Huntington Town changes its rules on accessory apartments to allow...

Huntington Town changes its rules on accessory apartments to allow rental flexibility. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Huntington will allow accessory apartment owners to live in their smaller unit and rent out the primary residence.

The town board narrowly passed a resolution that would allow the change in zoning code at Tuesday's board meeting. Councilmen Eugene Cook and Ed Smyth voted against the measure.

Cook said he was worried that the new rental inventory — about 560 potential new rental units, he estimated based on existing and pending permits — could burden schools if hundreds of new students enroll. "To me it wasn’t the right thing to do," he said in a phone interview after the meeting.

“I had a major problem with it. I analyzed it quite a bit,” Cook said of the resolution.

With potentially hundreds of new families and children living in the new rentals, the local school system could become stressed and “there’s no tax revenue to the town to offset it,” he said. “All the residents who bought homes in the area are paying taxes that will be higher because of all the new students.”

Smyth did not immediately return a call for comment on his vote.

The ability to rent out portions of a home will help families bring in supplemental income and increase rental supply in Huntington, said town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci in a news release.

“These measures are good for property rights, families just starting out and those on fixed incomes," Lupinacci said. "We need to consider alternatives to the options that would add to an unsustainable burden on our infrastructure and find creative ways to tap into our existing housing supply to fulfill the housing needs for those who feel they can’t afford to live on Long Island."

Councilwoman Joan Cergol, who co-sponsored the resolution, called the change a "win/win/win."

“The accessory apartment amendments are a win/win/win as they will make it possible for our older residents to age in place, allow our younger residents to attain the dream of homeownership, all while giving the Town a means by which to directly regulate, in many cases, previously illegal rental housing," she said in a release.

Brookhaven has a similar law where homeowners are required only to live somewhere on their property and can rent out other portions.

The board also passed a resolution that prohibits the use or renting of basement or cellar apartments unless a valid accessory dwelling unit permit already exists or has been filed with the town as of July 16. The board voted unanimously 5-0 in favor of the resolution.

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