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Developer quest for more restrictive zoning a win for preservationists

A historic sign about the former Platt's Tavern

A historic sign about the former Platt's Tavern hangs near the intersection of Park Avenue and Route 25A in Huntington on May 12, 2015. The town is urging more restrictive zoning for the site. Credit: Ed Betz

Huntington planners and a developer have heeded concerns from preservationists opposed to a zoning change proposed for a site George Washington once visited.

The town planning board recommended that Deer Park developer Dominick Mavellia change his request for the northeast corner of Park Avenue and East Main Street (Route 25A) from C-4 to C-1 zoning.

The former would have allowed smaller-scale commercial service uses, such as offices, retail, and customer service shops, while C-1 zoning allows only professional offices, funeral homes, art or music studios, and day care centers.

Local preservationists prefer the C-1 zoning.

Mavellia announced the change to his zoning request application -- to reflect the recommendation -- before a public hearing Tuesday.

"I heard the neighbors loud and clear about their apprehension . . . " Mavellia said Wednesday. "Under the C-4, I would have had restricted retail, but it wasn't enough. People were still upset about it."

He has proposed a 3,000-square-foot urgent-care facility and a 7,000-square-foot building that would be leased by North Shore-LIJ. The less restrictive zoning would have given him flexibility if the deal fell through or a failing economy upended a medical use.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said he interceded, telling Mavellia that with the site three blocks from Huntington Hospital, medical office space would always be in demand. "C-1 is a better use," he said. "It respects the character of the residential community and avoids a retail type of setting."

Paul Warburgh, president of Old Huntington Green Inc., the civic group that led the charge against C-4 zoning, said he was pleased with the outcome. "We're glad the developer has seen after many months that this is the appropriate use."

Warburgh said he and other local preservationists plan to present to Mavellia a design recommendation for the building and how it should be placed on the site.

Mavellia said he has hired a historian to act as a liaison between his architect and local historians. "I want to try to have a win-win for everybody," he said. "These are my neighbors so I don't want them to be upset."

The town board has up to 90 days to vote on the zoning change.

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