Group files suit against AvalonBay project

An artist's rendering illustrates the proposed AvalonBay affordable

An artist's rendering illustrates the proposed AvalonBay affordable housing project in Huntington Station. (Credit: Handout)

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An artist's rendering illustrates the proposed AvalonBay affordable $entry.content.alttag

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Opposition to the AvalonBay multifamily housing development slated for Huntington Station didn't end with the town's approval of the project.

The Greater Huntington Civic Group late last month filed a State Supreme Court lawsuit against Huntington Town and its planning board, developer AvalonBay Communities Inc., and property owner Evergreen Estates in an effort to reverse the board's support of the 379-unit project.

In June, the town board approved a change of zoning for the 26.6-acre site a half-mile from the Huntington Long Island Rail Road station. The decision came after more than a year of community meetings, revised plans and protests.

"There is absolutely no public benefit to change our zoning laws which would allow a 379-unit development in the middle of Huntington Station," said Steven Spucces, president of the civic group, which was incorporated in January. "There will be an adverse and irrevocable impact to our schools, drinking water, sewer systems, and a dangerous increase to traffic given the location of our hospital on Park Avenue."

Town spokesman A.J. Carter said the lawsuit was expected and is "now in the hands of lawyers."

Matthew Whalen, vice president of AvalonBay Communities, wrote in an email that he is confident the $100-million project will proceed.

"As became evident during the extensive public hearings and discussion leading up to the approval of this development, Avalon Huntington Station is clearly beneficial to the community," Whelan said. "It provides much needed high quality housing, produces millions of dollars in economic benefits, and will spark the rehabilitation of the neighborhood."

Evergreen representatives could not be reached.

Spucces said the zoning change sets precedence for more high-density housing in Huntington and exceeds the density of surrounding areas. Before the change, the site was allowed 109 single-family homes.

"My organization does not have a strong say on what goes on on private property," Spucces said. "We would not have a leg to stand on if the current zoning to build 109 homes was in place."

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