Town Urges Formal Parking Agreement
Huntington Station master developer Renaissance Downtowns is being urged to document plans to address parking concerns raised by the Huntington Community First Aid Squad before the town board considers signing off on plans to build a hotel on a municipal lot near the Huntington LIRR station.
The suggestion arose during a Dec. 10 town board hearing related to zoning changes needed for the project to become a reality.
Renaissance Downtowns has proposed constructing a three-to-five story boutique hotel, with 125-150 rooms, a catering facility and event space, at the corner of Railroad Street and New York Avenue. Currently, the property is a town-owned municipal parking lot.
To allow that project to proceed, the town board must change zoning on the parcel to C-6 Huntington Station Overlay District and issue a special use permit to allow a hotel. Then, Renaissance must apply for and receive that permit and undergo site plan approval and an environmental review, according to Ryan Porter, Renaissance’s vice president of planning and development.
But before taking steps to clear the way for the hotel, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson wants the concerns over parking, raised by the Huntington Community First Aid Squad, to be formally addressed. The agency uses the lot where Renaissance hopes to build the hotel.
“I think it would be helpful for us if there were a solution committed to writing that we could consider and have our departments consider as part of an approval process,” Cuthbertson said.
Martha Brenner, chief of the Huntington Community First Aid Squad, said leaders have met with Renaissance over their parking concerns and said the developer has “promised their full cooperation.”
“We are not here to voice objections to the changes, nor to the overall project Renaissance Downtowns has proposed,” she said. “We are here to make the town board aware that we must have between 125 to 150 unrestricted parking spots.”
Aside from parking concerns, speakers at the town board hearing were largely supportive of the hotel concept. Huntington Station resident Nancy Berg, who lives at the far end of Highview at Huntington on the northeast corner of Route 110 and Broadway-Railroad Avenues, endorsed Renaissance’s plans for a boutique hotel.
“I probably live closer to this property being rezoned for a possible hotel than anybody else in Huntington, and I assure you that I am completely in favor,” Berg said. “A hotel is not only needed, but will contribute to stimulating the economy of Huntington Station.”
A separate hearing – to rezone a nearly 1-acre parcel to build a 14-unit, one- and two-bedroom townhome-style community earmarked for veterans at the corner of Lowndes Avenue and Railroad Street – opened and closed with no speakers.
Town officials have said they hope renderings will be complete by February 2014 and groundbreaking will take place soon after for the housing development. Renaissance officials are eyeing a late-2014, early-2015 groundbreaking on the hotel.
Both proposals could be approved as soon as the January 2014 town board meeting.