The Huntington Planning Board will hear from the public Wednesday about changing the town’s comprehensive plan to allow construction of an $80 million, 390,000-square-foot commercial development on Jericho Turnpike in Elwood.
The developer, Great Neck-based Villadom Corp., is asking that the comprehensive plan be changed so that the property, just east of Manor Road, will become commercially zoned, instead of its current low-density residential zoning.
The town requires that a proposed zoning change conform to the comprehensive plan.
Kris Torkan, president of Villadom, says the development, which is to include retail space and offices but not residential construction, is the one that makes the best sense at that location.
“Having a property of this magnitude allows a proper plan to be developed and I think we have that,” Torkan said Tuesday. “The town and community have welcomed it and like what we are proposing.”
The Town Board in December directed the planning board to prepare an amendment to the Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan to classify the 49.28-acre property as appropriate for commercial use and to simultaneously review a zone change application for the project.
In order to amend the master plan the process requires a public hearing and recommendation from the planning board, town spokesman A.J. Carter said Tuesday.
The planning board will listen to the testimony, make a recommendation on whether the master plan should be amended, draw up a resolution with the proper wording, and “send it to the town board which would then have to have another public hearing before the comprehensive plan is amended,” Carter said.
The Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan, crafted in 2008, sets a vision of Huntington in the years beyond 2020, town officials said.
Mark Blaustein, who lives near the proposed shopping center, said he is concerned about quality of life issues related to the development.
“Traffic safety, environmental concerns, aquifer concerns, sewage,” he said. “We have a shopping mall on [Route] 110 and tons of stores in the other direction.”
An online petition opposing the project has been circulating among residents.
Civic organizations support the plan. Huntington Matters sent a letter to the town in support of the project.
Jim Cameron, president of the Elwood Taxpayers Association, said his group sent a letter of support to the town provided they don’t use any Industrial Development Authority bonding or funding for the project. Torkan said he does not have any IDA tax exemption applied for or approved.
The public hearing will be held during the planning board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at town hall 100 Main St.