Home Wanted

Smithtown Animal Shelter

WANTED:  WARM LOVING HOMES !!!

Ramsey – Shepherd mix 5 years old Male/Neutered up to date with shots. Ramsey is a real gentleman, affectionate, likes to play and go for walks.

 

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
Jul192014

Local And State Officials Meet With KP Bluff Advocate Pamela Schmidt

By Dana Klosner

(click on photos to enlarge)

Pamela SchmidtLooks like good news for those interested in restoring the Kings Park Bluff. Last Monday, representatives from the Town of Smithtown, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick and several community associations all met to discuss the remediation plans for the Kings Park Bluff. The meeting was called by community activist Pamela Mary Schmidt who recently started a web page called, “A Voice for the Bluff.” Schmidt and her web page advocate for federal and state funding to restore the Kings Park Bluff and prevent further erosion.

“It was a highly productive meeting,” Schmidt said. “It clarified that the Bluff is part of Sunken Meadow State Park, minus a ‘dead’ area that nobody owns, apparently. All who were present agreed to pursue identification of all agency stakeholders so that a view can be established to develop a comprehensive management plan for the mouth of the Nissequogue River.”

Kings Park Bluff photo submitted by P. SchmidtBut just because it’s been deemed part of Sunken Meadow Park doesn’t mean it is known exactly who is responsible for maintaining the Bluff.

“We have to look at the agreement with the Town of Smithtown,” said Wayne Horsley regional director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. “There was an agreement with Smithtown that they would have responsibility. We don’t know what exactly those responsibilities are.”

The result of Monday’s meeting is yet another meeting that will be held in September. That meeting will involve Assemblyman Fitzpatrick, Senator Flanagan, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife and all the different constituencies involved in maintaining the Bluff, Horsley said.

“We all care to restore the Bluff,” Horsley said. “Whatever decision is made, Russell Barnett (director of Smithtown’s Department of Environment and Waterways) said the public brought five or six ideas to him on how to maintain the Bluff and they are all very different.”

For Schmidt, the idea that everyone is working together to save the Bluff is very good news. 

“I’ve been going to the Bluff my whole life as many of us have that live in Kings Park,” she said. “We have so Erosion prevention methods include rocks and a cage like barrier to hold rocks in placemany memories that define our identity. We watched the erosion and attempts at restorations efforts. We saw the devastating effects [Superstorm] Sandy had on top of years of erosion. It’s not just the effects of Sandy. Sandy just put it over the edge. I wanted to try to do something to protect what we have left. That’s why I built my Facebook page which has been getting community support via organizations and individuals.”

For the last 11 years, Schmidt has been King Park Bluff Beach Captain for the International Coastal Cleanup day.

“I wanted to advocate for funding to preserve what we have left of the Bluff.”

There has been $7.5 million in federal funding allocated for coastal resiliency projects on Long Island, including $2.5 million for Sunken Meadow State Park, she said.

The funding comes from Sandy coastal resiliency grants program that’s administered by the US Department of the Interior – DOI. 

“My question is why can’t the Bluff get part of that,” she said. “I want the Bluff to get part of that funding.”

“We want to reduce our community’s vulnerability to increasing occurrence of coastal storms flooding and erosion,” she said. 

Schmidt questions decisions that have been made regarding the restoration of the Bluff in the past.

In June 2002 the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) agreed to approve a geotube to stabilize the Bluff, she said. A geotube is a hard structure as opposed to soft stabilization such as sand and planting. In 2003 a notice was given that a geotube would be excessive and not necessary. Later in December of 2003 a permit was granted for stabilization of the Bluff with no geotube, just soft attempts at remediation. Although the town was required to remove some boulders in order to receive the permit.

In March 2004 a grant of $112,000 was provided by the Empire State Development Corporation to regrade the slope, put plantings in and move the parking lot back.

But the erosion continued due to the fact that there was not enough hard structural remediation, plantings, some rocks and sand has not helped. All that washed away with Sandy, she said. 

