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Huntington Station

The proposed plan for the assisted living facility in Huntington Station. Photo from Sunrise Development Inc.

By Victoria Espinoza

The sun seems set to rise on a new assisted living facility in Huntington Station.

Last week the Huntington town board unanimously approved a zone change for a 5.7 acre property on Jericho Turnpike and West Hills Road owned by Sunrise Development, Inc.

The land, located at 300 West Hills Road, is currently in a residential zone, and will be changed to a residential health services district to allow for the developer to create a two-story, 90-unit structure with 136 beds. After meetings with the town planning board, the developer has agreed to changes including staff shift changes timed to avoid peak traffic with the nearby Walt Whitman High School, “significant” landscape buffers between the facility and residences, and more.

At the May town board meeting, at least 10 residents that will neighbor the facility came to speak in support of the plan, though other residents came to oppose it.

According to the applicant, they held three community meetings as well as individual meetings with residents to hear their concerns and ideas to help make the facility the best it could be for the entire neighborhood.

Priscilla Jahir, a 34-year South Huntington resident was one of those speaking in opposition.

“I have no personal vendetta against seniors as I am one,” she said at the meeting. “I oppose the increase in traffic on West Hills Road, both during the 14-month-plus construction time and afterword as any increase in traffic will be a hardship to anyone traveling along that route. I feel that this facility is better suited for a larger access road.”

Diane Tanko presented a petition asking for a reduction in the size of the plan before granting them a zoning change.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) said the main traffic contributors are expected to be the employees, not the residents who will live at the facility.

“If you reduce units you’re not really reducing traffic generation,” Cuthbertson said. “The people living there are generally not driving.”

Tanko responded that visitors also increase traffic, but Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) said “sadly,” there were not many visitors at the other locations during the several times of the day she went to track the traffic and fullness of the parking lots.

Kevin McKenna, a South Huntington resident said he was in favor of the plan.

“I have two kids that attend Walt Whitman High School and I pass this location at least twice a day,” he said at the meeting. “I attended an informational meeting for the project set up by Sunrise and I walked away very impressed with the plan and the measures they’re taking with bringing the project to the neighborhood.”

He said he appreciated specifically how Sunrise intends to exceed setback measures for houses and fund landscape dividers at houses near the property.

Thomas Newman, a third-generation Peach Tree Lane resident said he’s seen the area change throughout the years and supports this change.

“After 25 years of being in the business of architecture and seeing their [Sunrise] designs, I think it would be an asset to our community,” he said. “I’d be happy to have my kids live fourth-generation on that street with this.”

Arthur Gibson, president of Plumbers Local Union 200, spoke in support of the plan.

“They’ve built I believe 15 similar units on Long Island, and they’ve consistently used a contractor…meaning local jobs for local people,” Gibson said at the meeting. “There’s so many times, I could tell you horror story after horror story where our contractors don’t get paid. Sunrise Senior Living, they pay their bills, and that’s very important for a construction man or woman on Long Island.”

The company said they are “negotiating in good faith” with the union currently for the job.

A Huntington resident signs the steel beam. Photo by Kevin Redding.

By Kevin Redding

When it comes to revitalization, Huntington Station is building a future as solid as steel.

Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) could barely contain his excitement June 8 as he, along with town board members and developers, kicked off Huntington Station’s long-planned revitalization phase with the signing of a steel beam to be installed over the entrance of a new, mixed-use building currently under construction at the intersection of Northridge Street and New York Avenue, a site on which the town has been trying to develop a property for decades.

“Finally, this is happening,” Petrone said to cheers and applause from at least 50 residents and local leaders standing in front of the construction site. “All of you who are here have been inspirational in his whole process and we know it’s taken a long time, but it’s happened…and thank goodness it’s happened.”

The mixed-use building, under construction since January and expected to be completed in October, will be made up of 6500 square feet of retail space on the first floor, with May’s Gourmet Delicatessen signed up as the first and only commercial tenant so far, and a total of 16 one-bedroom apartments, eight on the second floor and eight on the third, for a total cost of $5.5 million. According to the town, it’s projected to “generate $55,007 in tax revenue the first year, rising to $132,016 (at present rates) in 15 years.”

Huntington officials and community members smile. Photo by Kevin Redding.

This will serve as the first concrete project in Huntington Station’s next phase of youth-friendly revitalization and was developed in partnership with Renaissance Downtowns, a nationally-renowned development group chosen by the town to be a master developer in 2011. Blue & Gold Holdings, a Huntington-based contracting business, is in charge of construction.

