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Huntington POV: Mauled by the Mall

I live somewhere within the Town of Huntington (TOH) in the corrupt land of King Frank Petrone.  I am fearful that if I speak up, the next day swarms of TOH employees will find problems with my house or certificate of occupancy, or tell me I failed to trim trees on my property in accordance with town codes.  This once proud town is indeed the kingdom of Petrone, and I am keeping my identity hidden until the king is de-throned.

I happen to live close by the Walt Whitman Mall and have been a resident here for over 15 years.   When I first moved here, the mall had two anchor stores– Macy’s and A&S.  Over time, A&S closed and numerous changes took place.  The most significant change came in 2000 with the expansion of the mall to its current size.   Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue were built, and the old Macy’s became Bloomingdale’s.  The owners of the mall, Simon Group, wanted a much grander expansion including a second floor food court.  Many community activists and members of civic communities fought against the various levels of expansion, but eventually the current design was the agreed upon expansion.  I recall being told this would be it with respect to expansion and as a local resident, I would not need to worry about it anymore.

Eleven years later, the rest of the plan is moving forward.  Even worse are the shadow procedures that are taking place to make this unnecessary expansion a reality.  I attended the TOH Zoning Board meeting last week, and I was quite disturbed.  To begin with, the Simon Group paraded out some lovely drawings and renderings of what the expansion would look like.  They want a second floor for a food court and they are seeking to expand westward towards route 110 to add more stores.  Most disturbing was the redrawing and narrowing of parking spaces to squeeze in more cars as well as eliminating recharge basins (used for catching storm runoff) and replacing them with parking lots.  So how is all of this happening without me knowing about it until so late in the game?

A spokesperson for Simon Group claimed to have reached out to neighboring residents such as myself utilizing numerous methods to get residents’ input.  That simply never happened.  I am involved in numerous organizations, and I am fairly confident I would have been contacted sooner or later, as they claim.  There were nearby civic groups claiming to be in support of the expansion, but I can’t understand why.  The immediate claim is this expansion will create more jobs.  More jobs for whom?  Are there any construction companies in and around the mall with idle workers waiting for employment?  And if these additional retail locations are added, are these the jobs that are going to be so badly coveted?  Are there not enough “For Rent” signs on retail spaces up and down the 110 corridor?  And, there was no guarantee work would not be done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Add this to the Lowe’s construction just up the road and the Northern State/Rt. 110 interchange reconstruction and this part of Huntington will be insane.

So why is this happening?  I just don’t know, but it seems while folks were fighting King Petrone’s Avalon Bay in Huntington Station project, shadow forces suddenly jumped in and advocated for this unnecessary expansion with too little communication or concern for surrounding neighbors.  I am hopeful we can resist this expansion at all costs. I also hope in the near future  that the tyrannical King Petrone is unable to push through any more bad ideas on his repressed subjects.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and not those of the Village Tattler.

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29 comments to Huntington POV: Mauled by the Mall

  • My Town Too

    I am more concerned about the effect this expansion will have on our small business owners, once again.
    While it is nice to have “choices” when shopping, it seems to me that having more personal service given by our local small businesses is the better choice.
    When the Whitman Mall was first built back in the 60’s, people said the same thing, and sure enough, several little stores around the town went out of business. Just like the Home Depots and Lowes kick the smaller hardware stores down the road, the huge department stores hurt the local clothing stores etc.
    Huntington Village has been relegated to provide pretty much only restaurants, bars, high end clothing stores, coffee shops and gift shops. We used to have numerous affordable clothing stores, shoe stores, “five and dime” stores, fabric stores etc. No more.

    While making the Whitman Mall look pretty is a good thing, huge expansions don’t seem necessary around here. With the hopeful revitalization of Huntington Station, just a couple of miles up the road, one would think our Town Board would like to reserve the need for small businesses for that area. They won’t be successful with huge mall expansions!

  • Ruh Row!

    What is shocking is that Frank Petrone himself said this would not happen:

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/1997-07-16/local/18056468_1_cpi-petrone-movie-theater

    • S. Hunt. Senior

      Great piece of investigative reporting to find this article. It shows you what a snake Petrone is as he was a Republican back then and conveniently switched parties to save his own skin. You can’t switch back now Frank! We can just switch you off!

  • Sonya where are you?

    Where is Sonya Bradley when you need her? She was very tenacious and the Town Board was afraid of her.

  • Dr. Lovejoy

    I like this King Petrone angle. He is a Tyrant!

  • Beware

    That was a good point raised above. I work in Garden City and live in Huntington. The local papers in GC have long claimed Huntington as a retail success they should follow. I used to laugh as it seemed to me a tale of two cities. GC so strict to the point of sterile and Huntington so liberal to the point of do whatever you please. But the difference to me was always clear. Retail in GC was not successful because of Roosevelt Mall. Nobody shops in GC. They go to the Mall and shop owners have died off. What is wrong with Petrone that he does not see this? We need to take away this man’s power ASAP. We need to start by voting out Berland and Jackson and break up this voting block. These guys really do not have the right view of our future.

