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Villadom shopping center hearings postponed, town announces

Protesters gather to oppose the Villadom project in

Protesters gather to oppose the Villadom project in Huntington on April 21. Credit: Barry Sloan

The developer of an $80 million shopping center proposed along the border of Dix Hills and Elwood plans to modify the proposal after community opposition.

Mark Smith, a spokesman for Great Neck-based developer Kris Torkan, the president of Syndicated Ventures and Villadom Corp., said in an email that, based on many discussions “with civic representatives as well as modifications that were suggested by the Planning Board,” the company determined the best action was to revise the application.

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said in a news release Wednesday that the town received a letter from attorneys for Torkan requesting an adjournment of two public hearings scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday for the Elwood Orchard project, which has been known as Villadom.

“It is our hope that through continued communication and community outreach we will come together to put forward a proposal for Elwood Orchard that will greatly benefit the community and the local economy,” Smith said in the email.

The hearings were to consider amending the town’s comprehensive plan to make way for a zoning change from residential to commercial for an undeveloped parcel of land along Jericho Turnpike at the northeast corner of Manor Road. The second hearing was to consider the zone change.

Torkan wants to build the mixed-use shopping center that would include about 245,000 square feet of professional offices, a 90,000-square-foot health/fitness center; about 240,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and a 15,000-square-foot library for Elwood. Other community benefits include tax revenue to the Elwood school district, the town and the county, and the creation of new jobs.

“The applicant’s request to adjourn their own public hearing indicates they have heard the community’s concerns,” Lupinacci said in an email. “We will have a better idea of the impact the community feedback had when the amended plan is submitted to the Town for review.”

Huntington Matters, a civic group, said it has changed its support to “neutral,” and the Greater Huntington Civic Group is “reserving endorsement” until the developer meets certain conditions gathered from community input.

“We support the project based on the benefits but understanding that some of the community concerns should be addressed, such as traffic and scope of the work,” said Jim Cameron, director of communications for the Elwood Taxpayers civic group. “We acknowledge there are many positives to the project as it is, but the concerns of the residents should be considered prior to moving forward.”

Lupinacci said the hearings can be rescheduled only at the discretion of the town board. The town board meeting will remain at 7 p. m. at Elwood Middle School, 478 Elwood Rd.

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