“We’re going to attract millennials to this facility, and that speaks highly because the station is a hub, the station is a nucleus of people that commute, especially, and that’s who we are looking to attract,” Petrone said. “There was considerable money put into this, and commitment, because that’s the commitment necessary to start the engine of economic development. The collective work with the communities, with Renaissance Downtowns and with the town has paid off.”

Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) and Councilwoman Susan Berland (D), both integral players in the town’s revitalization efforts, were equally excited about the progress being made on the site.

“Today is a great day for Huntington Station,” Cuthbertson said. “Anytime we can see brick, mortar and steel [in Huntington Station] with housing going up is a good sign. We have beautiful mixed-use buildings like this going up in Huntington Village that really, really add to the downtown area…but when we can have a building like this, when the economics are right, when government and the private sector come together and are able to do this in Huntington Station, we’re certainly on the right track.”

Berland assured the crowd that although it’s been long in the making, the project will be worth the wait.

“The businesses that are going to happen here and the people who are going to be able to move in to the heart of the station and live here and prosper here and shop here —it’s going to be fantastic,” Berland said. “It’s a beautiful design and it’s going to be a beautiful project when it’s done and we wish everybody who’s going to move in here lots and lots of happiness and years of shopping in Huntington and spending your money. They say the best things in life are worth waiting for and, well, this is absolutely worth waiting for.”

Don Monti, chairman of Renaissance Downtowns, referring to Petrone, said, “Huntington Station is something he’s wanted to see developed for many years and I’m happy and proud that prior to the supervisor departing that the dream has come true…and this is just a beginning… the first of many to come.”

“We’re going to attract millennials to this facility, and that speaks highly because the station is a hub, the station is a nucleus of people that commute, especially, and that’s who we are looking to attract.”
— Frank Petrone

Future projects proposed by Renaissance Downtowns, currently in the approval process, include a mixed-use building at the intersection of New York Avenue and Olive Street that will include 66 apartments and ground-level retail, a hotel and office building at New York Avenue and Railroad Street, and artists’ studios in what is currently a municipal parking lot at New York Avenue and Church Street.

Dolores Thompson, a community activist for more than 70 years and the mother of Town Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D), said she’s been trying to bring back Huntington Station since it was “taken away in the 1950s.”

“This is one of the things that I wanted to see before I leave this world and to be here today and be able to witness the fact that we actually have started is like a blessing…I’m so pleased to be here,” Thompson said. In terms of what she hopes will come to Huntington Station, she laughed, “We need a hair salon, then a shoe store, we want a gathering place and a community room…we want everything, okay?”

Robert Rockelein, a member of the civic group Huntington Matters, called this “progress in the right direction.”

“The revitalization has been backsliding for decades, it’s long overdue and it’s going to help populate and reflourish the downtown area,” Rockelein said. “I’d like to see more neighborhood-established businesses rather than regional chains obviously, and give people that live and work here an opportunity to establish something here and build their American dream.”

Local leaders, developers and residents each took turns signing their names on the last piece of steel to be installed on the mixed-use building, which will be placed at the entrance.

Ricardo Reyes-Benitez was charged with public lewdness in East Northport. Photo from SCPD.

Suffolk County Police arrested a Huntington Station man Monday, May 29 for public lewdness after he masturbated in front of a woman outside a Northport grocery store.

A customer was walking in the parking lot of Stop & Shop, located on Fort Salonga Road, when a man masturbated in front of her at 7:50 a.m.

Ricardo Reyes-Benitez, 28, of Sioux Place, was charged with public lewdness. Reyes-Benitez will be held overnight at the 2nd Precinct and arraigned on May 30 at First District Court in Central Islip.

File photo

Suffolk County Police arrested a man for allegedly committing a lewd act in public in Huntington Station May 21.

A female student at Huntington High School was walking on Oakwood Road to her parked vehicle on Holdsworth Drive May 18 at approximately 2:05 p.m. when a man in a pickup truck pulled up next to her. The female observed the male driver masturbating in the 2007 red Ford Explorer. The female stated she was going to call the police and the man drove away.

Following an investigation, Second Squad detectives arrested Eric Lombardi in front of his home, located on Arthur Place in Plainview, at approximately 8:25 p.m. on May 21. Lombardi, 44, was charged with public lewdness and was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip May 22.

Christian Quintanilla mug shot. Photo from SCPD

Christian Quintanilla, of Huntington Station, was arrested by Suffolk County police for driving while intoxicated with his teenage daughter in the car May 21.

While conducting STOP DWI patrol, 2nd Precinct Police Officer Joshua Parsons pulled over a 2006 Toyota Tundra, driven by  Quintanilla, where he observed Quintanilla intoxicated. He saw Quintanilla’s 15-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle.

