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Huntington Station community benefits agreement delayed to focus on anti-crime efforts

Levar Butts, 19, of Huntington Station chants during

Levar Butts, 19, of Huntington Station chants during a march to Huntington Town Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Hundreds rallied for justice for stabbing death victim Maggie Rosales, 18, a Walt Whitman High School senior. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone will put more emphasis on youth program partnerships and add anti-crime initiatives to the Community Benefits Agreement after resident concerns about violence in Huntington Station.

The agreement between the town and revitalization developer, known as a CBA, must be in place for major projects to move forward.

The scheduled vote on the agreement was pulled from last Tuesday's town board meeting after a crowd of angry residents criticized the board over its response to violence in Huntington Station.

"We need to focus this on the real immediate concerns of that community," Petrone said of the CBA. "We heard some of the needs and the concerns of the community that can only enhance it, so we decided to delay the vote."

Petrone said Ryan Porter, vice president of planning and development for the master developer, Plainview-based Renaissance Downtowns, agreed to pull the measure.

Petrone said he expects to hold the vote on the CBA at the December town board meeting. He said he plans to use the time to figure out how to focus the first fees generated by the CBA -- projected to total $300,000 to $400,000 -- on putting a higher priority on ideas already identified in the CBA, such as youth programs and community education, and adding anti-crime initiatives.

Residents and activists last Tuesday marched to Town Hall and derided public officials over crime in the area.

Xavier Palacios, an attorney and Huntington Bay resident who escorted the families of homicide victims Maggie Rosales and Daniel Carbajal to the meeting, accused Renaissance of being tone deaf for not immediately postponing the vote on the CBA.

Palacios, a Huntington school board member who is part of a committee that helped shape the CBA, on Friday continued to criticize the process and said he believes the school district deserves a larger share of the fees generated by the CBA.

"Even if it's presented later on, I have issues with the CBA," Palacios said. "Unless we have a meaningful dialogue with people that the community selects and not those who are selected by the developer or town, it doesn't mean much."

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