A covenant and restriction was recently lifted on a controversial lot on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station that clears the way for a fitness center.

The Huntington Town Board voted to lift the restrictions that allowed only an auto dealership on the roughly 6-acre site at the northwest corner of Jericho Turnpike and West Hills Road. It was once a Buick dealership.

Port Jefferson Station-based Matrix Investment Group LLC can now move ahead with plans to build an LA Fitness on the site.

In March, the town board, as part of a settlement of a 19-year-old lawsuit filed by the town against the owner of the former car dealership, agreed to remove the restriction limiting the use of the property to new car sales.

That agreement coincided with the withdrawal of a zoning change application to allow the construction of a QuickChek convenience store and gas station on the site.

In May 2013, Port Jefferson Station-based Matrix Investment Group LLC contracted with Rice to buy the site. Matrix applied for a zone change for the property, from general business district to automotive service station district and minor commercial corridor district.

The plan then was to build the QuickChek and an LA Fitness. But the zoning change application was withdrawn in March and the plan for QuickChek ended.

"Now they can file a site plan and go through the process of building the LA Fitness," town spokesman A.J. Carter said. "They don't need a rezoning. A fitness center is allowed under the existing zoning."

On April 21, the town board voted 3-2 to lift the covenant and restriction, with town board members Mark Cuthbertson and Tracey Edwards abstaining. The property's history of litigation has involved Cuthbertson as counsel for those who sued the property owner and Edwards as a planning board member, officials said.

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