Since 1838, Nobody Covers Huntington News Better Than The Long-Islander.|Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Sanctuary Supporters Mobilize 

Opponents of a settlement that would have brought rental units to an affordable housing community in Melville hit the phones earlier this month to stall it. On Monday, however, housing advocates returned the favor in a push to get it approved.

A post on the Huntington Township Housing Coalition’s Facebook page urged followers to flood the phone lines at Supervisor Frank Petrone’s office Monday in support of The Sanctuary, a 117-unit affordable housing offset for The Greens at Half Hollow senior development.

“We’ve been reaching out to as many people as we can, and I understand they are responding. We want this thing put back on the table and voted on,” Richard Koubek, president of the Huntington Township Coalition, said. “We’re really going to keep the pressure on.”

A resolution to settle the lawsuit brought by the Huntington NAACP was pulled from the Aug. 13 town board agenda after civic leaders raised objections over the fact that units would be rentals as opposed to being for-sale units. The settlement plan called for 77 one-bedroom, 34 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom affordable rental units.

“Opposition to this settlement from Dix Hills civic groups caused Supervisor [Frank] Petrone, on Aug. 13, to pull the resolution to approve the settlement before the town board so that he can meet with these opponents. According to a press report, the opponents ‘lit up the phones at town hall’ after they learned about the proposed settlement,” the coalition’s Facebook message reads. “Now we, supporters of affordable rental housing, must light up the phones at town hall.”

The settlement also called for offering occupancy preferences to honorably discharged veterans with wartime service, handicapped applicants and existing Town of Huntington residents.

Meanwhile, Peter Florey, a principal of the D&F Development Group which pitched the project, said despite fears that their option to buy the land expired on Aug. 16, they were able to hammer out a last-minute contract extension to carry them through the end of the year.

So far, Florey’s firm has invested more than $150,000 and seven months in the project.

“We’re kind of doubled-down now. We’re watching what happens with the court and hoping that there is some kind of a settlement,” he said. “I just felt badly for those who really are seeking this type of housing, especially veterans.”

The Huntington Fair Housing Committee and the Huntington NAACP sued the town in March 2011, alleging a previous plan for 122 one-bedroom units was discriminatory against families with children. The Fair Housing Committee withdrew from the suit earlier this summer.

Town spokesman A.J. Carter said Petrone is working with both sides to reach a conclusion.

“There are questions raised from the community,” Carter said. “What’s probably going to happen between now and the next town board meeting is there are going to be some meetings that will hopefully address those concerns.”

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