Town board rejects public hearing in Huntington apartment buildings controversy

Town board rejects public hearing in Huntington apartment buildings controversy

Photo by Lina Weingarten

Although a local law and public hearing were announced as rejected at the start of the July 13 Huntington Town Board meeting, a packed auditorium showed the commitment Huntington residents have to the future of their town.

The meeting was held to discuss with and hear from the public regarding the proposal to enact local law 42-2021.

If the law had been adopted, it would have allowed C-6 property owners — that is, those located in commercially zoned areas within one-third mile of any of the five hamlet centers in Huntington township — to convert their properties into three-story apartment buildings at the height of 45 feet. 

In addition, the Planning Board would be permitted to grant a limited number of special use permits for a residential apartment building. 

According to the wording of the law, it would also have allowed for ground-floor apartments.

“In recent weeks I’ve received emails and other feedback and, as a result, have decided not only would I not support this resolution after a public hearing, but I no longer support there being a public hearing on this issue,” said Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D).

He said he didn’t support a public hearing because he felt that there would be a belief that there was a remote possibility that this resolution would be approved.

After review and taking into account hundreds of emails sent to councilmembers, the Town Board decided it should not continue with the public hearing.

Despite the issue being put to rest, the Town Board still encouraged residents to share their thoughts and feelings about law 42-2021 during the public session and showed appreciation for the time residents took out of their day to come to the meeting.

“I’ve been fighting against the overdevelopment of Huntington for as long as I can remember,” said Commack resident Nancy Gambi. “I don’t know why it’s always the developers that are the priority. It’s like every time a developer wants something, we fold and rezone.”

Some residents wanted the Town Board to reconsider allowing reasonable levels of residential development, saying if Long Island wants to retain its young workforce, more apartments must become available.

“The choice is clear,” said Steven Vitoff, a Huntington resident of 17 years. “Long Island must accept some added apartments or we will watch our beautiful
island deteriorate into a ghost town — a 100-mile-long senior living center, an economic development dead end, an aging, barren place.”