Town Board Revamps Zoning to Limit Apartments, Ease Parking Strain

The Huntington Town Board has revamped its housing code, barring the development of apartments in areas designated as commercially zoned, known as C-6.

The issue has been a contentious one for years, as opponents complained that allowing apartments downtown took away from the town’s quaint image and created serious parking problems.

The measure, co-sponsored by Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci and Councilman Ed Smyth, the overhaul of the town code  will regulate the size and scale of mixed-use development, consisting of commercial uses on the ground floor and residential apartments on the upper floor(s), in the Huntington Village area and anywhere zoned C6 in the Town.

Among the changes:

    • establish a new 38-foot height limit;
    • promote economic activity on the ground floor by limiting storage or community space to no more than 15% of the ground floor, to eliminate the abuse of mixed-use zoning to create apartment buildings in disguise;
    • Prohibit the placement of parking in the front of existing buildings converting to mixed-use;
    • Increase the required parking to be provided on-site from 1 parking space per apartment to 1.5 spaces per studio or one-bedroom apartment plus 0.5 spaces per additional bedroom;
    • Create a new density limit on new construction or projects expanding the footprint of existing buildings, by requiring the combined square footage of upper floors not to exceed 150% of the first floor.

The changes to C6 Zoning building density, height, and parking requirements were based on input gathered from the public, the town said.

Democrats Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol voted against the resolution. 

The Save Huntington Village group cheered the vote, saying, “From 2006 –when the town code was originally changed to allow unlimited apartments to be built above C6 buildings –until last week when the law was finally changed, Huntington was an important historic town in severe danger of disappearing forever. Now, thanks to the legislation passed last week, it has a fighting chance to preserve its identity, its heritage, and its livability for its residents.”

Lupinacci said, “We promised to protect quality of life in Huntington by stopping the abuse of loopholes in amendments to the Town Code that were added in 2006, which have resulted in every unpopular development project you have seen built in downtown Huntington over the past 11 years, all approved before this administration, including projects you are seeing built today. It took some time and careful consideration, but we worked hard to get it right the first time and I am proud to deliver this promise in my first term as supervisor.  We achieved this with input from the community, and I look forward to delivering more for our residents, as we have on term limits, ethics reforms and now, tackling inappropriate development concerns that have been a looming threat to the suburban charm of Huntington for far too long.”

Smyth said, “Aong with term limits and waterfront clean-up and revitalization, passing this resolution is another campaign promise fulfilled.  We are now focusing on the Town’s infrastructure and sewers.”

Councilman Eugene Cook said, “The resolutions amending C6 that passed are the start of preserving the quaint and charming character of Huntington Village, and I want to thank the various Town of Huntington departments that worked hard and long on these resolutions.  These changes take into account not only water quality, storm water run-off, sewer system capacity, and traffic issues while allowing for the future development of Huntington Village.  It is extremely important that these changes are the first step in the process and that the Town Board continues to re-evaluate Town Code to maintain the historic downtown nature that draws visitors from all over to Huntington.” 

The changes to C6 Zoning, in Chapter 198 of the Town Code, are effective anywhere zoned C6 in the Town but excludes the Huntington Station Overlay District to encourage investment in the underserved area, which is undergoing community revitalization efforts.

The Save Huntington Village group cheered the vote, saying, “From 2006 –when the town code was originally changed to allow unlimited apartments to be built above C6 buildings –until last week when the law was finally changed, Huntington was an important historic town in severe danger of disappearing forever. Now, thanks to the legislation passed last week, it has a fighting chance to preserve its identity, its heritage, and its livability for its residents.”

 

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