“This is not just about money,” she said. “It’s about preserving memories of generations, past, present and future. “

The bluff project is not Schmidt’s only passion.

Schmidt is a Special Education and English teacher at Freeport High School. She also writes curriculum for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and the Center for Gifted Youth at Long Island University/C.W. Post College. 

Several years ago after writing curriculum for the Robert F. Kennedy Center she created a project called “The Voice of Potential.” It is an educational program that facilitates human rights education and art to promote self-sustainability between the collaboration of students in the US and children removed from exploitative labor in Nepal, Africa and Haiti.

photo courtesy of P. SchmidtShe’s been to Haiti 10 times in the last four years. This summer will be her 11th trip to Zami-Beni Orphanage in Port Au Prince Haiti and the third trip to the Hamor Ghar Transit Home in Katmandu, Nepal with children recently removed from exploitative labor in the rug industry. 

“When I return from Africa I’m going to have them [her students] do the bracelet project in all three locations,” she said. 

In the bracelet project students raise awareness about the specific global issue and sell bracelets, each person who purchases a bracelet receive their name on a “drop” of water. Each drop represents one dollar. If bracelets are sold for 5 dollars each, then that person has their name written on 5 drops. The drops build a “wave” on a hallway in the school to represent Robert F. Kennedy’s “Ripple of Hope” quote stating that each individual coming together can make a difference in the world. 

The project has helped to fund a Hydroponic Fish Farm at the orphanage in Africa. In Haiti it helped build a bakery and in Nepal it went to children’s education.

Schmidt’s students at Freeport High School won Newsday’s Future Corps award for selling the bracelets. The money they raised went to children rescued from exploitative labor in Nepal and to the Interfaith Nutritional Network of Freeport. 

Schmidt has recently been accepted into the Doctorate program of Interdisciplinary Education at LIU/CW Post College.

Monday
Jul072014

Construction On Rte. 347 - A Huge Investment By NYS

By Dana Klosner

westbound traffic on Rte. 347 during constructionIf you live in Smithtown you probably have noticed the construction project on NY Route 347 between Route 111 and Mt. Pleasant Road. The project is the second in a series of NY Route 347 corridor projects planned to improve safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians and to reduce travel delays. According to a 2013 press release from Governor Cuomo, the plan calls for transforming NY Route 347 into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles through Smithtown, Islip and Brookhaven.

This is a big project requiring an investment in time and money. According to the Governor’s press release, the project, between NY Route 111 and Mount Pleasant Road, is the largest transportation design-built project on Long Island. 

The history of the project is simple.

The current features of NY 347 are inadequate to handle the significant volumes of motorists and trucks that now use the roadway, which was constructed in the 1960, according to Eileen W. Peters, Public Information Officer for NYS Department of Transportation Long Island, Region 10. In 1969, an average of 48,000 vehicles per day used NY Route 347. Presently there are an estimated 71,000 vehicles per day using this road.

When the stretch between NY Route 111 and Mt. Pleasant Road is completed there will be three full travel lanes in each direction, a multi-use “greenway” for pedestrians and bicyclists, a planted, decorative center median, new high visibility crosswalks, signals and pedestrian countdown timers and LED traffic signals, according to NYSDOT Region 10.  

sound barrier (wall)The first project between the NY Routes 454/347 split and NY Route 111 was completed last year. Work already completed on this second project between NY Route 111 and Mt. Pleasant Road includes the completion of about 50% of the drainage improvement work, clearing of vegetation, relocation of utilities, substantial installation work of sound walls on the north side, some curb work and sound wall construction begun on the south side.

The constuction of sound walls from Rte. 111 to Mt. Pleasant Rd. on the North and South sides has begun.  Eastbound (south side) sound walls end at Plaisted Avenue, and the westbound (north side) sound walls end just west of Mt. Pleasant Rd. and the 7-11 store.

