Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Commack is looking to Town of Smithtown officials for permission to expand its facilities.
The cancer treatment center is planning to build 37,275-square-foot expansion to its facilities off Commack Road. In order to do so, Memorial Sloan-Kettering will need approval from town officials to lift six building restrictions placed on the property when a change of zoning was approved in 1999.
"Currently, the center is challenged to meet the demand for services in Suffolk County, resulting in lengthy wait times and limited opportunities to enhance services," said the hospital's representative.
The Commack cancer center is one of five regional facilities that Memorial Sloan-Kettering operates on Long island to provide treatment to patients without a lengthy travel into New York City.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering's current Commack facilities are 62,725 square feet, so the proposed expansion will increase its size by 50 percent. In addition to the expansion, the proposal includes increase the overall height by building upwards to preserve the surrounding woodlands and increasing the number of paved parking spaces.
In order to build, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has asked Smithtown Town board to lift 6 restrictive covenants placed on the property. The first allows a reduction of 3.16 natural acres to 2.91 undeveloped acres of land to increase its parking spaces.
The second is to lift a restriction on maximum gross floor area of 65,000 square feet, as the addition would bring the cancer center's size to 90,000 square feet. It would also have to increase the maximum height from 35 feet to a possible 54 feet, as the proposed three-story structure would need additional space for machinery such as heating-air conditioning units on the roof.
Other limitations the non-profit cancer treatment facility is askign be removed include limitations on waste water per day as it has its own sewage treatment center on site and a cap on hazardous or toxic materials, claiming it's a non-issue.
Lastly, Memorial Sloan-Kettering's attorney said the cancer center would like the town to review the limitation of 250-square feet of medical laboratory space claiming its too restrictive for treatment and studies happening in Commack.
Supervisor Patrick Vecchio asked the medical group if the limitations are lifted to allow expansion, would they consider offering a pilot payment to the town. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is currently exempt from property taxes.
Otherwise, Vecchio said given the location of the medical facility he is willing to approve the expansion and believes the town board will support necessary changes for the project to over forward.