Clarification: The previous owners of property at 110 Old Northport Road was Carbro Industries, which is a different corporate entity than previous reported Carlson Associates.
More than a dozen residents spoke out against a Kings Park company's continued operation of a pre-cast concrete business on Old Northport Road Tuesday night before Town of Smithtown's Board of Zoning Appeals.
Property owners KPE II of Westbury appeared before the BZA seeking a certificate of existing use for its non-conforming pre-cast concrete business on land zoned Light Industrial at 110 Old Northport Road. John Armentano, a Uniondale-based attorney representing KPE, said concrete manufacturing and related uses have been performed on the property since the 1950s.
"We're looking for a certificate of existing use that pre-dates the town's zoning codes. The use of concrete manufacturing was not permitted based on a zoning ammendment in 1968, but these uses have gone on quite a bit before that," Armentano said.
However, residents say KPE's recent use of the property after years of inactivity on the site have created noise and odor issues, significantly impacting their quality of life.
"In my own backyard I hear loud booms that sound like explosions late into the evening," said Commack resident Daryl Goodman.
Homeowners along Annandale Drive said Carbro Industries, previous owners of the site until 2011, had gradually discontinued many of its manufacturing activities and never performed as much concrete crushing, never had the same volume of trucking traffic that KPE seeks.
Under Smithtown town code, planner David Flynn said if a person or business with a legal non-conforming use abandons operation for more than 12 consecutive months, it can not continue.
"I can tell you with 100 percent certainty it was abandoned, the use discontinued and nothing was going on. Trucks were not rolling in. I actually walked down to the property and inquired about the purchase price," said Commack resident Steven Silverman.
The owners of Carbro Industries, had filed a request for a change of zoning from Light Industrial to Residential with the Town of Smithtown in 2006, hoping to initally sell to a housing developer.
Armentano said Carlsons' reduction of business as they prepare to shut down and sell the property is not abandonment, which is complete intentional cessation' according to New York State Law.
"A dwindling of an operation is not complete cessation, you need 100 percent stoppage. Even though the operations are not as loud as they once were, the Carlsons - the prior owners - were still operating, selling materials and working on the site" KPE's attorney said.
However, Arementano said he has not seen any business records from the Carlsons for 2008 - 2011. The burden of proof to show continuous industrial use of the site falls on KPE based on previous Smithtown Zoning Board decision, according to Flynn.
Others argued that KPE's intended uses of the property for pre-cast concrete cesspool manufacturing, a concrete manufacturing plant, trucks and heavy equipment repair and storage, recycling broken concrete and concrete crushing are different from the Carlsons' business.
"I can assure you that the use I had witnessed growing up and being in the area is certainly not the use that is going on there now. Carlson use may have been ancillary stockpiling, trucking and things that went with manufacturing of cesspool ring," said Anthony Tanzi, BZA member and Kings Park resident. "It seems the primary use has become rock crushing, trucking."
Armentano said under the Carlsons' the property had several primary uses from pre-cast concrete cesspool rings and concrete manufacturing to wielding and its offices.
Flynn said the issue of whether or not some of KPE's 12 uses requested were originally only accessory or secondary uses could have an impact on whether KPE gets its certificate of existing use.
"In this case, the Board's role is sort of like a jury, and this is a trial of fact. They will be looking at conflicting testimony and weighing it," he said.
Both Commack Civic Association and the Townline Road Association representatives made statements that they are opposed to KPE getting a certificate of existing use for their business. Both civic groups are afraid what impact it could have on pending zoning appeals for nearby property owners.