By Julio Avila
The Town of Huntington’s Zoning Board of Appeals met on Feb. 28 at Huntington Town Hall to discuss property changes proposed by applicants.
It was quiet with some movement going on in the public meeting room as the board was setting up their positions on the elongated desk in front of the meeting room. The clock struck 6:00 p.m. and the panel took their seats.
The board consisted of seven members; James Rogers, Jeff Naness, Carol Guaghran, Angela Cowie, Scott Frawler, James Mathews, and Robert Sling.
The room was almost abandoned and barren. Aside from the board members, there were only five other people, four of whom were there to make appeals, and one security guard.
As the hearing began, an introduction was made by Scott Fawler, the vice-chairman of the board who was filling in for Paul Mandelik, the incumbent chairman of the board.
“Good evening everyone, welcome to the Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals meeting….this meeting helps decides applications for variances within the Town of Huntington…..with respect to non-conforming uses and other zoning matters….”, said Fawler as he commenced the meeting.
He concluded his introduction and then called the first applicant to approach the podium; a man from Centerport whose name was not audible at the moment he introduced himself. He owns a single family one story house.
“On my property, there is only one house but ample space for an additional two homes”, said this resident. His appeal was to build two additional homes along with the home he already had on the property.
“Has someone from the Planning Department inspected your property and gave approval for your property to be sub-divided?” asked Jim Mathew.
“No. Not yet it hasn’t-,”replied the speaker were upon he was interrupted by Mathews.
“It sounds like you want to split up the property by adding more houses on the lot, and under the town’s zoning code, there can only be one dwelling on a single parcel of land,” explained Mathews.
Before continuing with his appeal, Angela Cowie made mention of a required affidavit that the speaker did not have, resulting in requesting the adjournment of his appeal. The board accepted his motion to adjourn the hearing and would continue with his appeal in a future meeting.
As the previous speaker was organizing his documents, Frawler then called out the next appeal. The next speakers were Anthony Ordino of TD Bank and his partner Joseph Calucci, a construction engineer.
Anthony Ordino was the first to speak, “We are here on behalf of TD Bank to propose the construction of a new bank on Route 110 in Melville, next to the Rosewood Inn”.
Ordino presented sketches of how the constructed bank would look like, a diagram of the parking lot with entrances and exits, and a satellite image of the property between Route 110 and Old Walt Whitman Road in Melville. With each piece he presented, he went on to explain the design and geometrics of the proposed bank.
“Where is the closest TD Bank in regards to distance?” asked Jeff Naness, to which another board member responded, “probably the one on Jericho Tpke by Dix Hills Road”.
As the topic of the construction procedures came up, Joseph Calucci then approached the podium. He then reviewed the same diagrams and images his partner presented but was talking about how the bank and surrounding areas would be constructed.
“We would have two entrances and exits on either side leading off into Route 110 and Old Walt Whitman Road while the building would be here” says Calucci as he pointed to the spot on the diagram with a laser pointer as to where the building would be.
“First off, do you have a construction license to do construction work?” asked Frawler to which Calucci answered no. “You need to have one if you plan on doing any construction work in the state of New York.” Calucci acknowledged and proceeded with his appeal.
Unexpectedly, Carol Gaghran had to leave at 6:42 p.m. due to family issues.
A board member immediately brought up another issue, “By law, there needs to be a five foot buffer between the parking lot and a major roadway and reading the measurements, I only see a one and a half foot buffer from the edge of Route 110”.
Calucci responded, “That’s the best we can do because of the design of the building”.
James Rogers looked at the design and asked, “Couldn’t you just turn the building?” as he noticed the rectangular shape of the building.
Calucci acknowledged this, as a possibility and continued with his proposal for the next few minutes.
The two speakers wrapped up their appeal at about 6:50 p.m. and gathered their files. No other speaker was called up and the hearing ended for the night.
Scott Frawler and Jim Mathew made their way out to the exit and were talking to each other in the main lobby. There they were approached and asked if they had some time to answer questions.
“The zoning code requires and regulates area variances, for example, that uses area and physical attributes that the code allows for”, said Frawler explaining the town zoning code. “Like the first speaker, he wants two additional homes on his property while the code only allows for one dwelling”
“These hearings provide a chance for residents to request changes and additions to their property. If everything complies and is allowable, they can then proceed but there are still more procedures to follow” said Mathews. “We usually get an even amount of both residential and commercial applicants”.
The Zoning Board of Appeals, which works in conjunction with the town’s Planning Board, holds these meetings every week.
Any resident or business owner in the Town of Huntington who wishes to request a zoning appeal and look up information may do so by visiting the Huntington Town’s website at http://www.huntingtonny.gov, click on the departments link on the left side of page, scroll down and click where it says Planning and Environment where there will be a list of FAQs as well as what is needed in order to make a zoning appeal.
The next zoning board of appeals hearing will be held on Mar. 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the meeting room in Huntington Town Hall located on 100 Main Street in Huntington.