Update: Town Ramps Up Villadom Hearing Rules

The Town of Huntington is ramping up warnings for the public hearing on the Villadom complex  that is expected to draw large crowds Thursday as opposition to the project heats up.

Over the weekend, it posted information about access to the public hearing at Elwood Middle School, noting that only the Elwood Road entrance will be open because of security precautions. It also advises those who plan to attend to carpool because of tight parking.

Monday, it posted this information:

    • The project is up for a public hearing only; a vote on the proposal cannot take place until 90 days after the hearing. This means that the full Town Board hearing is scheduled to occur before the public hearing.
    • People wishing to speak must sign in with security when entering the school.  A number will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no pre-registration to speak.
    •  Speakers will be called up to assemble in groups of five (speakers numbers 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, etc.) in the far left and far right aisles, where there will be reserved seating for each group of five speakers in the aisle. Once finished speaking, speakers will return to other seats in the auditorium, opening up the reserved seats for the next five speakers.
    •   The Elwood School District will not permit public access to school grounds prior to 6:00 PM because of Middle School activities.  Town of Huntington Public Safety Officers will coordinate on site with Suffolk County Police to maintain a safe and orderly environment for the event as per the Elwood School District’s request.
    •  The maximum time allotted for every speaker will be determined at an early point in the meeting based on the number of participants wishing to speak. A Villadom representative will open Public Hearing 1, as is standard format, followed by the public.
    •     If the auditorium is filled to maximum occupancy, audio from the meeting will be broadcast to people assembled outside the building.

The $80-million proposal for what developers call Elwood Orchard would require an amendment to the town’s comprehensive plan, Horizons 2020, as well as a zoning change.

A corner of the 56.01-acre property at the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Manor Road now houses a small strip mall, while another 6.73-acre section has a single-family home that will be unaffected by the proposal and will be subdivided from the larger parcel. The remainder of the land is undeveloped, covered with steep slopes and woods in part and home to once-mined sand piles that show the traces of ATV tracks.

The proposal for calls for 49.28 acres of the site to be re-zoned C-5 in support of a 486,380-square-foot commercial center on Jericho Turnpike. The C-5 designation is a planned shopping center mixed-use commercial development, a change from its current zoning of R-40 residential and C-6 general business. The development is within the Elwood School District and the Greenlawn fire and water districts.

This is the third proposal for the site since 2000 that seeks expanded commercial use and a higher density of development than the property’s current zoning allows. A housing proposal was rejected partly because it did not meet comprehensive plan guidelines, and the Town Board asked the Planning Board to prepare a proposed amendment to the comprehensive plan.

The town said live streaming will not be available for the hearing.

With Kay Blough







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