Huntington Board Rejects High-Density Melville Housing
by Maureen Daly
The Huntington Town Board rejected a proposal by outgoing Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R-South Huntington) to create an "overlay district," changing the zoning on the Route 110 Melville corridor, near the Nassau-Suffolk border, to allow thousands of high-density apartment and condo developments along the route. The bill would have changed the appearance and demographics of Huntington, allowing massive high-density development.
The vote was close: 3-2. Only Lupinacci and lame-duck Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) voted in favor of the bill. Both will be leaving office on December 31st.
By contrast, all three of the Board members who will continue to serve on the Board: Council members Gene Cook (R), Joan Cergol (D), and Ed Smyth (R), who will be taking over as Supervisor, voted against the bill. The over-development of Huntington was a major issue in last month's Supervisor election, with the winner, Ed Smyth, pledging to protect Huntington from over-development.
Several speakers opposed the proposed zoning changes, both because of the danger of over-development, and because there was no advance notice to allow public comment:
The Melville Fire Department opposed the bill, saying they feared having to deal with more fire and emergency calls.
The Half Hollow Hills school district representatives said that while they were not necessarily opposed to the plan, they objected to the public hearings and vote being scheduled at the same time.
The overlay district would have allowed for developers to file plans for condos and apartments, but was not a vote to actually approve any specific project. Any submitted plan would still have been required to go through the normal approval process.
The fact that both of the high-density housing sponsors are leaving the town board, means that such proposals are unlikely to get much support in the future.