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Huntington Station revamp to start in earnest

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone spoke to an

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone spoke to an audience of residents during the dedication of a new pedestrian plaza in Huntington Station. (May 22, 2013) Credit: Daniel Brennan

Plans for revitalizing Huntington Station are shifting into high gear.

On Tuesday, the town board has scheduled public hearings that will begin the wholesale change to the face of the hamlet. The hearings involve zone change applications and the issuance of a special use permit to make way for veterans housing and a hotel.

"Now is the push, let's start doing," Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said, referring to having a master developer, a development strategy and public and community support for the area's revitalization.

The first hearing is on an application to change a zone from residence district to office residence district for a 1-acre plot of land on the west side of Lowndes Avenue, between Railroad and Columbia streets.

The land is to be used to create the Columbia Terrace project, 7 one-bedroom and 7 two-bedroom owner-occupied, low-cost units for military veterans.

"The concept is to start to build that whole area," Petrone said of the project, which will be across from the proposed hotel. "You're building new communities, with a hotel, the Columbia Street community; you're building an entirely new community, which is exciting because now you'll have new stakeholders who have an interest in the Station and keeping it going."

Jeffrey A. Hartman, P.C., of East Northport, was approved for design and engineering services for the Columbia Terrace development at the Nov. 7 town board meeting.

The second and third hearings will be to consider rezoning a municipal parking lot and allowing for the issuance of a special use permit to make way for a hotel.

"We have to make some changes to the overlay district and to some of the zoning to accommodate a hotel because that was never envisioned in that area," Petrone said.

The Huntington Station Overlay District is a commercial area where the parking lot sits. It will be modified to allow the hotel, and the special use permit will allow a hotel in the district.

Officials for Renaissance Downtowns, the master developer for Huntington Station, have said the hotel was one of the leading requests when it polled the community about desired services and amenities.

"We're a little preliminary in the number of rooms and sizes," Brandon Palanker, vice president of marketing and public affairs for Renaissance Downtowns, said. "We're looking for something with that boutique flavor in terms of being quaint and very neighborhood-oriented but open to the community and something the community will utilize."

He said they are considering a facility with catering options, a public gym, and rooftop amenities.

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