Smithtown considers changing town code to limit new assisted living facilities in neighborhoods
Smithtown officials are weighing a proposal that would prevent new assisted living facilities from being built in certain areas.
Mona Rechner, of St. James, was among the multiple residents who brought the issue up to a public hearing Tuesday at Smithtown Town Hall.
Rechner says she and her neighbors are not against the facilities, but they don't want them to rise up in their residential neighborhoods.
"Nobody is against an assisted living facility. It's where you put it,” she says. “As a community, we would like to preserve the last bit of rural land that is there and the peace, the quiet, the deer, the birds."
Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim says town board members would have to vote to change the town's code so that new assisted living facilities would not be allowed in certain Smithtown residential districts.
Wehrheim says this all comes following an application from a developer last fall to build an assisted living facility at the site of the former Bull Run Farm, in the Mills Pond neighborhood.
"They were looking to get a special exception from the Town Board which...is the reason we required the scoping meeting,” he says. “At the scoping meeting, there were not many, if any, of the public that lived in that community that supported the project."
Wehrheim says the developer behind that plan was not granted the special exception.
Residents say they're hoping the town continues to listen to taxpayers.
"We really, really care about each other…it is so important to us to preserve our neighborhood and we're not afraid to stand up for it,” Rechner says.
Tuesday’s public hearing is not the end of this proposed change to the zoning rules to keep new facilities from being built in residential areas.
Supervisor Wehrheim says they will be accepting comments from the public through this Friday and then the board will take all of those comments into consideration before making a decision.