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Renaissance Downtowns seeks variances for Gateway Plaza

Rendering of the Gateway Plaza Development in

Rendering of the Gateway Plaza Development in Huntington Station by Plainview-based Renaissance Downtowns. Credit: Renaissance Downtowns

The master developer behind the revitalization of Huntington Station hopes to move closer to getting site plan approval for one of its projects.

Plainview based-Renaissance Downtowns will go before the Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday to seek several variances for a three-story building on the east side of New York Avenue at Olive Street.

The Gateway Plaza Development will have retail and restaurants on the first floor, and 33 studios and 33 one-bedroom market-rate units on the second and third floors.

On Feb. 29, the town’s department of planning and environment sent a denial letter to the engineering firm representing Renaissance that said the site plan application could not be approved because it does not comply with several sections of town code.

“My job is to look at a site plan and analyze in terms of the variances needed,” said Thomas A. Abbate, the Woodbury-based attorney who will represent Renaissance at the hearing. “We have a very salient purpose here, and that is to begin, finally, the revitalization of Huntington Station.”

Of the 10 issues that led to the denial, four were related to insuffienct parking; use of a parking lot that will not be accessible during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); and the construction of a parking structure that, as proposed, is not allowed in the zoning district.

Abbate said the success of Huntington Village was built on parking variances because not every business has its highest demand at the same time. He said the same principles must be applied to Huntington Station.

“That’s why we have zoning boards: to give relief to specific property when the strict application of the code causes a hardship,” he said.

Robert Rockelein, executive secretary of Huntington Matters, a local civic group, said the property is unique and would need several zoning variances to make it economically viable for development. But he still has concerns.

“While a single property requiring many variances and exceptions may not cause too much negative impact on the surrounding neighbors, the close proximity of this parcel to the other properties awaiting their transformation warrants careful consideration since there is likely to be a cumulative effect if parking, traffic and buffering loss starts to encroach upon more of the abutting residential properties,” he said.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said the need for the variances is a small hurdle in the grand scheme of revitalizing Huntington Station.

“The need for the variances are things that can be addressed so we can get moving on the revitalization of the Station,” he said.

Wanted: Variances

  • The residential upper stories exceed the footprint of the commercial first floor.
  • Building utilizes a parking structure for required parking, and the proposed structure is not allowed in the zoning district.
  • Site plan provides 129 parking spaces where 272 spaces are required.
  • No loading spaces are proposed, though three are required.

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