Quintanilla, 36, was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated and endangering the welfare of a child.

Quintanilla was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip.

File photo

Suffolk County Police 2nd Squad detectives are investigating a shooting that injured two men in Huntington Station early Wednesday morning, May 17.

Two men were standing at East 11th Street and Grand Place at approximately 1:15 a.m. when they were allegedly approached by a group of males who shot them.

The victims, ages 25 and 20, were transported via Huntington Community 1st Aid Squad to Huntington Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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Suffolk County Police and Nassau County Police arrested three people May 1 in connection with knifepoint robberies that have occurred in both counties since February.

Police said a man armed with a knife entered Carvel, located on New York Avenue in Huntington Station, and demanded money last night at approximately 9:40 p.m. The employee complied. The man and two other people who assisted him were arrested outside the store by Nassau County Police Robbery Squad and Suffolk County Police Major Case Unit who were conducting a joint investigation. Shane Cashmore, 30, Paul Drab, 26, of Levittown, and Julianna Pantaleone, 31, of Levittown, were arrested and charged with first-degree robbery for the Carvel incident.

Cashmore has been identified as the knifepoint robber in 17 additional robberies in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. He has been charged in Suffolk County with first-degree robberies for the following crimes:

  • The Barn, located on Hawkins Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma, April 30
  • Baskin Robbins, located on Sunrise Highway, Bohemia, April 19
  • Subway, located on Portion Road, Holbrook, April 18
  • The Barn, located on Belmont Ave., West Babylon, April 11
  • Carvel, located on Ronkonkoma Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma, April 1
  • Subway, located on Sunrise Highway, Copiague, March 20
  • Carvel, located at on Montauk Highway, Copiague, Feb. 13

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini praised the partnership that led to these arrests.

“These arrests are the result of excellent collaboration between the Suffolk and Nassau County Police Departments,” he said in a statement. “This type of collaboration involves intelligence sharing, daily conversations and meetings and leveraging resources that resulted in the closure of a major case. We are glad to bring this spree to an end.”

Cashmore, Drab and Pantaleone are scheduled to be arraigned today at 1st District Court in Central Islip. No attorney information was immediately available.

File photo

Suffolk County Police 2nd Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a pedestrian in Huntington Station Monday night, April 24.

Police said Margaret Smith was crossing New York Avenue at the intersection of Railroad Street when she was hit by a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Segundo Carchi at about 10 p.m. Smith, 60, of Huntington Station, was transported to Huntington Hospital where she was pronounced dead.  Carchi, 46, of Corona, Queens, was not injured.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check.  The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on this crash to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County Police have arrested a man for driving while intoxicated following a motor vehicle crash that critically injured his passenger in Melville April 14.

Alvarado Barrios-Martinez was driving a 1996 Honda Accord north on Route 110 when he hit a 2014 Subaru Outback, which was stopped at the red light at the intersection of Route 110 and Arrowwood Lane. The Subaru was forced into a third vehicle, a 2016 BMW X3, which was also stopped at the red light.

A male passenger from the Honda was transported to Huntington Hospital in critical condition with a head injury. A female passenger was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Huntington Hospital.

Barrios-Martinez, 26, of Huntington Station was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. He was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip.

All vehicles were impounded for safety checks and the investigation is ongoing. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

File photo

Suffolk County Police arrested two people Saturday, Feb. 25 during New York State Liquor Authority inspections at Town of Huntington businesses.

Officers from the 2nd Precinct Crime Section, Community Support Unit, and Gang Team conducted an underage alcohol and tobacco check at nine businesses in Huntington. Some of the businesses were chosen in response to community complaints and others were randomly selected.

Yousef Macer, 22, employed by Superstar Beverage, located on Walt Whitman Road in Melville, was charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law 65.1-sale of alcohol to a person under 21.

Hakan Ekren, 48, employed by Sunoco Gas, located on Broad Hollow Road in Melville, was charged with second-degree unlawfully dealing with a child for selling a tobacco product to a minor.

The above subjects were issued field appearance tickets and are scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip at a later date.

The following businesses complied with the New York State law and refused the sale of alcohol/tobacco to a minor:

  • 110 Convenience Store, located at 213 Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station
  • BP Gas Station, located at 231 Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station
  • Citgo Gas Station, located at 475 Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station
  • Gulf Gas Station, located at 743 Walt Whitman Road in Melville
  • P and P Deli, located at 139 West Hills Road in Huntington Station
  • Citgo Gas Station, located at 1811 New York Ave. in Huntington Station
  • Valencia Tavern, located at 236 Wall St. in Huntington

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