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Calendar of Events
Last Updated: August 15, 2017
The following articles - and more - can be found in our print edition:
Huntington Hotel An Eyesore
• Loriann Cody
Back in the summer of 2013, plans to convert the Old Town Hall Building on West Main Street in Huntington Village into a 55-room boutique hotel were ‘full steam ahead.’ The town planning board had granted a conditional site-approval. Suffolk County’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) had signed off on a $3-million tax relief/abatement package. Developer Old Town Hall Operating Co. agreed to the use of a high percentage of local labor, so lots of construction jobs would becreated. And the Town of Huntington would get some much needed hotel space while preserving a piece of the Old Town Hall Historic District in downtown Huntington Village.
Today, the property is surrounded by a chain link fence, weeds are everywhere, and the historic building that faces West Main Street has become a complete eyesore. The sign that proudly displays the architect’s rendering of what the “Huntington Hotel” would be is overshadowed by an “AVAILABLE” realty sign. So what happened with this project?
Emerson Dobbs, the realtor listed on the “Available” sign, did not return calls for comment. But he is also listed on the Hotel Huntington Sign as Property Manager, and published reports have him listed as a partner with Owner/Developer Old Town Hall Operating, LLC. They also share the same office in downtown Huntington so there is obviously a connection, and Old Town Hall Operating, LLC has no phone number listed. The website listed on the sign: www.thehotelhuntington.com shows a picture of a hawaiian shirt hanging alone in a closet.
Calls to the contractor listed on the project, Renu Contracting & Restoration, yielded no new information. In fact, a spokesperson had no knowledge of the signature project at all.
Plans for the 55-room hotel, incorporated Old Town Hall into the design as a lobby, lounge, meeting rooms and an extended-stay suite. A second building (extension) would be connected to the old Town Hall through a glass atrium. Parking was to be located beneath the 54-room extension. Old Town Hall was in use as a town hall until 1979, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985.
Developer Old Town Hall Operating Co. originally estimated a 10-month timeline for completion once all permits were in place. The hotel had been expected to open summer or fall of 2015, and had the support of many civic and merchant groups in the village including the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce as well the Huntington Town Board.
As of press-time, calls to Town of Huntington representatives were not returned, but rumors abound that the building might not become a hotel.
The Huntington Hotel website.
Water Restrictions and a High Bill
Residents of Glen Head, Sea Cliff, Glenwood Landing and Old Brookville are having serious water issues. Not only have they been advised to restrict their water usage, their water bills have increased substantially.
Due to a mechanical issue at one of the area’s pumping wells, New York American Water (NYAW) has issued Stage 2 Water Use Restrictions for its customers in those communities as a precautionary measure to ensure water supply meets the high demand during the heavy-use summer season. NYAW is also quick to note that at no time has water quality been impacted or compromised.
According to a press release on their website, NYAW is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime, adjoining water systems are providing supplemental water via emergency interconnections where possible, during off-peak hours. Customers are advised to check the NYAW website www.amwater.com/ for up-to-date information. NYAW will notify customers once the restrictions have been lifted.
While the well remains offline, New York American Water asks its customers to limit their water usage as follows:
• No vehicle washing, no driveway washing.
• No water use for irrigation, lawn watering, or other outdoor use unless
via a handheld watering can.
• Minimize Golf Course irrigation.
• No refilling of fountains or decorative ponds.
• No filling or topping off of pools.
• Stop the serving of water in restaurants except by request.
• Commercial customers should reduce water consumption by 10%.
Unfortunately for those affected residents, the water issues went from bad to worse. Their water bills have skyrocketed by as much as 60%. On Wednesday, August 9th, residents upset with the entire situation met at North Shore Middle School to vent their frustrations with NYAW. In May, the New York State Public Service Commission, the state agency that regulates utilities, allowed NYAW to raise rates for four years beginning this year.
New York American Water is a private company that pays property taxes and passes those costs on to the ratepayers. Residents who buy water from municipally owned water districts that are exempted from paying property taxes (such as Bayville, Oyster Bay and Locust Valley), enjoy significantly lower bills. One 90-year-old woman lamented that her water bill was more than $700.
Community leaders say they’re looking at possible solutions that include buying out New York American Water and outsourcing to another municipality. They're also asking legislators in Albany to work on a bill to eliminate the high taxes and surcharges they pay. Lawmakers say they will work on the water bill problem, but it may take time to resolve the issue.
This Week's Editorial and Letters