Smithtown Town officials are preparing to go to court to put an end to illegal business practices along Old Northport Road in Kings Park, near Commack, but admit while there's a stench in the air – they don't know where it's coming from.
Kings Park and Commack residents packed the Smithtown Town Board meeting on Thursday night to complain about ongoing odor issues that have become nearly unbearable and get a course of action.
"The area has become a dump and I'm sure it is hazardous to people's health, which we will find out down the road," said Kings Park resident Michelle Garry. "All summer long, in the early spring and fall, I keep all my doors and windows closed because the smell was so horrifying."
While Town attorney John Zollo said his office has not received many complaints from residents about odors in Kings Park, Smithtown Planning Director Frank DeRubeis has first-hand experience.
" I will acknowledge having been in that area there are odors – I acknowledge that – but where they are coming from, I don't know," DeRubeis said.
The planning director said his staff has learned Toby Carlson has taken in debris from Hurricane Sandy and at the Gesuale site, located off Lawrence Road, has been composting materials on the rear part of his property, which could be emitting odors.
Gesuale received a warning letter from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in December 2012 warning the owner to stop taking in vegetative debris and to submit a plan to better manage the material already on site.
Other property owners DeRubeis believes could be responsible for creating the stench in Kings Park include KPE II, who has dumped fill into its property, and Raleigh's Poultry Farm, who he said does a "considerable amount of composting."
"It was apparent the odors from that fill on KPE II's property was rather pungent to say the least," DeRubeis said of a recent visit.
Zollo said the town is attempting to crack down on some of the illegal business practices happening in the so-called Kings Park industrial area that may be responsible for the odors. He will go to court Jan. 29 to seek an injunctions against Jesco and KPE II.
In March 2012, the town's public safety department issued two summonses to KPE II for violations of conducting illegal business practices under the town zoning code. Under an agreement reached June 2012, the business owner filed for a certificate to existing use to authority 13 uses of the property iincluding concrete manufacturing, heavy truck maintenance, and concrete and rock crushing. The Board of Zoning appeals held a public hearing on Nov. 15 where residents complained of noise and traffic issues, and has not made a decision.
"We believe since filing with the Board of Zoning appeals they hae exceeded these activities on their site," Zollo said.
The town has built a similar case against Jesco, who has a DEC registration to bring materials onto the property that were not in accordance with town's zoning code, according to Zollo.
These DEC permits do have a limitation "as long as compliance with town code" written on them, according to DeRubeis and Zollo, but it often doesn't hold up.
"When we deal with enforcement here at a town level, we have our hands tied. When we do go in to court on violations - and I've been to court several times - the judge sees there's a DEC permit and they don't read it," DeRubeis said.
If the court grants injunction against these two Kings Park businesses supporting the town's efforts to stop illegal businesses, the town will be responsible for enforcing it. The next step would be to file for a contempt of court, according to Zollo.
"We are in certain respects being dumped on, no pun intended, by the DEC," he said.
Residents who are concerned about odors in the Kings Park area were encouraged to contact Zollo's office at 631-360-7570.