Executive Board of Greater Huntington Civic Group shifts focus to alerting members to projects that are in the infancy stages.
Greater Huntington Civic Group President Steven Spucces announced today that the Group’s Executive Board has unanimously decided to no longer pursue the appeal that had been filed in the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court. The appeal had been filed in a bid to overturn a judge’s November 19, 2012 decision to deny the merits of the Group’s original lawsuit. The suit was aimed at stopping Avalon Bay Communities, Inc. from developing a high-density housing complex south of the Huntington Rail Road Station.
Among the lawsuit’s assertions, the spot zoning approved by the Huntington Town Board to allow 14.5 units per acre far exceeds the density of the surrounding community, including any other multi-family dwellings. The property was originally zoned for 109 single-family homes.
“Dropping the lawsuit was not an easy decision to make,” said Steven Spucces, president of the Group. “Unfortunately, in spite of the project’s unprecedented density and flagrant SEQRA violations, which were outlined in our appeal, the Avalon Bay project continued to be built.” The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires that an environmental impact review be completed to assess the impact of such rezoning on traffic, sewage, soil, open space preservation, and more. The review was never carried out before Town approval was given.
In spite of this legal setback, the Group was instrumental in stopping the Town Board’s approval of a Transit-Oriented District (TOD), which was originally proposed for the property. This effectively reduced the number of housing units from over 500 to 379.
“The Avalon Bay project has become a wake-up call for many residents of the Huntington community. As a result, it is incumbent upon us to stay vigilant in identifying proposed projects in their infancy, at a point when our membership can have truly meaningful input. That’s why our Executive Board has shifted the Group’s focus and resources to making sure we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to new proposals and alerting our membership to their potential scope and impact.”
“In fact, because of our front-and-center involvement in these issues,” Mr. Spucces continued, “developers now approach us to discuss their upcoming projects. We are committed to continuing that discourse and ‘being at the table’ when these land-use decisions are under consideration.”