Town Planner: 'Power Plant Rumors Are False'

Town of Smithtown's planning director denies rumors about a proposal to build a power plant on Townline Road as a misunderstanding.

Commack residents' concerns about proposed plans for a power plant being built on Town Line Road are nothing but rumor, according to the town's planning director.

Frank DeRubeis said he's received numerous phone calls in the past week from Commack residents concerned about alleged proposal to build a power plans on Town Line Road. DeRubeis denied such plans exist.

Instead, he contributed residents' fears to a misunderstanding started when the town published legal notices for its upcoming planning board meeting on June 6. 

"The rumors got started when we posted the advertisement for zoning changes. One thing led to another, as one of the things under these changes is a piece of property that was involved with plans for a power plant eight years ago. People are thinking we're bringing it," DeRubeis said. "The town is not interested in that proposal." 

The Town of Smithtown published legal notices May 21 in The Smithtown Messenger to notify residents of public hearings on FB4 Realty's request for a change of zoning from light industrial to heavy industrial, and Carlson Associates' request for a change of zoning from light industrial to wholesale industrial and heavy industrial to be held June 6, in accordance with New York State law. 

From this, a chain email began being sent between Commack residents claiming the Town of Smithtown was considering a proposal to build a power plant on Town Line Road. 

The email, as forwarded to Patch on May 25, starts: 

A formal proposal has been submitted to build a 250 megawatt power plant on Townline Road approximately 1 mile away from Commack High School. The effects of any power plant will be detrimental. The health effects alone could be life threatening. 

The community email goes on to call for residents to attend the June 6 Planning Board meeting at 8 p.m. to protest the zoning changes stating:

On the agenda is the review of the request for a zoning change from light industrial to heavy industrial. Without this zone change the power plant can't go forward. 

The chain email was not signed when received by Patch, and its initial source could not be traced. 

DeRubeis said the individual who started this email has misunderstood the issues at stake during the June 6 meeting. He said the FB4 Realty property, south of Old Northport Road, was once the site listed in a former power plant proposal submitted by KeySpan, before the electrical utility became Long Island Power Authority. However, that project was rejected by the town. 

"When we testified on the proposed power plan, we said it was too close to residential neighborhoods and we will not support it on their site," DeRubeis said. "The town board has indicated to me that they have not changed their minds." 

LIPA issued a request for proposals approximately 14 months ago, according to DeRubeis, searching to build a new power plant on Long Island. There were 18 locations considered including two in the Town of Smithtown area,  one near Carlson's properties in Kings Park. Four months ago, LIPA whittled the list of 18 potential sites down to 6, with a Carlson property still in the running. 

"They are currently doing evaluation to whittle that list down to possibly three sites," DeRubeis said. "At this particular time, there is not specific site plan that has been put forth. It's all a conception where this plant may be located." 

Mark Gross, a spokesman for LIPA, said the utility company is not ready to discuss any plans being submitted for a power plant at this time, but LIPA will " probably be ready to discuss it sometime this fall." 

Meanwhile, the public hearings schedule for next Thursday are an effort by property owner Toby Carlson and multiple others along Old Northport Road and Town Line road, that have multiple violations with regard to industrial activity, to legalize their current use of the land and businesses, DeRubeis said. 

Kings Park residents have made coming from several of the businesses run off Old Northport Road in Kings Park. 

DeRubeis said he felt the public hearings are important for residents to attend, to gain an understanding of what heavy industrial zoning could mean for the future of that section of Kings Park.

"I've invited anyone who want to come in and look at the applications. Just give us a courtesy call in advance as the files are on someone's desk," he said. 

