Huntington Station developer seeks community input
The firm chosen to oversee Huntington Station's revitalization says it will not submit development proposals to the town that a majority of residents do not support.
"Down the road, if we're trying to move forward with a specific development of a specific project, if the overwhelming majority of the community is against it, we won't move forward with it," said Ryan Porter, of Renaissance Downtowns of Plainview.
Porter and Sean McLean, both vice presidents of planning and development, addressed a group of about 50 people at a Greater Huntington Civic Group meeting Thursday night.
The meeting grew tense at times, as people expressed opposition to some of the ideas discussed, such as building a hotel downtown.
Alexa Dunetz, 23, who has lived in Huntington Station since she was 8, said she was "concerned" about the developer's pledge. "I have heard it before . . . and I don't believe for a half-second that they are investing all this money to not even submit proposals.
"The question is: If they get approved and we still don't want it, will they back off?" said Dunetz, who is studying political science at LIU Post in Brookville.
Renaissance Downtowns, a for-profit company, has been working in Huntington Station for about nine months, collecting feedback from the public about what they want for the neighborhood. The firm has to submit its "development strategy" to the town board by April 27.
Porter reiterated that the document is not a detailed plan, but includes the firm's goals and objectives, a parking analysis, public safety issues and the public's ideas.
Porter and McLean shared some of those ideas for which they have done feasibility studies, including apartments over storefronts, a hotel, retail options and a community center.
After the town adopts the development strategy, Renaissance will begin working on concrete plans for the area -- from Huntington village to 11th Street, along New York Avenue. Ultimately, individual proposals that lack wide public support can be taken out of the equation.
"I love their approach, and that's why I am so involved," said Dan Nigro, who has lived in Huntington Station for 15 years. "It is the closest the town has been . . . to seeing tangible change," he said.
But Nigro said he is concerned about some of the cynicism. "I just hoped this strategy isn't killed in the process and then it will be another five years until there is some kind of plan put in place," he said.