Suffolk County lawmakers are set to vote Wednesday on a $1.7 million land purchase in Kings Park for planned Smithtown sewers.
The 16.7-acre site near Building 1 on the east side of the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center would be used for the disposal of treated sewage, records show. Money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act would fund the acquisition. Dormitory Authority of New York is the seller.
In an email, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone wrote that sewer infrastructure was “essential to the continued revitalization of our town centres…Tomorrow we will move a critical piece of the puzzle forward” .
Smithtown supervisor Edward Wehrheim could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Northport), who represents the area, said he expected the proposal to be approved and supported the purchase, with reservations.
“Do I think this is in the best place?” No, but I will not stand in the way of this project continuing,” he said, and warned that the demolition of structures on the site could be expensive.
Former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2017 pledged $20 million each for Kings Park and Smithtown sewers. City and county officials told Newsday earlier this year that sewers in downtown Kings Park could come online by spring 2025.
The Smithtown project would connect sewers along the main street of the hamlet to the existing treatment plant in Kings Park.
A statement last year from State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James), who represents the area and began advocating for city sanitation as a civic activist, said the purchase of the Psychiatric Center land for the Smithtown Sewers would significantly reduce nitrogen loading to the Nissequogue River near downtown sumps and septic systems currently in use.
After the purchase, local authorities will demolish the “derelict” buildings currently on the site, using a small portion of the land that will not be visible from the outside for sewage disposal, according to the statement. Most of the land will be kept as open space, and mature trees and steep slopes will be preserved.
Business leaders in Kings Park and St. James, where a dry sewer line awaits connection, said the connection would spur economic development by freeing businesses from strict sewage limits in place for pits septic. The hookup would make it easier to build downtown apartments or add tables at restaurants and cafes, advocates said.
Some business owners, however, are skeptical of user fees and one-time connection fees and have said sewer offers less obvious benefits for so-called “dry uses” like offices and stores. Suffolk officials told Newsday this year that at Kings Park connection costs, borne by landlords, would vary; user fees would be about $548 for homes and $1,507 for businesses in 2026, the first year in which all fees can be assessed.