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Clarification of Huntington School Board’s Position on AvalonBay

BOE President Bill Dwyer

I write to set the record straight regarding AvalonBay’s most recent proposal and the Huntington Board of Education’s (BOE) position regarding it.

With the first proposal, the Board was approached by AvalonBay 18 months prior to the Town Board voting to take any action.  AvalonBay expressed an interest in working with the district to help mitigate any adverse impact of their development. The Board ended up voting unanimously to oppose the town’s Transit Oriented District Zone, because we felt it singled out Huntington Station for increased housing density and left open the opportunity for additional high density developments in the future.

Regarding the latest AvalonBay proposal, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson says we have “negotiated in bad faith.” To those ends, there have been no negotiations between AvalonBay or Town Hall and the BOE.  His statement that we have been given “reams of information” is untrue.  We have not been contacted by either AvalonBay or Town Hall regarding the latest proposal.  The only contact we have had was initiated by me, when I contacted the Tax Assessor and Planning Department trying to determine what the actual tax receipts from the proposed development would be.  I was informed that the town had not done any work in determining what it would assess AvalonBay, and in a subsequent conversation with the Planning Department, was informed that they would use the proposed tax receipt numbers put forth by AvalonBay in their Draft Environmental Impact Study, not a number generated by the Tax Assessors office.

This lack of financial diligence by Town Hall, coupled with a skepticism towards the predicted number of children added to the school district led to the Board voting unanimously in favor of a position of non-support, pending future discussions with AvalonBay and Town Hall. Our Board has worked hard to keep from increasing the already high tax burden that our district residents carry.  Supporting a proposed development without guarantees that it won’t adversely affect our district economically would be irresponsible of the Board.

-Bill Dwyer President, Huntington Board of Education

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6 comments to Clarification of Huntington School Board’s Position on AvalonBay

  • Anonymous

    Can someone explain to me why my tax dollars are going to BOE politics?

  • Legal Precedent

    I’m not sure if the board has independent legal representation, but there a few cases in Conn. and PA where the local BOE sued the town for failure to assess new housing developments properly. Courts largely were able to come up with the opinion that the town government provided abnormally low assessments because of their highly partial support of a developer. This combined with an article 78 suit on failure to comply with zoning change procedure in relation to public comment could have teeth. Its this, or laying off staff plus increased student headcount. Splitting the district is legally not feasible (which the school, and heck, all the voters, would unfortunately lose due to a NAACP grievance).

  • Marshall Field

    Back in the 1980’s some very leftist/socialistic people met to see how they could effect social change. These progressives realized they could work with builders and developers to achieve this. They would work together with local governments to attain the proper zoning requirements. This is how we got local governments to approve single family houses with accessory apartments. The real estate industry loved this because it gave people another way to pay for the mortgage and this increased sales. It also gave people who couldn’t normally afford to live in a nice community the opportunity to do so. This has created a tax drain on government services and the school district. Only the town of Huntington and the landlord makes money from these rentals. Our schools and taxpayers must foot the bill so Huntington and landlords “many slumlords” make large amounts of money. This has to stop or you will see a mass exodus of middleclass people fleeing a corrupt town thats hurting it’s school districts so the real estate industry can prosper.

  • My Town Too

    Agreed, CSH wouldn’t allow any of this to happen in their part of town, but then, their zoning is different and they have Lloyd Harbor which as a village has it’s own zoning rules.

    But for you to blame the Huntington School Board for the problems in Huntington Station is beyond absurd! The station has always housed most of the minorities in our district boundaries, and that was a function of either the people seeking to live with “their own” or realtors heading them in that direction as some believe.

    As far as your plan to move all the kids back to the schools closest to their homes – it can’t happen. First, the district has been under court order to equalize the population in our schools. For decades we have had students bused across 25A to achieve this. Second, there is no room for K-6 in the current four primary buildings. There are several more programs that require space in the primaries, taking up what would be classrooms. The old neighborhood school concept doesn’t fit in Huntington anymore. We would have to add Woodhull and Jack Abrams to the mix for K-6’s, and obviously, there would be students “bused” from somewhere to fill those buildings.

    We live in a “district”. Just because you buy a house in the Bay doesn’t mean you get to go to a school in the Bay. If a realtor sold you a house promising you Flower Hill or Southdown so you wouldn’t have to deal with us peons south of 25A, you were sold a bunch of lies! Districts can and do change their attendance zones based on law, numbers of students and space available. Look how many times Huntington has redistricted over the years.

    The problems in the station were made by incompetent and greedy town boards IMHO. They must deal with resulting crime and illegal housing so our district can recoup it’s good reputation.

  • Anonymous

    VOTE THE CURRENT BOARD OUT!!!!!!

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