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Huntington Town board toughens rules on accessory units

Huntington Town Hall in an undated photo.

Huntington Town Hall in an undated photo. Photo Credit: Alexi Knock

The Huntington Town board has unanimously approved amendments to its accessory apartment law to close some loopholes in the code.

Town law already bars the addition of accessory apartments in homes that are not occupied by the owner. Amendments passed Tuesday include a long list of documents that must be supplied to the accessory apartment hearing officer when a claim of ownership is made. The required documents could include certified copies of the deed and tax returns.

"It is important that landlords don't try to gauge the system and find a loophole to create accessory apartments in nonowner-occupied dwellings," said town board member Susan Berland, who sponsored the resolution, which passed 5-0.

Berland said there have been cases where owners who rent their properties have tried to skirt the law by claiming to give their tenant a 1 percent ownership stake so they can apply for an accessory apartment.

Berland said legal accessory apartments are "very important for a number of reasons." They can help owners economically maintain their homes and provide rental housing in the town, she said.

Huntington resident Lauri Mailloux, who suspects there are illegal apartments in her community, spoke in favor of the changes at a public hearing before the town board voted. She said changing the law would help "spare" neighborhoods the threats to quality of life that illegal apartments pose.

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