Posted on July 20, 2019
The Smithtown News – July 18, 2019
After more than a decade of dormancy, it is commendable that the Town of Smithtown is finally following through with a plan to build a road that will connect Southern Boulevard and Broadley Avenue in Smithtown.
Not only is the town finally moving ahead with this long-delayed project, but the agreement the town has reached to build this road, albeit a long time coming, is a public/private partnership that will see this work done at the least expense to taxpayers.
Almost a dozen years ago, Sider Lumber & Building Supply moved from modest digs on the north side of Middle Country Road (Route 25) to a new and spacious location that the Sider family built on the east side of Southern Boulevard, less than a quarter mile from Route 25. The lumberyard has flourished at 45 Southern Boulevard ever since.
Odd about the move back then was that when the Siders applied to build the new Southern Boulevard, store, the Town Planning Department, with former Planning Director Frank DeRubeis as the primary antagonist, insisted they also build a section of the roadway along the north side of the property. The Siders resisted at first because the road leads to nowhere, a dead end at vacant, undeveloped land.
Rather than fight, though, the Siders acquiesced to the town’s demands and built the road. You can go see it today and odd it is – a 30-foot wide road to nowhere.
Now, a decade later, the insistence of the town and the thinking of Mr. DeRubeis is going to pay off, as that will be the first section of the new road that will connect Southern Boulevard to Broadley Avenue.
The Smithtown Town Board held a public hearing Tuesday, July 16 to consider acquiring through the Eminent Domain Procedure Law, a 60-foot wide by 157-ft long strip of land along the back property line of the old Kentucky Fried Chicken property at 584 Middle Country Road. The property has been appraised at $106,000, so even if the property owner resists the town can take the land for about that amount. It is inexpensive, and there was no opposition to the proposal at the public hearing.
Taking the land will allow the town to extend the road from the end of the Sider road to nowhere, east to land owned by Damianos Realty Group, which is adjacent to The Sport Arena site. It is still more than 300 feet to Broadley Avenue, and that’s where the public/private partnership comes in.
If the town acquires the strip of land at the rear of 584 Middle Country Road, Cris Damianos has agreed to finance the construction of the road from the end of Sider Lumber property, east 157-feet across the town land and then the rest of the way across his property to Broadley Avenue.
This is a good idea in many ways, and for the town taxpayers the price is right, a little over $106,000 for a new road.
As Mr. Damianos noted this week, the advantages to this project will include safer traffic flow in the area with a secondary potential for economic development. He’s right, and it’s good that he is a landowner in this area who sees the value of this project.
The extension of the Sider road will improve the flow of traffic and it will provide access to commercial zoned land that has been isolated because of lack of adequate access.
The road will pass by the north side of The Sports Arena site on Broadley Avenue on land owned by Damianos Realty Group. Seeing success in its business, The Sports Arena has been approved for expansion.
At the public hearing on Tuesday, Town Planning Director Peter Hans said current access to The Sports Arena side from Middle Country Road via Broadley Avenue results in people making dangerous left turns to and from the property. He also pointed out, as did Mr. Damianos, that the new road will provide the potential for new development of the commercial property behind the long, narrow lots on Middle Country Road, which stretch south behind the Sider Lumber property.
Although it has gone unsaid by town planners, this project will also finally let the Siders know that the road they built more than a decade ago was actually for a reason. It has long seemed that they were taken advantage of, but now the road to nowhere is going to go somewhere.
Tip your hat to the Siders, Damianos Realty Group, the Town Planning Department for moving this forward, and the Smithtown Town Board for moving ahead with condemnation of the property that will allow this road to be built.