If a zone change is approved to heavy industrial, it would not allow for a power plant to be built on the land, according to DeRubeis. A power plant can be built on any parcel of land because it's a public utility, regardless of zoning, as long as the builders obtain a special permit from the town board. 

susan r May 31, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Check out this link if you don't have enough reason already to attend the June 6th meeting!!! http://kingspark.patch.com/articles/strong-odors-raising-concerns-among-kings-park-residents
susan r May 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM
If this community does not show up at that meeting on June 6th at the senior center in smithtown and let them know that you do not want the area changed to heavy industrial then I assure that our newest member of the community will now be a POWER PLANT - I want to be known for our blue ribbon school district! BTW don't forget the 18 wheelers that will be driving down townline road in front of our blue ribbon schools carry thousands of gallons of back up fuel for the plant! School buses and 18 wheelers carrying fuel, what a combination -ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! (Don't be fooled either by them saying Kings Park, it is a stone throw from where they wanted to build the plant years ago - and guess what we all breathe the same air!!!
Re May 31, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Both civic groups are trying to deal with this issue. Regarding the blue ribbon schools -that award is around 17 years old. It hardly matters anymore as they never won it again.
susan r May 31, 2012 at 11:46 AM
If the community does not get involved and just leaves the whole responsibility to the civic groups that is unfair. If 10 people show up from the civic groups for the meeting on June 6th versus 500 from the community which do you think is going to hold more weight ????????? As for the blue ribbon, my mistake. I still do not want any tractor trailers racing past these schools every ten minutes - we have enough of that now!
Gigi May 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Gigi May 31, 2012 at 12:00 PM
We should all support the civic groups - they are the watch dogs of our community but they need help from all of us especially with stuff like this.
Gigi May 31, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Commack High School was just named as one of the top 100 high schools in the US. That's pretty damn impressive if you ask me. Just sayin'
susan r May 31, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I agree Gigi - why do you think all of a sudden they want the zoning changed to heavy industrial????????? (duhhhhh, power plants have to be zoned in heavy industrial areas) Something really stinks here!!!!!!
Gigi May 31, 2012 at 12:08 PM
The FB4 property listed in the article is where they wanted to put the power plant years ago. It was inappropriate then because it was so close to homes and schools. It is still too close to homes and schools to be given heavy industry zoning. Same thing goes for Carlson's property - which is located right by all the homes in Fort Salonga. That whole area should be zoned at the most for light industry and the town should only let businesses in there that do not harm the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Look at the Hauppauge industrial park...that would be fine near residential neighborhoods.
Sean Lehmann May 31, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Susan and Gigi. I understand your concerns, especially since you both reside in Commack. Unfortunately,your facts are incorrect. You do not need HI designation for a power plant. Please check this out. If you said that there were 6 proposals for power plants in the Town of Smithtown, and some of them were on the Kings Park side of Old Northport Rd., than that is correct. I believe there was one on the Huntington side as well. I know that LIPA told one developer on the Kings Park side that the parcel was too small. Other than that, there has been no word on any other site. This has been stirred up because one developer was down at town hall one day saying that he believed his proposal would make the next round because it was not eliminated from the list at that time. A local newspaper picked up on this and has been saying that the Carlson property is on the list of six finalists, yet LIPA has not released any list or made any statements. Unfortunately, a couple of community organizations outside of Kings Park have been stating that the current zoning application has everything to do with a power plant which it does not. It would be irresponsible to focus on a power plant on this zoning application. This application is about 6 property owners trying to get HI or HI/WSI on their parcels. If this is allowed, look for more asphalt plants, not power plants. Again, please check your facts. HI designation is not currently needed for a power plant. Check your facts.
GLENN May 31, 2012 at 01:58 PM
No one should be down playing this, that will only make people stay home everyone needs attend this meeting.
Sean Lehmann May 31, 2012 at 02:19 PM
