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Huntington proposes stricter downtown development rules

Huntington Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci said the town

Huntington Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci said the town board will consider tighter restrictions on downtown development.   Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

The Huntington Town Board wants to tackle reoccurring issues surrounding development in its downtown business districts once and for all, including adding more parking space.

Council members at Tuesday's board meeting will vote to set three public hearings in October to discuss the proposals, which are aimed at amending the C-6 zoning category to ensure future development is appropriate and preserves the downtown area's historic aesthetic while also supporting economic growth and the environment, town officials said.

The C-6 zoning category is the zoning classification for commercially zoned properties. It allows for mixed-use buildings. 

"We have heard the concerns of our residents who have questioned the impact some development has on our traffic patterns and congestion, on our water quality, and our quality of life,” town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci said.  

Proposed changes include amendments that restrict height, density and other characteristics of existing buildings converting to mixed-use and new mixed-use construction; amendments to site plan regulations to add new requirements for the planning board to consider, such as traffic, impact on sewers, compliance with storm water pollution prevention and design consistency; and reserving newly acquired municipal parking to support existing residents and businesses but excluding them from calculation used to satisfy parking requirements for new development.

Lupinacci, a Republican, and town board members Gene Cook, an Independence Party member, and Republican Ed Smyth announced the proposals at a news conference Thursday near a new potential parking site — 295 New York Ave. — which the town is set to close on, adding 71 new parking spots, town officials said.

“The proposed changes will help to alleviate the current demand for parking across the downtown village area,” Smyth said.

Democratic town board members Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol said they were not invited to the news conference.

“The C-6 amendments have been waiting in draft form for months now so the sudden urgency to roll them out is quite puzzling,” Cergol said.

“If they had been seeking consensus on this legislation, I would have thought they would have shared the legislation and/or invited me to the press conference,” Cuthbertson said. “I want to keep our downtowns vibrant and balance that with our outstanding quality of life and will review this through that prism.”

Cook said the proposals are just common sense.

“They take care of a lot of the issues that keep coming up: parking, concern for the environment,” he said. “We can have development, but it has to be under certain restrictions.”

The Sept. 17 town board meeting will be at 2 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 Main St.

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