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Huntington Town Board quashes proposed Melville overlay district

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An overlay district proposed in Melville’s Route 110 corridor failed to pass through a spilt Huntington Town Board Tuesday night.

After four hours of public hearings and comments on a host of other issues, the board voted 3-2 against three proposed amendments to the town code that would have created and set regulations for an overlay district.

Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Councilmember Mark Cuthbertson were the two board members who voted to pass the legislation. Tuesday’s board meeting was Lupinacci’s last as supervisor and also marked the end of 24 years on the town board for Cuthbertson.

If the proposal, which Lupinacci sponsored, had been passed, it would have allowed multifamily residential housing and an array of retail and commercial construction around Route 110 in Melville.

A divided public

The public — like the town board — was divided over the issue.

Phillip Foundos, a commissioner with the Melville Fire Department was first to speak, accompanied by commissioners Wayne Eckstein and Carolyn Koegl.

“The fire district believes that further due diligence is required prior to any vote on the industrial overlay,” Foundos said. “The Melville Fire District believes the town board needs to discuss proposed actions with representatives of the affected civic associations, school districts and the fire districts that are involved.”

Foundos added that the development that would follow the overlay district would lead to additional call volume that may overwhelm volunteers and create additional traffic on Route 110, interfering with speedy responses to calls. He said it could also lead to an increase in taxes, should the department need to hire additional paid personnel, update infrastructure and purchase more equipment.

Before additional members of the public approached the board and seconded Foundos’ concerns, Lupinacci told the commissioners the Melville Fire District would “have a seat at the table” when projects were proposed within the district, as would school districts.

Members of the Long Island Builders Institute and the Huntington Township Housing Coalition spoke in favor of the overlay district.

“The town is desperately in need of all kinds of housing,” Roger Weaving Jr., vice president of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, said. “We’re always up here talking about affordable housing, but it needs more housing of all forms, and it’s got to go somewhere. This doesn’t mean this has to be where it is, but we’re broadly in favor of mixed use solutions.”

Top: Fairfield Properties along NY Route 110 in Melville, New York. Courtesy of Google Maps.