Still to be done includes road widening, installation of center medians similar to the section to the west, construction of the greenway, landscaping, construction of the shared-use path on the south side and sidewalks on the north side, installation of new bio-retention basins on the south side and a “green stop” resting area similar to the section to the west.

To minimize the impact on commuters, lane closures are permitted only at night and during off-peak, midday hours. Access to business is being maintained. 

All of this will cost $30.5 million and will be completed in about one more year. 

Sunday
Jul062014

Sports Complex In Kings Park On BZA Agenda For Public Hearing July 8th

By Chris Biancaniello

The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) will be in session Tuesday evening at 7pm at the Smithtown Senior Citizen Center, 420 Middle Country Rd., Smithtown. On the agenda is a public hearing for Prospect Sports LLC’s proposal to build a sports complex in Kings Park. Prospect Sports is proposing the complex on a 44.45 acre parcel of previously sand mined property. The site is accessible on Old Northport Rd. and is located in an area zoned for LI (Light Industry).  The proposed sports complex is an acceptable use as a special exception in LI. Special Exceptions are granted by the Town Board. 

The property now vacant has been sand mined by its previous owner. To the north of the property are single-family dwellings, to the east a golf driving range and townhouse development. To the south is the Town’s landfill and a precast concrete manufacturer and to the west is an uncapped landfill. In addition to the Special Exception, Prospect Sports requires several variances which make a public hearing by the BZA necessary. 

Prospect Sports is requesting:

A variance to reduce minimum lot frontage at setback line from 100 ft to 52 ft.

Waive standards that requires recreational uses to be in permanent structures and that such activity not exceed the area of the principal building.

Waive the standards that requires adequate parking and that requires compliance with the height requirements (proposed buildings-60ft.& 52ft height)

Waive the standard that outdoor lighting does not exceed 18ft. in height-to 60ft. for 55 light poles

Variance to increase the height of buildings from 35 ft. to 60 ft. (two 52 ft. bldgs. & one 60ft bldg)

Increase height of accessory structure from 18ft. to 65ft. (55 proposed light poles)

Increase height of accessory structure from 18 ft. to 25 ft. (proposed 25 poles)

Increase height of accessory structure from 18 ft. to 25 ft. (proposed 25ft. high fences)

Reduce min. required parking spaces from 2,476 to 1,038

Reduce number of parking landscape islands from 126 to 0

Increase the height of retaining walls from 6ft. to 23 ft.

Reduce the setback of a 23 Ft. high retaining wall from the lot line from 23 ft. to 3 ft,

Reduce the min. required number of truck loading spaces from 5 to 0

Front yard landscaping from 80 percent to 30 percent

Variance to the requirement that any outdoor lighting shall be limited to the illumination of buildings for security purposes and the lighting of parking areas and accessway. (5 ball fields).

The site, which once housed a sand mining operation, is considered blighted by many.  Currently there have been reports of people using the site with dirt bikes, atv’s etc. At the April 25, 2014 Public Hearing for the Special Exception, Kings Park Civic association leader Sean Lehmann supported the proposal stating “We believe that recreational, training and office use is a much more benign reuse of the site than the surrounding heavy industrial type uses in the area. We acknowledge that there are some concerns such as lighting, noise and hours of operation, but we are confident that our town representatives and the applicant can work on a reasonable solution. The potential to protect local residents from another obnoxious use, create local jobs, and increase in our tax base, stimulus for our local businesses and much needed playing fields and training for our youth leagues are all positives.”

There are issues that need to be addressed before everyone is comfortable with the sports complex proposal. Although the Planning Department has not received a lot of calls on the proposal, lighting, traffic and noise are areas of concern for some nearby residents. One resident who preferred not to be named stated, “There are concerns about the traffic, noise and lighting at the site that concern me.  I will reserve judgement until I hear how the town is planning on dealing with these concerns.” 

