Huntington officials say requirements have been met for a zone change needed to build 190 condos on the grounds of Oheka Castle.
The filing of required paperwork is a major step in a three-year effort to construct The Residences at Oheka, a proposed senior housing development on a 186.6-acre parcel that includes the historic castle and the Cold Spring Country Club in West Hills.
Michael McCarthy, the Huntington-based attorney representing developer and castle owner Gary Melius, said he filed the paperwork with the county clerk on March 2. It spells out responsibilities for covenants and restrictions for the project.
“I'm glad they have finally come to agreement and can go on to the next step,” said Town Supervisor Frank Petrone. “They signed the covenants and restrictions. The big thing that was holding it up was who was going to do what, whether the country club or Oheka.”
The zoning change from residential and general business to an Open Space Cluster District will allow construction of condominiums on about 18 acres on the Huntington portion of the site, while preserving the rest as a golf course.
“Now I need to turn my attention on finishing the subdivision application and the site plan application,” McCarthy said.
The town board approved a zoning change in March 2012 to allow the development, subject to the filing of covenants and restrictions associated with transferring development rights from the neighboring country club to Melius.
McCarthy said the two sides had been working to come up with two documents to delineate 10 conditions between the country club and Melius. The conditions cover issues such as responsibility for installing traffic signals, providing sewer hookups and the transfer of development rights.
Last year, shortly before the filing was due, Melius was shot in the head on the grounds of Oheka Castle. The town board then approved a one-year extension.
The shooting remains under investigation.
Earlier this year, the town voted to set a public hearing to consider amendments to the covenants and restrictions, which would have given Melius and the country club an additional two years to file the documents. But in recent weeks the two sides reached an understanding.
The public hearing, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, was withdrawn because of the agreement.
“The parties had labored over getting the covenants split into two covenants, [then back] into one covenant, and the town attorney wanted them done in a certain way and we did, so we didn't need the extension of time,” said Jim Margolin, the attorney representing the country club.
McCarthy said he plans to update the town's planning board Wednesday on the project's application.
Melius said he is pleased the project is moving forward. “I'm happy with the cooperation of my neighbors, of the country club, of the Town of Huntington,” he said.