lights cascading off the property.” 

“Not only are we concerned about headlights and brake lights beaming in our windows, we’re concerned about the car exhaust and the speaker we’re going to hear because it will be directly across from our house, “ said Emily O’Bray, owner of the home directly north of the site. 

O’Bray said she has a 9-year-old son and she is concerned for his safety.

“This will bring more traffic on a street that is already congested. I won’t be confident sending him out in the front yard by himself because of all the new traffic,” she said. 

Dunkin Donuts will also have large signs that will be illuminated 24 hours a day,  O’Bray said. She is concerned about the brightness. 

She also expressed concern about increased garbage.

“There are dumpsters across from our property [for the businesses that are currently there]. We already get wrappers from Ralphs and the bakery blown onto our lawn. I’m concerned about rodents from the increased garbage,” she said.

“This is a nice community about to be taken over by a 24 hour business,” O’Bray said. “People say, ‘You knew there were businesses across the street when you bought your house.’ But those businesses close at 5. Ralph’s [Italian Ices] is seasonal and has foot traffic. This will be a constant flow of people, noise, lights and cars. It affects our property values. Who would buy across from a Dunkin Donuts? There’s going to be a lot of sleepless nights.” 

Lynda Carty, also a resident on Lancaster Avenue, grew up in Nesconset and has lived in the town 43 years.

“I’m not against improvement,” she said. “And it’s not a matter of ‘Not in my Backyard.’ It shouldn’t be in anyone’s backyard. It should be like the one on 347 surrounded by commercial property.” 

Carty along with O’Bray said there is already a cesspool problem in the building.

“The cesspool overflows down into the street into the water drain,” Carty said. “Over Labor Day weekend it ran for 36 hours. It happens all the time. They come pump it out, and one week later it happens again. The cesspool can’t handle the businesses that are there, Dunkin Donuts will make it even worse.”

The neighbors want to stress the safety concern that the traffic brings up.

“People already speed down our street,” Carty said. “There is a stop sign and people run through it. Add a Dunkin Donuts with people rushing to work. I worry about my neighbors’ kids. My cat already got hit by a car. It’s a concern for everybody here.”
 

“We have eight to ten children from the ages of twelve on down,” said Ed Gary, Dawn Gary’s husband. “Our primary focus is the amount of traffic coming down Lancaster Avenue and the safety of those children.”

“We feel [the proposed Dunkin Donuts] would diminish the quality of life for our residents,” Dawn Gary said.

There will be a zoning board hearing on Case #17192 on Tuesday, September 9 at 7pm at the Senior Citizen’s Center, 420 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. 

Dawn Gary’s petition DENY Case# 17192 for Dunkin Donuts at 223 Smithtown Blvd, Nesconset

 

Wednesday
Sep032014

Edgewood Avenue/Landing Ave Road Project Moves Forward

The Edgewood Avenue/Landing Avenue road project has begun! The Town of Smithtown is investing $210,000 on the road project, which according to Smithtown’s Director of Traffic Safety, Mitch Crowley should make the road safer and reduce traffic [congestion]. The project began in mid August and involves curb work and road widening.

The project began on Monday, August 18th and involved the unavoidable removal of a very large and very old tree on the southeast corner of Edgewood and Landing. “We did get some phone calls about taking the tree down, but there was no other way to do the project”, said Mitch Crowley.

The Town has tried unsuccessfully to address the traffic issues at the intersection over the last decade and added a turning lane for left turns in both east and west bound directions in 2006. However, without a third lane for vehicles not turning (moving straight ahead on Edgewood) the cars and trucks would back-up behind vehicles waiting to make a turn. This back-up created traffic delays and too often dangerous maneuvering by drivers into the right lane trying to avoid the delays. 

The current project widens (although not significantly) the four corners of the intersection providing vehicles with  a better turning ratio.   Welcome news for drivers of buses and other large vehicles making a turn on Edgewood from Landing Ave. The narrow turn when vehicles were lined up at the traffic light made it extremely difficult for buses, trucks and larger vehicles moving through the intersection.

According to Mitch Crowley the intersection, in addition to getting new traffic signals, will have designated turning and straight through lanes for drivers on Edgewood Avenue. “These improvements,  the road widening, turning lanes, designated straight through lanes and improved turning ratios, should make the intersection safer and reduce traffic [congestion].” Mitch Crowley. 

**Editor’s note- article was amended to reflect the conversation refers to trafic congestion. Smithtown Matters

Tuesday
Sep022014

History In The Making - Smithtown's Founding Father Richard Smythe Statue

Creating a statue of the bull rider, Richard Smythe…by Bradley Harris, Smithtown Historian

(click on photos to enlarge)

Group photo: Town Historian Bradley Harris, Debra Schwartz, Cris Damianos, Libby Smith, BJ Ervick, Jiwoong Cheh, Ivan Schwartz, Rich SmithLast Thursday, Cris Damianos invited me to join him on a trip into Brooklyn to visit the art studio where the statue of Richard Smythe is being created.  Richard Smith and his sister Libby joined us on the early morning trip to Studio EIS which took us deep into the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.  We parked along the bank of the East River within sight of the Statue of Liberty. We walked up 32ndStreet through a canyon created by six story industrial buildings until we found an entrance door marked No.68.  We entered the building and rode the freight elevator up six floors and then walked into the studio where we were greeted by members of the Schwartz family – Ivan, his brother Elliot, and his sister Debra – the owners of Studio EIS.  Entering the studio, our attention was drawn to a large clay statue that stood at the far end of the loft.  As we approached, we became aware that we were looking at a statue of Richard Smythe.  (See the photograph accompanying this article.)