    • Wundaboy

      Huntington Village has survived the mall “maul” for well over 40 years because the village shops adapted and provide great service in a great village. Other villages in close proximity to mall such as Bayshore, Patchogue and Garden City either could not or would not adapt. Don’t worry about Huntington Village. Try to remember we live in a free market economy and this is how it works. Most commentors on this board are just angry anti-Avalon Bay people looking for a reason to rant at the current town board and supervisor who are, in fact, doing a great job and will all be re-elected.

      • More Like BlundaBoy

        Looks like Wundaboy is Petroned! Are you one of the king’s men? Take a good look around the rest of the town where the vacancy rate among commercial spaces is astronomical. It seems like King Frank wants the immediate village to look upscale and pretty but just south on New York Ave and that’s when your heartaches begin. Go east aor west along Jericho Tpke from NY Ave and see how many stores are shuttered. No business. The King cares about his little plot of his empire just outside his castle. And by the way, the free market economy is in fact working well with so many stores closed or vacant. Huntington is not a friendly place to do business unless you are a patronizer of King Petrone. The King helps those who help him. That’s a legacy of crime, illegal housing, downzoning, and high taxes. You must be out of your mind if you think they are doing a great job. Seriously!!!

      • Vote them out

        @Wundaboy- I wonder what the owner of Sole Provision currently going out of business would say to your comment. Or Blossom a few weeks ago or any of the other multitude of stores that have given up either after a short period of time or many years. While bars and restaurants seem to thrive, shops have a harder time. And much closer to the mall is a new store in Huntington Station right on NY Avenue selling “urban” clothing – isn’t that what we need to happen more than a mall expansion? That owner, and many others who might venture into this “renewal”, is more threatened by the proximity of the mall. Why doesn’t Petrone just work on one thing at a time so we stand a better chance of getting it right? Leave the mall as it is and let’s stop putting further pressure on what exists.

        • Vote them out

          Most of the people who Wundaboy calls angry anti-avalon bay are really just people who want a Town Supervisor who works with them, not against them. It would only seem reasonable that Petrone and Cuthbertson would be willing to work with the community members they represent instead of fighting them all the time. Try being the voice of the people who own homes around the mall instead of the voice of Simon Properties. Work with a school district who will ultimately have to provide a seat for all the new bodies the housing will bring and work with them to make all neighborhood schools safer. Consider the concerns of those who live near the Vanderbilt Museum and don’t like the idea of looking out onto a cell tower. It is our Town Board that acts angry. One by one they will fight with all the neighborhoods that make up our Township as they defend the rights of developers over homeowners. And one by one this Township will finally be angry enough to vote them out.

          • What about Halesite?

            NY Avenue is flooded as we speak. Just the little rain we had tonight enough to flood all of NY Avenue from Abbott all the way to Spring. The stink of sewage is enough to make you sick right now. NY Avenue is a state owned road. But in the past 18 years Frank Petrone has never once thought to fight for Halesite? You can”t think outside your box, Frank, and fight for people who actually live here? Here you go, Frank Petrone. Add Halesite to the neighborhoods who are sick and tired of the BS.

  • Petroned

    We are all about to be Petroned again. This deal will also be rammed down the throats of the residents within the mall area. Nothing is to small or large for Petrone to agree with developers and their money. Like we really needed a Lowes on Jericho tpk can’t wait until traffic increases from all the new building thats going to happen. Kiss suburbia goodbye with the dems in charge. They’ve already brought city crime to Huntington Station now they have brought it to Huntington Village. I would appeal to all Democrats, Petrone Cuthbertson Berland Jackson are not really democrats but representatives for the developers and builders and slumlords making Huntington an asphalt/concrete criminal jungle.

  • Patty

    How He gets away with all of his nonsense is beyond me. did anyone pay attention to the filming of “Royal Pains ” (USA Channel,I believe) at Westneck Beach. I wonder who got the check in their pockets there!! I am born and raised in this town,I am 53 years old,and I am so disgusted who gets priorities ,and who does not!! How he got voted back in is beyond me. What has happened to my once,small Italian,Irish and German neighborhood ,is horrible.And it just keeps getting worse. All I can believe at this point is his day will come……

  • My Town Too

    He got voted back in because no one was aware or paying attention to the issues that really mean something to the population.

    He got voted back in because he was supposedly keeping our town taxes down and people are wowed by things like new ice skating rinks and “green” cars for the town etc.

    Only those involved in the back room deals knew what was really happening and who got paid!

