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West Hills Road

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.

Samuel White mugshot from SCPD

Detectives have charged a man with first-degree manslaughter after his alleged victim was found unconscious and covered in blood.

The Suffolk County Police Department said early Thursday morning that 32-year-old Brentwood resident Samuel White was arrested for allegedly murdering Edwin Rivera, who was found lying on Clinton Avenue in Huntington the previous day.

A 911 caller had reported the body, and officers found the 39-year-old from Bay Shore on the ground next to his 2015 Mercedes. He was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital.

Police had said Wednesday that the death had been ruled criminal and detectives were waiting on an autopsy from the county medical examiner’s office to determine how he died.

No attorney information was available for the murder suspect, White, on the New York State court system’s online database.

Rivera’s was the second body found in the Huntington area this week. Just a few days earlier, officers had found the body of 33-year-old William Sarcenolima, of Huntington Station, partially in the roadway on West Hills Road. He too was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital and his body was transported to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. Police have not yet announced a cause of death, but said at the time the body was found that Sarcenolima may have been a victim of violence.

Anyone with information is asked to call Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6392 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

Suffolk County police car. File photo

A pedestrian was seriously hurt in a hit-and-run early Tuesday morning as he tried to cross New York Avenue.

The Suffolk County Police Department said a dark-colored SUV hit 41-year-old William Alvarez-Jovel as he was trying to cross the street, at the intersection with West Hills Road in Huntington Station, shortly before 2 a.m. He suffered serious head and internal injuries in the crash and was admitted to Huntington Hospital.

According to police, the vehicle fled the scene but could have been a 2003 to 2005 black Honda Pilot, and would have sustained front-end damage in the collision. It had fled north on New York Avenue.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the crash and ask anyone with information to call them at 631-854-8252, or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

This story was updated on May 27 to include new police information on the make and model of the car suspected to have been involved in the hit-and-run crash.

File photo

A man found dead and partially in a roadway early Sunday morning might have been the victim of violence, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

The body was found in that position on West Hills Road in Huntington Station at about 4 a.m. that day. Police responded to the scene, between 7th and 8th avenues.

Police said the victim, 33-year-old William Sarcenolima, who lives in Huntington Station, was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital. His body was then transported to the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office.

An upcoming autopsy will determine how Sarcenolima died, police said, but detectives from the SCPD’s Homicide Squad are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.

Anyone with information is asked to call the detectives at 631-852-6392, or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

File photo.

Gunshots rang out in the Huntington area twice over the weekend, leading police to find injured young men lying on the ground in separate but similar incidents.

The first shooting occurred early on Saturday morning in Huntington Station. The Suffolk County Police Department said at about 1:35 a.m., officers responded to West Hills Road and President Street after a 911 call reported the shooting. Those 2nd Precinct officers found 22-year-old local resident Nelson Hernandez lying on the sidewalk, a gunshot wound to his back.

Not even 24 hours later, just after midnight on Sunday, 2nd Precinct officers responded to Stuyvesant Street in Greenlawn, between Crown Avenue and Brand Drive, after another 911 call reporting a shooting. Police said they found 18-year-old Aaron Jolly, a Northport resident, lying in the street with a gunshot wound on his right leg.

Hernandez was in serious condition at Huntington Hospital, police said, and Jolly was treated and released from the same facility.

In both cases, police reported that the shooter was unknown. Hernandez was shot while walking on West Hills Road near President Street, and it was not clear whether there was a single shooter of multiple assailants. Jolly was reportedly standing in the street when he was shot by an unknown person.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the two shootings. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8252, or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.