Huntington Town OKs AvalonBay Rezoning

An artists’ rendering of Avalon Bay’s defeated Hungtington Station development proposal (courtesy of Avalon Bay)
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An artists' rendering of Avalon Bay's defeated Hungtington Station development proposal (courtesy of Avalon Bay)

An affordable housing project planned for Huntington Station has been approved after a similar but larger-density proposal was voted down last fall.

The Huntington Town Board voted 4-1 Monday to rezone a 26.6-acre site, paving the way for AvalonBay Communities, Inc. to build a 379-unit development on a plot of land a half-mile away from Huntington’s Long Island Rail Road station.

“We’re naturally very pleased with the town board vote,” Matt Whalen, AvalonBay’s Vice President for Development, said in a statement. “We listened carefully to the community and worked closely with the town’s representatives to submit a modified development project that would garner the support of the overwhelming majority of residents.”

Before construction can begin AvalonBay must still present their site plan to the town planning department for review, a process that can take three to six months, said A.J. Carter, Huntington town spokesman. “Then they have to apply for the building permit.”

The original proposal for a 490-unit development on the site sparked protests from some residents who were concerned about the project’s impact on their community. That plan was defeated by the Town Board in September.

“One main difference between the approved project and last year’s plan is that last year’s outlined transit-oriented district allowed for potential density of up 18.5 units per acre,” said Cater. “This was a new zoning category and residents were worried about density. The current plan calls for 14.5 units per acre, which falls within the town’s existing zoning.”

In February, Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson and Councilwoman Glenda Jackson spoke with Whalen about submitting a smaller housing proposal. Councilwoman Susan Berland joined them in approving the rezoning this week while Councilman Mark Mayoka voted against it.

A rowdy debate that saw about 40 people address the board ended at around 10 p.m. but before the Town Board voted yes to the proposal a Huntington resident was reportedly removed in handcuffs from the meeting after several outbursts.

Despite continued protests, Whalen is confident that the housing project will be beneficial to the neighborhood.

“We recognize that we have our work cut out for us, but we are confident that, in the end, this development will help to bring the community together and result in a better Huntington for all residents.”

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