Tuesday’s BZA meeting begins at 7pm on Tuesday, July 8. The public is welcome to attend and there will be the opportunity to proffer comments and questions.  

Information about the cancellation/postponement of the meeting is available at Smithtown’s Planning Department 631-360-7540. 

Tuesday
Jul012014

Political Or Economical - Residents May Get To Decide Fate Of Elected Positions

By Chris Biancaniello

Supervisor Patrick Vecchio Swearing In ceremony Jan. 2014Supervisor Patrick Vecchio is looking into a possible public referendum to decide whether the positions of Town Receiver of Taxes, and Town Clerk should be changed from elected positions to appointed ones. According to Supervisor Vecchio, the proposal is being considered to save the town some $225,000 and is recommended in a 2008 report by the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness.

In a conversation with Smithtown Matters last month, the 36-year incumbent talked about NY State’s 2 percent cap on tax increases for municipal budgets and how challenging it is to put together a realistic budget and remain within the cap. He predicts that governments at all levels will be looking for creative methods to remain under the cap. 

Town Clerk Vincent Puleo Town Bd. Meeting Feb. 2014Vecchio acknowledged that some may see this as a political move as both Receiver of Taxes Deanna Varrichio, and Town Clerk Vincent Puleo supported his oppenent in the last election. He denies that this proposal is political, declaring that he is just looking to cut costs wherever he can with minimum impact to the taxpayers. He does not believe that the proposal infringes on the democratic process due to the fact that the proposed change must go before residents (tax payers)  in a public referendum. Residents will get to vote in support or opposition to the iniative in a public referendum. 

Not everyone agrees.  “I don’t know where he gets off saying he’s going to save money!” says Puleo. “We take in over $650,000 and touch over 20,000 people. There are 11 towns [in New York] that have over 100,00 people and they all have elected officials. I’ve saved this office $6-700,000 over the past nine years. There’s no initiative for someone who is appointed to do the same. All of the hits that are being thrown my way, they don’t consider the people in my office. Come in and you will see the level of professionalism we display.”

Issues between Vecchio and Puleo go beyond who Puleo supported in the election,  recently there was controversy surrounding the fact that both Supervisor Vecchio and Councilwoman Lynne Nowick failed to turn in the required signed oath of office verifying their acceptance of their positions. The failure to turn them in resulted in the Town Clerk Puleo declaring the positions vacant . Vecchio and Nowick were appointed by the three remaining council members to a one year term (maximum allowed by law). An election to fill the remaining three year term was to take place this November; however, the state stepped in passing legislation that rendered such an election unnecessary. Some attribute these problem to Mr. Puleo because in the past the Clerk’s office made sure the the oaths were signed and filed. A job Puleo says he is not required too.

As for the position of Receiver of Taxes, Puleo says, “Are you going to replace Deanna with someone who is making less? Are you going to put someone in with less experience?” He believes it is unclear that these cuts will even save money. 

Councilman Creighton - June 2014Councilman Creighton is infuriated by the idea that because people supported him, they will have to pay for it with their jobs now some 6 years after the State report came out, “Mr. Vecchio was just saved by the will of the people, and now he’s trying to disenfranchise them. It is absolutely and positively a political move, he would never have touched these positions in the past.” Councilman Creighton did not mince words when he said Vecchio’s proposal is, “Vindictive, arrogant, stupid, unnecessary, and it will not save a dime.”

If there is to be a referendum on the Supervisor’s proposal in November, Town Attorney Matt Jakubowski will need to work quickly to create the legislation.  Once the legislation is created a majority of the Board members will need to support the idea before it can be decided by voters in November.

 

 

 

Friday
Jun272014

Town Of Smithtown - RTE. 347 Eastbound Lane Closure June 30 - July 4

Lane Closures: Route 347 June 30th - July 4th 2014

 Daytime Closures: 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Monday - Thursday One eastbound lane between Route 111 and Mount Pleasant Road

All closures are weather dependent