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Huntington studies parking changes in office, industrial areas

Huntington officials are studying a change in the town code to allow restaurants in office or industrial zones to seek parking variances from the zoning board of appeals.

Under the existing code, restaurants in office or industrial buildings must meet parking requirements separate from the parking available for the office or industrial use.

For example, if a set number of spaces are required for the office and another number of spaces required for the restaurant, the site must provide the total number of spaces.

But restaurants may have their greatest parking need at nights or on weekends when there is little demand for parking for the office or industrial operations, town officials said. But the code does not have a provision to allow those restaurants to seek approval for fewer spaces.

The issue arose in plans for development in the Melville area.

In September 2012, the town board voted to establish a capital project account to fund preparation of a Melville employment center, an integrated land use plan, and a circulation and infrastructure plan as recommended by the town’s Comprehensive Plan Update. In 2013, the board established a committee, the Melville Plan Advisory Committee, of local developers, commercial and residential property owners, government officials and community service providers, to oversee the next steps in development for Melville.

“We’ve been looking at Melville in a comprehensive way lately; we’re looking at a new plan and we’ve been studying some of the limitations that are occurring in the development community and what some of the issues have been,” said Tony Aloisio, the town’s director of planning. “This [restaurant parking] is one of the issues that came up that didn’t make sense. On the one hand you are providing opportunities for mixed use but in the next sentence you can’t do it . . . so we wanted to clean it up.”

The code change would put into place a mechanism to allow the restaurant to apply to the zoning board for a parking variance.

“Applicants could make the argument that it really would work in terms of parking,” Aloisio said.

A hearing on the possible change is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall, 100 Main St.

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