Smithtown officials are finding themselves asking the question of how high is too high when it comes to future building in the Hauppauge Industrial Park.
The Smithtown Town Board is still hammering out new building codes for the Hauppauge Industrial Park more than a year after Supervisor Patrick Vecchio promised business leaders the town would be changing the limits on building heights, parking restrictions and others rules governing business growth in the industrial park in January 2012.
"Our middle name is delay," said Councilman Robert Creighton.
Frank DeRubeis, Smithtown's planning director, said the new building codes are almost ready to go before the town board for a vote. However, there's been some debate as to whether the town should lift the building height restriction from 35 feet upwards to 50 feet, allowing four-story buildings.
"If you go up to 50 feet, your principal expansion will be distribution centers or warehouses because their new systems are about 45-feet tall, according to our sources," DeRubeis said.
He predicts increasing the area's building height limitations to 50 feet would not have a significant impact on the industrial park's sewage treatment system or traffic patterns.
However, Creighton said he and other town board members feel the town should lift the building restriction height further, allowing potentially up to six-story buildings. These taller buildings largely appeal to companies looking to build large, multi-story office buildings, according to DeRubeis.
"We don't want an overabundance of storage facilities. We are not talking about storage facilities, we are talking about bringing in new businesses like pharmaceutical companies and other facilities would love to get in here. The legislation is designed for the future," Creighton said.
Smithtown planners expressed concern over whether the industrial park would be able to withstand these larger buildings impact on the area's sewage system or whether main roadways would be overwhelmed by traffic.
There are a few buildings more than 50 feet in height within the Hauppauge Industrial Park now, including TriTech. Companies looking to exceed the height restrictions can go before Smithtown Board of Zoning Appeals to receive a variance.
"I am with you on building more offices, those have the highest tax rates. The more we can build, the better," DeRubeis said to Creighton.
However, he said if the town writes a code that allows any company to construct a building with a height than 50 feet, it would trigger a mandatory environmental impact study on the area, which could delay new building codes for a year or more. He urged town board members to vote on increasing building height limitations from 35 feet to 50 feet, as companies have already filed applications to build.
The Town Board has yet to vote on new building codes on height restrictions and parking allowances for the Hauppauge Industrial Park.