The following remarks were delivered to elected officials and policymakers in the Town of Smithtown on August 3rd, 2021. Interested in supporting The Foggiest Idea’s award-winning reporting and analysis? Click here.

To Supervisor Edward Wehrheim and Members of the Smithtown Town Board –

My name is Richard Murdocco, and I am writing to submit public comments in regards to the proposed amendments to the Town of Smithtown’s draft comprehensive plan.

As part of the research process for its award-winning body of work on Long Island’s environmental and real estate development issues, The Foggiest Idea regularly reviews the policy actions taken by local, state, and federal governments that impact communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Due to the responsiveness to concerns that were raised by local residents at meetings held throughout Smithtown’s numerous hamlets, the town’s approach in soliciting public input should be lauded as a fine example of community-based planning practices and methodologies.

Upon review of these latest proposed amendments, it is clear that adoption of the outlined recommendations would further enhance the overall comprehensive plan as a whole. In particular, a majority of the proposed changes serve as nuanced calls to amend zoning codes to better reflect present real-world uses – recommendations that are especially laudable due to their localized scale.

However, no plan is perfect – this draft document should go further in advocating for a more balanced vision of growth for the Gyrodyne property that better accounts for the inter-municipal concerns that have been expressed on numerous occasions by neighboring Town of Brookhaven, as well as for stronger environmental protections that ensure the long-term health of Stony Brook Harbor.

Troublingly, the discourse surrounding land use and developmental policies has become increasingly toxic in recent years as both misinformation and fear-mongering about the practice of urban planning propagates across the echo chambers of social media.

The fact that Smithtown successfully conducted outreach and solicited civic participation is impressive in today’s political climate that prioritizes tribalism over cooperation.

As I wrote in 2019 when the draft plan was first proposed, Smithtown’s new roadmap presents the opportunity to strike the right balance between maintaining the community’s quality-of-life, while charting sustainable and viable solutions for the area’s future.

These proposed amendments bring the locality closer towards achieving those delicate and worthy goals.

Richard Murdocco

The Foggiest Idea Inc.