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Zone change makes way for $80M mall in Elwood

The Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan has been amended

The Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan has been amended by the Huntington Town Board to allow for an $80 million, 485,000-square-foot mall to be built on Jericho Turnpike in Elwood. Credit: Villadom Corp.

A plan to build an $80 million, 485,000-square-foot commercial development on Jericho Turnpike in Elwood has taken a step forward.

The Huntington Town Board directed its planning board this month to prepare an amendment to the town’s Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan to classify the 49.28-acre property as appropriate for commercial use and to simultaneously review a zone change application for the project.

The Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan, crafted in 2008, articulates a vision of Huntington in the years beyond 2020, town officials said.

The proposed zoning change needs to be in conformance with the comprehensive plan for the zoning change to be approved.

The developer, Great Neck-based Villadom Corp., is asking that the comprehensive plan be changed so that the property just east of Manor Road will become commercially zoned, instead of its current low density residential zoning.

The resolution, passed Dec. 8, also says the developer must deposit $30,500 with the town Department of Planning and Environment to pay for a review of traffic studies the developer submitted. The town board also recently accepted for review a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal.

Supervisor Frank Petrone said he has “some concerns” about the project’s size, “although it did shrink down. And there could be some other concerns in terms of the possible tenants. I want to hear public input on all the particulars of the plan.”

The application for the project known as Elwood Orchard by Villadom indicates the main building would contain a variety of uses such as retail, offices — including medical — a fitness center and a supermarket. The plan also calls for four smaller buildings at the front of the property.

Of the 1,929 parking spaces in the site plan, 373 would be underground. A new traffic signal would be provided at a central site entrance, and the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Old Country Road and its traffic signal would be redesigned.

Town officials are also reviewing a reduced density alternate plan the developer has provided to the town — a 392,000-square-foot development with two smaller buildings and no underground parking.

Developer Kris Torkan said he has met with several civic groups in the community in recent years.

“We are committed 100 percent to work with the town and community to complete this project,” he said.

Andrew Kaplan, vice president of the Manor Plains Civic Association, said his organization is analyzing the proposal.

“You’re looking at the approval of square footage that is greater than the Nassau Coliseum and a retaining wall that is four stories tall,” Kaplan said. “It may be the best thing ever; it may be not so great; it just takes some study to work through 1,000 pages of stuff, and we’re poring through it.”

The planning board will hold a public hearing after studying the application, then make a recommendation to the town board, which will also hold a public hearing, town officials said.

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