  • John Condon

    Frank Petrone aside I ask: If the ZBA finds reason to reduce the size of off street parking stalls for the WW Mall to 9′ X 18′ why does every other commercial establishment have to provide stalls at 10′ X 20′? Why not change the code and apply the standard uniformly? Same with landscaping. How does the town allow paving over a recharge basin (environmental and wildlife preserve) without a thorough review? Where are the environmentalist when you need them? The Mall keeps nibbling and will one day succeed in changing the neighborhood it settled in 50 years ago.
    The expansion proposal includes relocation of the bus depot to the S/S of the Mall. Buses pass my house twice an hour. They are noisy and obnoxious but I tolerate it because of the service they supposedly provide to those in need. I never see more than three people on a bus. The town should revisit HART and look into reducing the size of the buses,noise and the volume of exhaust fumes.
    Looking forward to site plan review. Too bad Sonja is not around to work with the PD staff (behind the scenes) to control the expansion again. I hope it is an open process. JC

  • Also ask King Patronie how many 7 11 stores do we need in the town ship??Remember all the old fashioned German Delis with home cooking on the premises?And no after midnight businesses selling beer?

    • safety first

      Not just the 7-11 stores what about all the bodegas in the station that are open all hours of the night with people drinking and hanging out. They should have a curfew of 10:00pm.

  • Anonymous

    this is the captialisic system u created now u get upset when its no longer working for u sad place in which we live

    • Reality Check

      Wrong! Capitalism works when government regulates and protects the public. Not acting on behalf of the developers! Where’s the number one concern for the environment from the so-called Town Democrats? Water resources will be strained, additional pollution from more cars, and think about how much extra garbage will now be produced! I understand Robert F. Kennedy kicked off his New York senate campaign in 1965 at the Mall. Imagine what his disgust with his own party would be based on all that is happening today. This is not capitalism so don’t hide behind that phony argument.

  • Marshall Field

    JC has a very good point. If the zba authorizes the parking stalls to be smaller than why not all across the town? The bottom line who would want to park their vehicle even closer to those parked next to you because the developer and owner of the mall wants to cram in more vehicles to get more shoppers. In parking areas of some retail stores like Lord and Taylor they give you even more room to park your vehicle so as not to come out and see a door dented by someone opening their door recklessly.

    Builders and developers are running scared that Petrone will lose power so they are fast tracking many projects in order to get them passed by Petrone and his 3 yes people.

  • Sullivan

    I don’t think we have to expand the WW Mall. Too many store fronts are for rent already. Its bad enough that we are starting to look like Queens.When I moved out to Huntington Station in 1975 this was the country. Not any more. Too much lawn not enough trees, shrubs or flowers left.

  • KK

    I remember Sonya Bradley. She worked very hard back in the early 90s to fight off a huge mall exapnsion plan. They wanted to put a whole second floor to the mall, food courts and a game arcade, and movie theater. She got them to size it down and make them plant trees and make the mall classy. But – this was only for a 20 year agreement. Time has expired, and the vultures can get to swoop down again. Who is going to be our champion this time? Same thing with Avalon Bay – residents organized and complained and it got voted down, 3 months later Petrone goes out to Riverhead and gets it re-zoned anyway.

  • Reality Check

    Here is the problem KK, most of us rely on one or two “activists” to carry the weight of all of us while we channel surf our cable boxes, waste time watching sports, or become enthralled with on-line social sites. We just can’t do that anymore. The Huntington Civic Group is a good start but more of us in the area around the mall need to band togther. If anyone is interested, reply to this email and we can figure a way to organize and pay tribute to the past work of Sonya Bradley!

  • Anonymous

    The pending lawsuit against frank Petrone and Avalon Bay may slow down the project enough so that come the fall election Berland and Jackson will lose their seats on the town board. Then we can start to focus on developing a real master plan to prevent urban sprawl and preserve whats left after the Petrone reign of overdevelopment. Avalon Bay and the Simon property developers will have a huge fight on their hands.

  • KK

    I realize that the real power we all have is our VOTE. If we vote for people who want the same things, then we don’t have to keep fighting all the time. The mistake most of us make is that most people vote for their party whoever it is. But we all have to really listen to what these people are saying when they run for office.

  • Mad At Steve

    I agree KK. I keep my registration private and look at candidates. Party’s are soon to be a thing of the past.

  • Matt Harris

    You ask how did Petrone get re-elected? Because he uses smoke and mirrors! The last election, 2009, he made sure NO ONE knew about the pending TOD in HS. The TOD map, which I was originally was told did not exist, as late as June of 2010, had a “drawn date” of October 28, 2009, just days before Petrone was re-elected.
    It took years to get Town Board meetings televised, and yet they are still not live. Why?
    Smoke and mirrors.

  • Excited

    I am thrilled over hearing of the food court expansion at the mall. How wonderful.

    I wish they would clean up Huntington Station and all the mess along NY Ave. It is embarrassing.

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