Smyth: Stop Apartment Over-Development in Huntington
by Priya Persaud Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth has proposed changes to the town code to prevent downtown commercial space from being converted into high-density apartments. The Town Board will hold a public hearing on May 10th, to discuss the measures to limit the expansion of multi-story apartment building development and to mediate its impacts on downtown parking congestion. The impetus for the rule change came from a pending application by the owners of the former "Ann Taylor Loft" building at 263 Main Street, who are seeking to turn the second and third floor office space into apartments - but not to build any significant new parking. They are seeking to supplement the inadequate private parking spaces at the Anne Taylor property by using the municipal lots as parking for approximately 40 of their would-be apartment tenants.
“We want to close this potentially devastating loophole in our Town Code and give applicants the clear guidance that our downtown areas are open for business, culture, and economic investment, but not the rampant over-development of apartment buildings with no parking," stated Smyth. "Apartment developers can no longer rely on municipal parking lots to satisfy their off-street parking requirements.” In 2020, Smyth - then a town councilman - proposed the law to limit the unregulated expansion of apartment development in areas zoned C-6 in the commercial downtown of Huntington. His current proposal seeks to further limit the expansion of retail shops into multi-story apartment building development. The measure would also address the impact of this apartment development on parking congestion. The scheduled public hearing will aim to “clarify the rules regarding parking requirements relative to a proposed conversion of existing multi-story structures within 300 feet of municipal parking lots to residential use on the upper floor(s); to control the unregulated expansion of apartments in Huntington Village,” according to the Town's Public Information officer.