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

A Nassau County newspaper’s headline and article that projected that Town “could” add 40,000 apartments in Melville triggered anti-development groups this week.

The number is based on possibilities under zoning rules, not actual plans.

Supervisor Ed Smyth said no such number was contemplated in a plan that would redevelop parts of Melville to add a mix of retail, parks and residences to an area that currently has unused or underused office space. The town has conducted a series of public meetings and met numerous times with the Melville Fire Department, school officials and civic organizations for input. It also plans three public hearings later this spring to reach consensus on the best use of the area.

“The idea of 40,000 residential units in Melville is frankly, preposterous,” Smyth said.

He said that residents will continue to have input on any specific proposals and that each phase of a plan would have a built-in pause to assess the direction of redevelopment.

“The Town Board retains control of the development,” he said. “We can’t predict what applications are ging to be submitted. Tthere’s so many variables that we built in a pause,” meaning that every application will require a separate Town Board vote. “No one is building as of right.”

The North Shore Leader, with a history of publishing provocative articles that often involve housing, determined the theoretical 40,000-unit figure through a series of calcuations it presented involving available space under town zoning rules.

“Melville now has 19,000 residents. The proposed ‘Melville Town Center Overlay District’ (MTCOD) could add over 100,000 new residents to Melville. That number represents 50% of the existing population of the entire Town of Huntington – which now stands at 204,000,” the article reads.

That led to social media posts about the town planning to build 40,000 units, and unfavorable comparisons to Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has pushed commitees around New York to build more housing.

“Why are we considering this? The demand for the office space in Melville is diminishing,” Smyth said. “Existing buildings are vacant and the forecasted future demand for office space is minimal. If we do nothing, Melville over the next 3-5 years will likely consist of a few occupied office buildings surrounded by warehouses, and self-storage facilities. The number of vacant office buildings will grow and create a public safety and quality-of-life issues. As the rent-rolls of the existing buildings go down, so does the value of the property, triggering tax grievances to lower the assessed value.

“Our goal all along has been to transform Melville into an economically viable region of Huntington, without diminishing the value of surrounding homes. This proposal will stimulate economic and social activity in Melville by attracting major investments of private money into the area,” he said.



One Reply to “Claim That Town ‘Could’ Build 40,000 Apartments Isn’t in Town Plans”

  1. This article fails to mention that the Town Board is illegally bringing 2024-167 to a public hearing without an independent environment assessment an distinct impact statement as required be law. Both proposals violate the Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan, which requires publication of a master plan of integrated sewer, water and other infrastructure strategies for this proposed Melville development before moving forward. The Town Board’s assurance of “pauses” — without a written master plan or the the expertise of professional planners — is hardly reassuring,e specially given the “spot zoning” plans they’ve approved all over Huntington few years. Excuse us if we don’t take their word for it — the public deserves an independent environmental assessment and an independent, integrated master plan!

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