Board OKs Melville Hearings, but Lupinacci Splits in Opposition

The Huntington Town Board voted Wednesday night to approve three public hearings on the proposed Melville Town Center but only after a lengthy statement in opposition from Councilwoman Brooke Lupinacci.

Councilman David Bennardo was absent, producing a vote of 3-1 in support of the public hearings. Lupinacci opposed the hearings but later attempted to open Wednesday’s meeting to public comment. That  move was rejected.

The Melvillle Town Center proposal involves creating mixed-use retail and housing with a walkable downtown centered in the area of Maxess Road. Housing units would be capped at 3,000, the town said.

Lupinacci and Supervisor Ed Smyth disagreed over the impact of the code change on Melville that would allow the proposal to go forward.

The town has been meeting with civic groups, the fire department and others over several months to discuss the proposal and will have the three public hearings in the next few months to discuss what is on the table.  Some residents have expressed concerns about the area becoming the home to too many warehouses bringing heavy truck traffic to the community,  while others are dead set against anything that would increase housing and impact on infrastructure.

In reading her statement before the vote, Lupinacci said, “The key word here is plan.We can’t put the cart before the horse. Unfortunately, there is no plan with the previous resolution or the proposed amendments on today’s agenda. I’m on the board and I haven’t seen an actual plan.”
“As a board we need to build trust with the community and develop  a clear and transparent plan.

do not include survey plans, archtiecturlal drawings or renderings.  Without the inclusion of those plans, the legal language to limit the housing would not be binding,” meaning that the overlay district could allow other development to occur in Melville that the town could not reject out of hand.

“I say let’s be visionary but let’s get it right,” Lupinacci to applause to about a dozen opponents of the project, some of whom held up signs expressing their opposition and complaining that they weren’t allowed to speak.

Smyth, however, said, while he agreed with some of what Lupinacci said, “There’s one fundamental flaw in all of this, that  this is not a zone change but an amendment to the town code. And the importance of that is that the Town Board retains jurisdiction over this. And  every single application that is submitted under this proposed plan would rest with the town board.”
He said the “vision here is to create an economic revival in Melville centered around a downtown area around Maxess Road.
Councilman Sal Ferro expressed surprise at Lupinacci’s words, and mentioned the “false narratives” and “scare tactics and fear mongering” around the proposal, and noted that town officials had been meeting with civic groups in the community to reach the plan. Councilwoman Theresa Mari also supported scheduling the public hearings but emphasized that her vote on the proposal would “depend on what the public wants and what the plans look like.”
After Smyth solicited a motion to end the meeting, Lupinacci attempted to allow public comment, but the board voted to close the session. That led one woman to shout out demands for more information about who was involved in the project as the meeting broke up.
The three hearings are scheduled for
  • April 30 at 7 p.m. at West Hollow Middle School
  • May 7, at 2 p.m., at the Town Board meeting at Town Hall
  • June 12, 7 p.m. Town Board meeting

“I look forward to incorporating those ideas into the code amendment,” Smyth said.

Melville Center Amendments Include Caps

Claim That Town ‘Could’ Build 40,000 Apartments Isn’t in Town Plans


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