You're right Ann Marie. There should be no downplaying this. This zoning application is not good and everyone should learn what it is really about and come out against it.
Gigi May 31, 2012 at 02:46 PM
@ Sean Lehmann - I never mentioned anything about a power plant needing heavy industry zoning on this thread so I don't know why you are instructing me to check my facts. I did express my opinion that heavy industry zoning does not belong near residential areas. A power plant would need special approval from the Town of Smithtown Board. What really would be irresponsible would be to sanction the flagrant disregard these businesses have shown to their present zoning laws by allowing them to convert their properties to heavy industry. Several other people said the same thing earlier in the thread. I agree with them. Just as an aside though - don't you think the Town of Smithtown Board would have an easier time saying yes to a power plant proposal on a site zoned for heavy industry than a site that has a residential or light industry designation? Ultimately though whether it's a power plant or an asphalt business it still doesn't belong so close to homes & schools. That's my opinion.
Sean Lehmann May 31, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Gigi. I attributed this statement as you agreeing with Susan's statements: "The FB4 property listed in the article is where they wanted to put the power plant years ago. It was inappropriate then because it was so close to homes and schools. It is still too close to homes and schools to be given heavy industry zoning. Same thing goes for Carlson's property" If I misunderstood, then I was wrong. People should still learn the facts. We both agree that these zoning applications are not good and that the area should be zoned correctly. I appreciate your support for the civics. BTW, you sound just like friend one of our friends. I'll see you there on the 6th where we will both be speaking against the zoning applications.
susan r May 31, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Ok Sean I checked my facts and you are correct it does not need to be changed to heavy industrial (which is ridiculous that a power plant would not need that.) I still believe that a change of zoning is bad for the community and would make it easier for a power plant to be come in my neighborhood. I really feel that this plan has been set in motion and the community has to do whatever it can to stop it. It would be a lot harder to build a power plant in my backyard then in an industrial area. Nothing good can come from a change in zoning, it might not stop their plan right off the bat but it sure sends a message that the community is on top of it and is not going to let the area be decimated any further. The area is already overburdened, why give them permission to continue the business's that are polluting the area? It makes no sense at all.
Sean Lehmann May 31, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Susan, I agree that we need to stop these zoning applications. Lets oppose these applications for the many uses that can fall under HI.
Skakmati May 31, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Please turn your caps lock off.....you are shouting!
Re May 31, 2012 at 09:52 PM
This matter will be discussed at the civic group meeting tonight 7pm at the Indian head rd library. You are correct --- more folks than the civic's representatives need to show up at these meetings. The power to protest issues is still with all the citizens and voters of any town. Very glad you are involved.
new guy May 31, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Keep in mind this property is a perfect location because of its proximity to the Iroquois gas line. It's a very easy hook up for the power plant.
Re June 01, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Following is a link about this situation and how Port Jefferson wants to continue to be the site of this new expansion of a power plant http://portjefferson.patch.com/articles/letter-update-on-lipa-power-plant-from-mayor-s-office
SueDit June 01, 2012 at 03:48 AM
We should be aware that where there is smoke there is fire. Naturally they would want to calm our fears in advance of zoning changes but we learned with the Townline Jet fuel project and again with Shell oil's LNG dock in the Sound, not to be taken in once again.
Smithtown is Dirty June 01, 2012 at 06:41 AM
In conversations residents have had with Dereubis, he has admitted that our wonderful Smithtown Board was approached by LIPA and are remaining neutral with regards to a power plant (sound familiar -- they were the last to help in our fight against PPL -- actually after Connataro was voted out because of his arrogant meeting with residents about the powerplant, our town board ran scared and as Townline began to become a political force they did finally come out against it. But most of us remember all of the town board meetings that took place before we organized ourselves and fought against PPL.
Smithtown is Dirty June 01, 2012 at 06:52 AM
