Hearing Set For Hotel, Zoning Change
There’s a paved parking lot, and the plan is to put up a hotel. But first, the town will hold a public hearing on a zoning change that could make or break Huntington Station master developer Renaissance Downtowns’ plans for a boutique hotel in Huntington Station.
Town officials are looking to rectify the spilt zoning of a parking lot west of the LIRR station on the south side of Railroad Street, east of Lowndes Avenue near the Huntington Community First Aid Squad headquarters.
The town board, in scheduling the town board public hearing, is looking to amend the town’s zoning map and change the current zoning from C-6 General Business District to C-6 Huntington Station Overlay District.
In a second proposal, town officials are also seeking to amend the code of the Huntington Station Overlay District to allow a special use permit for hotels, “the only land use mentioned” in Renaissance Downtowns’ development strategy not allowed under current town code.
An overlay district is “a district superimposed upon another district which supersedes, modifies or supple¬ments the underlying regulations,” according to a municipal planning department website.
Town spokesman A.J. Carter said Wednesday that changing the zoning designation makes it easier for the hotel project, which has received significant support from Renaissance’s Source the Station crowd-sourced place-making initiative.
But Huntington Community First Aid Squad [HCFAS] spokeswoman Andrea Golinsky said Wednesday that the emergency response unit is unhappy with the current proposal to rezone the town-owned parking lot.
When HCFAS moved in to the Railroad Street space they were told they would have unlimited access to the parking lot, and use it frequently when hosting seminars or training programs, the spokeswoman said.
On Thursday, Golinsky, HCFAS President Roger Winters and Chief Martha Brenner are expected to meet with Bruce Grant, deputy director of the Huntington Community Development Agency, to discuss issues surrounding parking.
The HCFAS lot, Golinsky added, only accommodates 42 parking spots.
She said Renaissance and the town are fully aware of the squad’s concerns.
“I said way back that we needed to get on this in the beginning before the put a shovel in the ground. Once plans and permits are in place it’s too late to make any changes, and we hope to come up with a solution that will satisfy both sides,” Golinsky said Wednesday.
Ryan Porter, vice-president of planning and development for Renaissance Downtowns, said the zoning change does not explicitly permit a hotel to be built; it just allows the developer to submit an application to build one. Should the town change the zoning to allow hotels, Renaissance would apply for a special use permit to construct one.
The developers, Porter said, will begin work on conceptual plans for the site by early next year, and only then will they file for a special use permit and submit site plans.
Porter hopes construction on the hotel will begin by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.
“A lot of people feel it’s a viable project and are excited about it. We’ve only heard a lot of support for the hotel so far,” he said. “There’s always going to be skeptics but the important point is this was a use identified by Source the Station and…now we’re moving that forward.”
Both hearings will be held at the town board meeting Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at town hall.