Less than four months after a remarkably supportive and civil hearing on a proposal to build a transit-oriented housing development in Huntington Station, there's been an eruption of Not in My Backyard, leading to a case or two of weak knees on the town board.

AvalonBay Communities has a good reputation and a good idea: Build about 500 rental and for-sale units, 25 percent of them in the affordable price range, on a site near the LIRR station, where the current owners could build 109 single-family homes. Most speakers at the March hearing were in favor. Many carried signs saying YIMBY, Yes in My Backyard.

Since then, a small group of people with a big list of e-mail addresses has been working to delay or stop the plan. AvalonBay has reduced the proposal from 530 units to 490 and promised $500,000 more for the revitalization of Huntington Station. The proposal could get a vote tonight. But the voice of the naysayers has continued. They'd like to postpone a vote until September and shrink the proposal even further.

Higher-density, transit-oriented housing has to be part of Long Island, if we are to have a sustainable future. If we keep using nothing but the same single-family home pattern we've used for decades, we'll get a lot more of what we've been getting: traffic gridlock and a brain-drain of young people who can't find affordable places to live. Tonight, the town board should say unequivocally: Yes In My Backyard. hN

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