The only thing the town requested of LIPA was that they comply with ensuring a plant is placed a 1/4 of a mile from residences -- which I believe the old PPL sight was not and someone from townline can confirm for us was one of the reasons the site was rejected and Townline won? ??? Dereubis also told residents that there are parties in Smithtown that are for the power plant! So Deruebis comments that the power plant is a RUMOR sound like a concerted effort to not have people show up at the planning board meeting. Time to remember the power of the pen and how powerful our votes are and start letting our poltiicians know that we are not going to allow these businesses to continue to carry on their activities. Smithtown blames the DEC,. Let the Town Council know we want this area cleaned up or we will vote in people that will look out for our community FYI, the planning board are appointments and Suffolk County's Planning Board is recommending the approval of this rezoning see the link below: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Portals/0/planning/SCPlanningCommission/2012/SCPCntcmtg040412re.pdf They must really think we are stupid, or they forgot just how quickly Commack organized our Defenses. THIS IS NOT A RUMOR, THE CARLSON PROPERTY IS ONE OF THE SITES THAT LIPA IS CONSIDERING. HAVEN'T THEY PROFITED ENOUGH OFF OF OUR COMMUNITY WITH THE SANDMINING THE TOWN LET THEM GET AWAY WITH.
GLENN June 01, 2012 at 11:41 AM
susan r June 01, 2012 at 11:59 AM
AMEN!!!!! WE need HUNDREDS of people to show up at the June 6th meeting, we need to show the board what they are up against. People, don't rely on other people to show up - YOU need to show up it's the only way we are going to make a difference. THERE IS POWER IN NUMBERS!!!!!!!!! June 6th - 8pm senior center in smithtown - for the love of GOD people protect our community!!
Richard June 01, 2012 at 01:25 PM
This and other local topics were discussed last evening at the Commack Community Association meeting. You are correct, there is strength in numbers. Please go to http://www.commackcommunityassociation.org/ and become a member of the organization. An organization with large membership has the weight to be heard loudly and get things done. Become a full member for $15 a year or an Associate member for FREE!
Richard June 06, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Not so fast Mr DeRubeis....Seems like plans are in the works - see the documents https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3cbjRc1NY_pZkJqV1BVU1NqR0U
Gigi June 09, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Richard that is a dead link. However, I was at the meeting the other night and saw with my own two eyes the Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. proposal for a 400 megawatt gas/oil fired power plant to be built on a 14 acre parcel of land on the Carlson property! Someone stood up with it in hand and confronted DeRubeis and he finally had to admit that while the proposal hasn't crossed his desk it has been submitted to LIPA and it has been discussed with the Town of Smithtown Board members. This plant would store thousands of gallons of petroleum distillate on site as a back up fuel in case there is a problem with the gas supply (or if natural gas becomes more expensive they could always switch to running it on oil). The problem with storing all that oil is that Carlson's property is located in a very sensitive deep recharge area of the aquifer - the sole source of drinking water for Long Island. That area has been designated that by the Suffolk Co. Dept. of Health and there are strict laws that prohibit the bulk storage of hazardous materials there. Getting back to the liar (DeRubeis) and greedy sociopaths (the Carlsons) - they sure got exposed for what they are on Wednesday night. How dare they lie to all of us? They should be ashamed of themselves.
Richard June 09, 2012 at 03:25 AM
You can try this link - Page 8 shoes the location map https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3cbjRc1NY_pZkJqV1BVU1NqR0U/edit
Gigi June 09, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Thank you Richard....this new link works. OMG their proposed site is almost right on top of all the homes on Glen Lane and all the homes on Pulaski Road. It also says that they did an exclusive option on the land in March 2011, That's 15 months ago. The Town Board members have known about this plan for at least 15 months and the Carlsons entered into this agreement with the power plant company 15 months ago!!! They are despicable people - Toby Carlson stood up and told everyone what a wonderful man of Kings Park he was because he eats lunch at Anderson Deli every day....what a guy...really keeping the local economy going w/ his sandwich consumption. They don't give a damn about being good neighbors. They've been polluting the environment with their noxious businesses for years, they've disregarded the law, they've scoffed at the neighbors when they complain of the smells and noise. They continue breaking the law even after the DEC fined them. They could really care less about anyone but themselves. Make no mistake - they're in it for the money.....the hell with the people who have invested in their homes and just want to make a nice life for their families. They suck....and so do the people that defend them on here.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something