AvalonBay officials were back before the Huntington Town planning board this week to continue the site-plan approval process for its 379-unit development in Huntington Station.
Christopher Capece, senior development director, and other AvalonBay officials Wednesday night answered questions about the plan from the seven-member board, led by chairman Paul Mandelik. The questions -- and suggestions -- centered on safety and oversight regarding a half-mile-long path that links the development with the Huntington Long Island Rail Road station; and noise-reduction measures for residents who will be living nearest to the train tracks.
Much discussion focused on the path that will run from the development, through Manor Park and come out on the Lenox Road side of the train station.
"I have a concern, especially at night, . . . [regarding] safety measures," Mandelik said.
AvalonBay officials said they will install four emergency call boxes and lighting along the path. They said their understanding is the town would be responsible for upkeep such as snow removal and safety, because the path is on town property.
The community, a mix of rentals and for-sale units, will be built on a 26.6-acre site on East 5th Street, a half-mile east of the LIRR Huntington stop. Six buildings will be constructed adjacent to the railroad tracks, which raised concern from the board that those residents would be exposed to high noise levels. Capece reassured the board that those buildings will be constructed with materials, windows and doors that are rated above national standards for controlling noise.
"If we don't have a good sound-attenuation system, our residents are not going to be happy," Capece said, after saying his company has developed many successful communities across the country.
The development was approved by the town board in June 2011 after more than a year of protests, revised plans and community meetings. In September of that year, the Greater Huntington Civic Group filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court against Huntington Town and its planning board, developer AvalonBay Communities Inc., and property owner Evergreen Estates in an effort to reverse the board's decision. The lawsuit was dismissed Nov. 19.
Steven Spucces, president of the civic group, said the group will be reviewing the decision with attorneys and "making a decision after that to appeal."
Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said now that the court has made a decision, everyone should come together. "Let's try to make this something everyone can be proud of," Petrone said. "It can enhance the station and I think everyone has that goal."
Once AvalonBay officials respond to the planning board's suggestions, the next step would be a building permit, town officials said.