The Smithtown Town Board has unveiled a draft of its comprehensive plan aimed at setting a town-wide trajectory for decades to come, with an emphasis on the downtown districts.

This is the first comprehensive plan for the town in over 60 years.

The last plan was adopted in 1957. The Town Board is expected to approve a plan this coming spring.

The draft for this master plan comes in collaboration with consultants H2M Engineers, an architectural and engineer firm based in Melville. 

Based on public responses thus far, the major component involves replacing the Central Business District with specific downtown districts tailored to particular hamlets, said Jeff Janota of H2M.

Above all, this means making these areas more walkable and pedestrian-friendly for shopping, dining, and other community activities. 

“We want to make sure that their concerns are heard,” Janota said of the input from the various communities. “Every hamlet has its own identity.”

In place of the town’s Central Business districts, the following would be created:

  • Transit Village (TV) District in downtown Smithtown
  • Lake Avenue District in downtown St. James
  • Transition District Core District and Transit-Oriented Development District in downtown Kings Park
  • Nesconset Core (NC) along Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset 

All items outlined in the plan were based on a nine-month public survey, which saw 1,259 survey participants and over 77,000 responses. There were also six community workshops conducted from March through April. 

Land use, circulation, community facilities, sustainability and capital improvement were all closely examined.

The downtown recommendations include mixed-use buildings, embracement of arts and culture, public space, different types of housing units, high-tech office spaces, and more.

Some concerns brought up by the public included property taxes, access to parks and recreation, traffic and pedestrian bicycle safety. 

The land-use concerns brought major issues to the forefront of the process — such as a lack of housing diversity, struggling downtowns, antiquated zoning ordinance, and other community-specific issues. 

The key recommendations for land use were to amend zoning regulations, maintain existing single-family neighborhoods, and encourage transit-oriented communities.

Future housing types such as single-family, senior housing, and townhomes were strongly encouraged in the survey.  Members of the public also made it clear they’re looking for more restaurants, commercial recreation, high-end retail stores, and offices.

Just a few of the guiding principles for the draft included the town’s ability to offer housing options in appropriate areas, encouraging a variety of employment opportunities, strengthening transportation, and enhancing town aesthetics.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the plan across the town:

Smithtown

  • Eliminating Central Business (CB) Zone and replacing with a Transit Village (TV) District in downtown Smithtown
  • Rezone Presbyterian Church to residential to discourage redevelopment
  • Rezoning the East side of Landing Avenue to a professional business zone
  • Rezone Lawrence Avenue from office business to professional business zone 
  • Rezone as Transit Village into three-sub districts
    • Realigning streets and reactivating areas in the downtown 
    • Route 24 is a busy road, one idea is to integrate retail or commercial buildings in the area
  • Rezone west of railroad as a neighborhood business
  • Right-zone existing shopping centers to shopping center business in an effort to consolidate areas into their right categories
  • TDR program between New York Ave. and Breslin site
    • Possibility to move soccer fields and parks to the Breslin property
  • Rezoning portions of Smithtown Bypass from Terry Road to Southern Boulevard as a Commercial Corridor zone (CC)
    • It is an auto-dominant corridor, and areas will permit contractor showrooms, retail services, hotels/motels, personal services, and restaurants
    • The CC will not permit residential uses, retail shops, repair garages recreation, or outdoor storage

Downtown St. James 

  • Plans to rehabilitate and redevelop the area 
  • Encourage residential 
  • Activate the pedestrian realm 
  • Placemaking/maintain the historic character of the downtown
  • Encourage shared parking behind structures, rather than individual lots
  • Transit-oriented development
  • Lake Avenue is an area of higher density, in and around the train station
    • Opportunity for two-story housing in an area that is predominantly one-story. 
    • A promising area for integrating parks and open space 

Nesconset Core

  • The Nesconset Core will not be a typical downtown area, but rather a hybrid of a downtown district and neighborhood business area 
  • The plan is to rezone the remainder of the corridor neighborhood business including potions that were once professional business areas
  • Looking to “right-zone” professional business and residential areas
    • Areas that were once zoned as office in the past are recommended to go back to residential
  • There were initial talks to make Nesconset a true downtown area, but there was pushback from the public, Janota said

Downtown Kings Park 

  • Broken up into downtown core and downtown transitional 
  • Similar to the Smithtown zoning plan, but on a smaller scale 

Hauppauge Industrial Park 

  • Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge
  • Allow bars, microbreweries, bars, theatres, laundromats, daycares, etc.  

Route 111

  • Rezone shopping center to have a residential possibility
    • Recommending town board consider residential properties along the east side of 111. 
  • Right-zone to conform with office and commercial 

Crooked Hill Road 

  • Right-zone to conform with existing conditions
    • Expanding the shopping center business zone 
    • Rezoning neighborhood business
    • Rezoning tow parcels as office business zones

Commack Corners

  • Never really called a shopping center business zone, so they are proposing to right-zoning to its existing conditions

The meeting going through the comprehensive master plan draft is available here on the Smithtown website and the community workshop reports can be viewed here

Check back in with GreaterSmithtown for updates on Smithtown and the surrounding areas’ downtown revitalization.

Smithtown photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Yellow House Images