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Town zoning change preserves horse farms, building of houses

The Huntington Town Board town last week approved

The Huntington Town Board town last week approved a zoning rule that preserves equestrian properties while allowing housing development.  Credit: Alexi Knock

Town of Huntington officials have added a new zoning category meant to preserve equestrian properties while allowing housing development.

The Special Equestrian Center Overlay District will allow owners of one- and two-acre zoned parcels and have a minimum of 20 acres to apply for a change of zone to be included in the district.

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said six parcels in the town qualify as horse farms under town code. In other cases adjacent properties in one- and two-acre zones could be purchased or assembled to reach the 20-acre minimum required by the overlay zone.

"This will help preserve open space," Lupinacci said. "Five acres within the 20 acres will have to be maintained as an equestrian center to ensure those five acres will not be developed."

The town board passed the measure 5-0 at its April 13 meeting.

The measure is similar to the town’s zoning rules to preserve golf courses while also allowing development under the Open Space Cluster District zoning passed in 2010.

There is a zoning change application before the town board for a property on the east side of Round Swamp Road, south of the Northern State Parkway in Melville to go from a two-acre residence district to a half-acre residence district.

A developer wants to rezone a 21.5-acre horse farm on the parcel, The Thomas School of Horsemanship, to develop a residential subdivision called Equestrian Estates of Melville. The project proposes building 33 luxurious single-family homes in the rear of the property, with the horse farm remaining on a smaller 5.44-acre lot.

Several public hearings on the zoning change application have been postponed in recent months for various reasons, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, including in April to see whether the new overlay zone would be established. Now that it has been approved, the developer can apply to be in the zone, town officials said.

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