Proposed hotel at Smithtown’s Watermill to get environmental impact study
The Smithtown Town Council voted 5-0 Tuesday in favor of an environmental impact study for a proposed four-story hotel at the site of the Watermill catering venue.
For months, many Smithtown residents have been calling on the council to reject the proposed 130-room hotel – citing pollution, traffic congestion and sewage problems as their main reasons.
"There are a number of potentially significant environmental impacts associated with this proposed hotel," says Russell Barnett, of the Smithtown Environment & Waterways Department.
A memo from the department warned that restaurateur Anthony Scotto's proposal could have significant impacts on groundwater, traffic and sewage treatment.
"The issue is that immediately to the west of this site, there are hundreds of homes in a high groundwater area where their cesspools and septic system are in groundwater,” says Barnett. “Those septic systems create an environmental impact on what is known as the northeast branch of the Nissequogue River.”
Barnett went on to explain that there is a policy decision that needs to be made: Whether to use the sewage treatment plant capacity for a hotel or to remediate the flooded septic systems to the immediate west.
Environmental officials recommended a formal environmental impact study under the state and environmental quality review act, which the Town Council agreed to.
"All of those issues will be taken up by those environmental experts," says Town Supervisor Edward Wehrheim.
Anthony Scotto's attorney told News 12 that they agree with the requirement for an environmental impact statement. He said they will meet all the requirements.