An ongoing public debate on an amendment to Huntington’s accessory apartment dwelling code, sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol (D), continued Tuesday afternoon, July 11, during a meeting of the town board.
The American Planning Association defines an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, as “a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone.” As municipalities in New York state and Long Island continue to wrestle over zoning controls, public officials and residents alike are working through the complexities on both sides of the issue.
Residents offered competing perspectives on ADUs, some decrying the perceived threat of elevated density. In contrast, others emphasized the need to offer more affordable housing opportunities.
Bob Sarducci, a Huntington Station resident, condemned the perceived lack of governmental initiative for revitalizing his hamlet, suggesting that the expansion of ADUs into Huntington Station would further deter the area’s growth.
“I’m tired of all the board members claiming they want to revitalize Huntington Station,” he said. “If you truly want to revitalize Huntington Station, [then] no more apartments.”
Eleanor D’Amico suggested additional ADUs would compound existing density pressures throughout the town. She indicated that the ADU proposal would work against the area’s historical character.
“Huntington was built on people coming from the urban, more densely populated areas — people looking for quality of life, individual homes, clean air, fresh water and open spaces,” she said. “Every board we’ve had has succinctly chipped away at all of those things.”
“This ADU proposal should be shot out of the water. It would add such density [that] our quality of life would just be gone,” she added.
But not everyone in attendance opposed the measure. Christina Tabacco, a local realtor, expressed her support for the ADU initiative noting the exorbitant rental rates throughout the town and the new rental opportunities afforded to seniors.
“As a realtor, my experience has been again and again, ‘Please find me an apartment $2,500 or under somewhere in Huntington,’” she said. “Overwhelmingly, there’s just a shortage of apartments and overwhelmingly — as the demographic is aging — there is a need for supplemental income.” She added, “I do believe the lack of clear facts is driving the misinformation and the fear.”
The board will meet again Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 2 p.m. when conversations surrounding ADUs will likely continue.