The Huntington Town Board board recently rezoned a corner lot and set conditions on two proposed development projects, including what it termed historically appropriate plans at the former Platt’s Tavern property.
The conditions are a first step in what the board referred to as the rehabilitation of a property at the corner of Park Avenue and Route 25A that was once the site of the Revolutionary-Era Platt’s Tavern, one of the earliest buildings in Huntington. It is part of the Old Huntington Green Historic District, which includes properties along Park Avenue, Woodhull Road, East Main Street, Main Street and Sabbath Day Path.
Now occupied by a brightly painted but shuttered gas station, it is where George Washington paid Huntington its first presidential visit in April, 1790. Most recently it has been a part-time food pantry and ministry after a proposal to put a medical office at the historic corner was rejected. In 2015, the Huntington Historic Preservation Commission voted not to grant a certificate of approval for a proposed 10,000-square-foot building on the site. It needed a zone change from a residential district to C-1 zoning, which allows professional offices and other uses. The property also includes a deli that recently closed and a vehicle storage area.
The board voted 4 to 1 at its Sept. 20 meeting to allow rezoning of the corner lot at the intersection of Park Avenue and Route 25A/Main Street from R-15 Residential District to C-1 Office Residence District to make way for a medical office building.
Councilwoman Joan Cergol voted against the rezoning, noting she had not heard back from the developer on her suggestion he present plans for two smaller buildings rather than one large 10,000 square foot building so the proposal is more in keeping with the surrounding area. “I believe it is our opportunity and our responsibility to re-create this iconic corner in a manner that reflects and respects the historic district spirit and guidelines,” Cergol said. “I’m sorry to say I do not see that embodied in the current project.”
“This property is in the Downtown Huntington Historic District so it must come before the Town Board for a second approval, subject to several strict conditions, just to issue the building permit,” Councilman Ed Smyth said. “The Town Board must review and approve the architectural plans and elevations of the premises before anything moves forward, so many of the concerns residents have had can be addressed once we are all able to see the proposed plans.”
“This highly visible corner property at Park Avenue and Main Street welcomes visitors to our downtown area with an ugly, abandoned gas station, and this is the first step of beautifying that area,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “As Councilman Smyth said, this project must still go through many levels of approval and the developer will be working along with the community to do such.”
The conditions include:
* The architecture must be residential in nature;
* A pull-off area and bus shelter must be constructed by the applicant for a bus stop along Route 25A in order to allow buses to stop outside of the travel lane;
* All storm water and septic drainage much be recharged on-site and land grading must not be significantly altered to accommodate the drainage systems in order to retain the aesthetic and historic character of the neighborhood and to minimize any effect on neighborhood drainage;
* The developer must have an archaeologist on site during excavation for the new building foundation so that items of historical interest can be preserved;
* The applicant may request an out-of-district connection to the Huntington Sewer District only prior to submitting a site plan, which if approved, the applicant must construct a connecting sewer line, and pay to also connect the four residential properties located along the sewer line if the residential property owners wish to connect within two years of the date of a notification letter from the applicant;
* No Certificate of Occupancy will be issued if the applicant is not in compliance with these conditions;
* The Local Law approving zone change will not be filed with the Secretary of State by the Town Clerk nor effective until conditions are met and approved by the Town Attorney and the applicant provides proof of filing with the Suffolk County Clerk; and
* No site plan will be approved by the Planning Board or signed by the Director of Planning unless the plan is in full compliance with the conditions and any applicable condition, restriction or limitation established by the Planning Board during site plan review.
The board also set restrictions for the construction of an assisted living facility for memory-impaired patients at the property located on the northeast corner of Woodbury Road and East Gate Drive, West Hills, across from the Cold Spring Harbor LIRR Train Station. Those restrictions include:
* The building must be limited to one story in height;
* Landscaping and irrigation must be designed to reduce fertilization and water use;
* No curb cuts to be allowed on East Gate Drive;
* Landscaped buffers of 45 feet in width must be provided along East Gate Drive and Woodbury Road, with existing landscaping to be maintained;
* The assisted living facility operator must provide sufficient parking on its own property;
* Employee shifts must be staggered to reduce traffic flow during rush hours;
* All deliveries and trash pickup must be conducted between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.;
* During site plan application the developer must request State, County and Town agencies to synchronize their traffic signals on Woodbury Road to improve traffic flow; and
* Developer must comply with Town of Huntington regulations regarding permitted hours of construction.