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Huntington board again delays vote on affordable housing

For the second time in three weeks, Huntington's town board has delayed voting on a zoning change that would clear the way for an affordable housing project in Huntington Station.

At its work session earlier in the day Tuesday the board tabled a resolution to change the zoning of a 26-acre wooded parcel located about a half-mile from the Huntington Long Island Rail Road station to build the Huntington Station Transit Oriented District. The project would offer 490 housing units near mass transit to people of varying income and ages to decrease their dependence on cars.

The vote delay occurred because board members couldn't muster enough support for the project. A 4-2 vote on the town board is necessary to gain county approval of the district. County approval is needed for the project because it is so near a county road.

Town board member Susan Berland said she supports the project but has some concerns about its height and density.

"I want to get this passed," Berland said. "If we don't come to some type of agreement that is agreeable to everyone, there could be litigation."

A vote on the project had been expected in June. But in May, the board voted to extend the time to vote by 90 days to review responses of the developer to residents' concerns expressed at a March 9 public hearing. Some residents said they were surprised - and angered - when a vote showed up on the agenda of last month's board meeting. They thought the vote would take place in September, at the end of the 90 days.

Town officials explained that the extension granted in May allowed the board to vote on the measure at any time during the 90-day period.

Avalon Bay Vice President Matt Whalen addressed the board and said that he planned to host two or three public information sessions for additional public outreach.

"We want to do as much community outreach as possible because we want people to work off the right set of facts to make an informed decision," he said.

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