Board Approves Zone Change for Assisted Living Facility

The Huntington Town Board approved a zone change Tuesday that will allow for an assisted living facility to be built in Melville.

The 4-1 vote, with Councilman Eugene Cook dissenting, came despite opposition from numerous neighbors and others, including Suffolk County Legislator Susan Berland, D-16.

Opponents said the assisted living facility, with 115 units on 5.63 acres, would damage the residential character of the neighborhood. Nearly 900 people had signed a petition opposing the change from residential to residential health services district.

The Benchmark Senior Living at Dix Hills would replace a nursery at the northeast corner of Half Hollow Road and North Service Road.

One resident who spoke in favor of the facility pointed at the need to find care for an aging population. Another person in the crowd at the Town Board hearing shouted that people should care for their relatives at home.

Berland noted that there are many other assisted living places in the area, and reminded Town Board members of the views of neighboring residents.

“You need to hear the members of this community,” she said. “The will of our mutual constituents is clear. The project is unwanted. Deny the zone change.”

Hector Gavilla, who lost his campaign for Berland’s 16th District seat, also spoke against the zone change, saying, “The people are not against development. You could develop single-family homes.”

After the vote, two angry members of the audience shouted insults at the board, including, “Graft is graft.” 

Cook said after the meeting that he voted against the zone change because, “We’re elected to stand by our people.”

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