A lot of people have had a hand in designing and creating this statue of the founder of Smithtown that will soon become a fixture in the center of town.  It hasn’t been easy to design when you consider the fact that we know very little about the man Richard Smythe. We have no paintings of him, no descriptions of him, and very few personal objects have survived.  I have always felt that he was a large man primarily because of his chair which is part of the Smithtown Historical Society’s collection.  The chair is actually the base of a tilt top table (that is missing its top) and has no back and a very wide seat.  Only a very large man would find it comfortable.  But the chair is rather flimsy evidence to support the view that Richard Smythe was a large man.  

A much better way of determining Richard Smythe’s size and build is to take a look at his descendants.  There are many Smiths living today who claim direct descent and many of them, that I have met, are large men, well over six feet tall, with stocky builds.  The Smith family historian, Ned Smith, has attempted to determine Richard Smythe’s physical characteristics from DNA, and has had geneticists tell him that his great, great grandfather had DNA most like that of the bull rider. He stood well over six feet tall, as did Ned’s own father and many of his uncles.  So it was decided early on that the statue would be of a man over six feet tall with a stocky build.

The creative crew: Jiwoong Cheh(Sculptor), BJ Ervick(Production manager), Debra Schwartz(Project manager), Ivan Schwartz(Director) There were many other questions that had to be answered before artists could begin to bring the statue to life.  What did Richard Smythe look like?  What were his facial features?  How did he wear his hair?  What kind of clothing would he wear?  How should he be pictured?  What would he be doing?  Fortunately, to answer these questions and many others, the Schwartz family, who own and operate Studio EIS in Brooklyn, are very experienced in creating historic statues.  Having created images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Benjamin Franklin for national museums, they knew what questions needed to be answered and they knew how a life-size bronze statue would be created and cast.

Cris Damianos found Studio EIS when he began seriously considering the creation of a bronze sculpture of Richard Smythe.  Having grown up in Stony Brook, where he attended and graduated from the Stony Brook School, Cris was steeped in the legends and lore of the Smith family.  Even so, he never truly understood why Smithtown had a statue of a bull to commemorate its founding and not even a plaque to remember the man who actually made it happen.  He decided that one day he would erect a statue in Richard Smythe’s honor and place it in the middle of town where everyone could see it and be reminded of the remarkable man who founded Smithtown in 1665. The opportunity to do just that came with the 350th anniversary of the founding of Smithtown.

After talking with his brothers about the idea of creating a statue of Richard Smythe and convincing them that an appropriate location for the statue would be in front of their building on the southeast corner of Route 111 and Main Street, the Damianos Realty Group agreed to fund the project.  Cris was delegated to find a company that could create and cast a bronze sculpture of Richard Smythe.  After meeting with several local historical experts, including Joshua Ruff and Neal Watson of the L.I. Museum, Kiernan Lannon from the Smithtown Historical Society, Richard Smith the Mayor of Nissequogue, and the Smithtown Historian, Cris decided that the project would be possible to achieve and he engaged Studio EIS to create the sculpture.  

The Schwartz family invited Cris and a bus load of guests to visit their studio to see where and how the statue would be made.  Then the Schwartzes came out to Smithtown to meet with Cris and interested parties to talk about Richard Smythe and his role in founding Smithtown.  Through these meetings and the in-put they received from historians, the Schwartzes were able to determine many things about the image to be portrayed.  Decisions were made about the size of the statue, about appropriate clothing, and how it should be posed.  It was decided that the artist would use historic photos of Smith family descendants and create a composite image that captured Richard Smythe as he might have looked in March of 1665, clutching his newly won patent for the Nesaquake lands, and proudly pointing out to all the lands he had acquired.  It was determined that he should be wearing a hat and cloak, and since this was a man who was banished from Southampton for refusing to doff his hat to the town magistrates, it was thought that his hat should be set securely on his head.  With these instructions, the Schwartzes returned to their studio in Brooklyn and their artists went to work.

Jiwoong Cheh, the resident sculptor of Studio EIS, began the work of creating a life-size clay model of Richard Smythe.  It was this clay model that we were invited to see last week.  As you can see from the accompanying photographs, the artists and sculptor have done an incredible job of rendering Richard Smythe in clay.  Only the hat and cloak have yet to be converted into clay.  Once the clay model is completed, it will be shipped out to the foundry in Arizona where the clay statue will be magically transformed into a bronze statue and returned to Brooklyn.  The Schwartzes will put the finishing touches on the statue, and by this time next year, September of 2015, the finished statue will be on its way to Smithtown just in time to be a part of the celebration of Smithtown’s 350 years of history.  

So if all goes according to plan, the statue will be in place on its pedestal, ready to be unveiled and dedicated at 10 a.m. on the morning of September 19, 2015, just in time for all those participating in the Sesquarcentennial parade to see it in the middle of town reminding everybody that it was Richard Smythe, and not the bull, who founded the Town of Smithtown.

Learn more about the Lost Wax Process used to create this statue by watching this video.