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Town Approves Rezoning for Affordable Senior Housing

The Huntington Town Board, at its June 19 meeting, approved a rezoning that allows implementation of an innovative arrangement that allows the purchase of Meyers Farm  to create Sweet Hollow Park and the construction of 260 units of affordable senior housing and a temple on what is now an industrial parcel in Melville.

“This is a win-win-win, giving the community a park it has sought for many years, creating much-needed affordable housing for seniors and allowing construction of a house of worship for a group that has been trying to build one for quite some time,” Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said. “Bringing this all together took a lot of dedication and hard work by the Town, community representatives, the religious leaders and the business community, but it was well worth the effort, given the result.”

The formal steps to implement the proposal began in March, when the Town Board authorized the purchase of the 8.1-acre former Meyers Farm on Round Swamp Road, for a price not to exceed $1.325 million, from Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam-Northeast (BAPS).  As recommended by the Town’s EOSPA Committee, the Town envisions developing three acres for active recreational use and holding five acres as passive parkland.

Under the agreement approved June 19, the development rights for the five acres to be used as passive parkland are transferred to five acres of the 18-acre site on Deshon Drive that had been used by Newsday as a preprint distribution warehouse and for its business operations. The Town Board changed the zoning on the 18-acre parcel from I1 Industrial to 3M Garden apartment, a classification that would allow construction of 261 units of housing. The agreement allows clustering that housing on 13 of the acres. The remaining five acres will be sold to BAPS, which, using the development rights transferred from the Meyers Farm property it is selling to the Town, will be able to build its temple there.

Deshon Partners LLC, the developer of the former Newsday site, has committed that the 261-unit project will be entirely for affordable senior housing, including a covenant that all of the units will remain income restricted (affordable) in perpetuity.

The Meyers Farm sales price reflects the property’s decreased value because of the transfer of the development rights.

The vote on the proposal was 4-1. Supervisor Petrone, who sponsored the resolution, was joined by Council Members Mark Cuthbertson, Susan Berland and Mark Mayoka. Councilman Eugene Cook vote against the plan.

In other action, the Town Board:

*gave the necessary approval for the “Art Around Town” program, authorizing the Supervisor to execute no-cost agreements with artists and property owners under which works of art will be on temporary display in vacant storefronts. The program is part of the 2012 Public Art Plan approved by the Town Board in December. In May, a selection panel from the Town’s Public Art Advisory Committee, evaluating responses to a request for proposals, pre-qualified 21 artists for participation in the program.

*approved a contract with former New York Islander Benoit Hogue to oversee the summer hockey camp at the Town’s Dix Hills Ice Rink.

* authorized spending up to $128,000 from the Town’s Environmental Open Space and Park Improvement and the Neighborhood Park Funds to enhance handicapped accessibility at the Dix Hills Park pool by enlarging and improving the handicapped parking area, replacing fencing and installing a concrete floor in the tent area.

*voted to endorse the North Shore Land Alliance’s application for a $500,000 New York State Environmental Protection Fund grant to help finance its share of the cost of purchasing the DeForest Williams Estate in Cold Spring Harbor. The Town, Suffolk County and the Alliance are acquiring the estate as a partnership in which the County is to incur 50 percent of the cost and the Town and the Alliance 25 percent each.


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