In the end they still came. Angry residents who wanted to protest a planned vote Tuesday night by the town board to rezone a parcel of land in Huntington Station for a large affordable-housing development showed up even though the vote was delayed.
About 50 protesters said they wanted to show their displeasure over the project and what they said is a lack of transparency by the board.
"The board thought they could sneak this in when nobody was looking," said Patrick Geir, a Huntington Station resident opposed to the project. "But they should know plenty of people are watching them closely."
The board had planned to vote at its monthly meeting Tuesday night to change the zoning of the 26-acre wooded parcel located about a half-mile from the Huntington Long Island Rail Road station to build the Huntington Station Transit Oriented District, which will offer housing near mass transit to people of varying income and ages to decrease their dependence on cars.
But, at the last minute Tuesday, the vote was delayed until next month by the board, citing residents' confusion and concern.
A vote on the project had originally been expected this month. But last month, the board voted to extend that by 90 days to review responses of the developer, Avalon Bay, to resident concerns expressed at a March 9 public hearing.
Huntington Town spokesman A.J. Carter said town law requires a vote on a resolution within 90 days of a public hearing. But town officials had given the extension because they did not believe the developer would respond to resident complaints by this month. However, when the developer made changes, the board decided to act earlier.
When the resolution appeared on Tuesday night's preliminary agenda - rather than the expected September date - it sparked residents' anger.
Among changes made by the developer are a reduction in the number of units from 530 to 490, and a public benefit contribution to the town's economic development corporation of $500,000, $75,000 to a civic group overseeing care of the Huntington Station train station, and $25,000 to the Family Service League. That money is in addition to a $1.5-million contribution already promised to the Huntington school district.
Town officials said there is no requirement that Avalon Bay accept Section 8 vouchers in lieu of rent payments.