A rough rendering shows the proposed condomium project envisioned on...

A rough rendering shows the proposed condomium project envisioned on the grounds of Oheka Castle. Credit: Sal Coco

A new plan to build housing on the grounds of Oheka Castle in West Hills is back before the Huntington Town Board. 

Gary Melius, through his Huntington-based Kahn Property Owner LLC, the entity that owns the castle, is seeking an additional use permit that will allow the construction of a four-story condominium with 95 housing units. A public hearing on  Feb. 7 will consider the application and lifting covenants and restrictions on the property.

Huntington-based land use attorney Michael McCarthy told Newsday the proposal calls for the building to have its own sewage treatment plant. He said the architecture for the condominium complex, on the west side of East Gate Drive, north of Colonial Drive, would complement the castle architecture and is half the size of a previously approved project.

“We’re hopeful the town will embrace it and allow him [Melius] to move forward with his site plan application,” McCarthy said Monday.

The covenants and restrictions were placed on the parcels in 2012 as part of the Residence-Open Space Cluster District, which was designed to preserve open space in the town while also allowing development. The castle is also included in the town's historic building overlay district, which allows the town board to consider uses for historic buildings other than what's allowed under current zoning.

McCarthy said for the new plan to proceed, the covenants and restrictions that were imposed as a condition of the original 2012 approval — which preserve a golf course, address the potential need for a traffic signal and contemplate a future sewer system — need to be either amended or rescinded.

“I’m trying to save myself with this [latest proposal],” Melius told Newsday on Monday.

A lender filed foreclosure proceedings against Melius in June 2016. 

McCarthy said the Cold Spring Hills Civic Association and Friends of Oheka Castle have written letters in support of the application.

Ellen Schaffer, president of Friends of Oheka Castle, and Michael Archbold, vice chairman of the civic association, confirmed their groups’ support.

In 2012, Melius first proposed building a 190-unit senior community on part of the Oheka property and on a parcel owned by the Cold Spring Country Club That deal fell apart.

In 2020, Melius withdrew another application from the town to build 90 condominiums in a four-story stone building with parking underneath on the lower portion of the castle's front lawn.

The hearing on Melius' latest proposal will be Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 Main St.

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