Opposition from nearby commercial property owners has prompted the Huntington Town Board to table a vote on a zone change for a proposed 160-room, four-story Melville Hyatt Place.
The board voted last month to extend the time to vote on a change from light industry to planned motel district for a 3-acre parcel at 500 Broadhollow Rd., on the west side of Route 110, just south of the Long Island Expressway South Service Road.
"We're giving the developer extra time to hopefully appease the neighbors," said town board member Susan Berland, who supports the project.
Alan Katz, Jan Burman and Marc Beige, who own commercial properties adjacent to the site, have filed signed protest petitions to the town opposing the change of zone for the hotel project, town officials said. None of the business owners could be reached for comment.
South Carolina-based OTO Development LLC, submitted an application to the town board in November 2014 for a zone change to allow a 90,000-square-foot building with meeting rooms and 169 parking spaces. Residential neighbors opposed the original plan for a five-story building, so the developer reduced the number of floors by one.
Taylor Callaham, senior director of real estate for OTO, said the company has attempted to respond to the concerns of neighbors.
"Our view is that the hotel is a great amenity for the office buildings next door," Callaham said. "From the merits of our project, we are optimistic that we will be able to come to an agreement."
If approved, OTO would need variances for a number of parking spaces, distance from other buildings, loading spaces and building height. The current building on the site, a one-story industrial building, would be demolished, town officials said.
If protests are filed by owners covering more than 20 percent of the immediately adjacent property, or 20 percent of the properties opposite on the road (100 feet from the property), a supermajority -- four votes in this case -- is required.
Callaham confirmed the sides are meeting, but refused to say what the discussions involve.
But Berland said they are discussing a change in the direction of the building. Published reports quote an attorney representing OTO saying the new plan would place the front of the hotel to face a neighboring business and double the space between the hotel and that building. It would also add more parking spaces. The attorney deferred all questions to Callaham.
Town board member Mark Cuthbertson said he thinks the location -- in the Melville Employment Center zone -- is wrong for a hotel.
"It's in the area, but the hotels we already have are on the periphery and are on appropriate sites," Cuthbertson said. "It's surrounded by all offices, and that's the look and feel for that portion of the Melville corridor; and when you add a commercial/retail use, it upsets the look of the area."
Callaham said the project would offer increased revenue for local municipalities. He said because the developer has not requested any Industrial Development Agency benefits, when the project is fully appraised, it will generate $500,000 annually in property taxes. State and county coffers will get money from Transient Occupancy Tax that hotels charge and from sales tax.