The following letter was submitted to relevant town offices in response to the call for public comment regarding the draft Melville Employment Center Plan.
To: Planning Board, Town of Huntington
cc: Melville Employment Center Advisory Committee; Department of Planning & Environment
On behalf of the Town of Huntington Republican Committee, representing the nearly 45,000 registered Republican voters residing in our town, I wish to stress our opposition to the spot zoning proposed for the Melville Employment Center (MEC).
The Huntington Republican Committee recognizes the appropriate mission of forming a community-minded action plan for development and redevelopment in Melville, specifically along the Route 110 corridor, as it pertains to keeping the Town of Huntington a competitive location for businesses. We also recognize the need to protect the Melville community’s exceptional quality of life, which includes preserving the suburban character of the neighborhoods as well as controlling affordability by guarding against irresponsible development and its ensuing burden on taxpayers.
The draft MEC Plan calls for spot zoning changes in the form of an “overlay district” in order to develop up to 616 new residential units in dense, multi-family complexes and up to 816,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. Any reduction in the business use of office space will result in a decrease in good-paying jobs for Huntington residents, and replacing that space with high-density housing will result in not only a loss of jobs and assessed value, but also an increase in school taxes in the Half Hollow Hills School District. Further, without infrastructure investments to accommodate new residential units and commercial traffic, these zoning changes will further congest our roads; stress our mass transit and sewer systems.
Additionally, the draft plan itself recognizes that there are presently 40+ parcels of vacant commercial space within the MEC – meaning that if businesses wished to relocate to Melville, then there already exists ample commercial space to do so. The issue holding the MEC from realizing its potential as the economic hub on Long Island is our region’s poor business climate, caused by Democrat policies at the town, county, and state levels which disincentivize growth and innovation. The Town of Huntington would do well to reform its tax structure and analyze the benefits of tax incentives in order to draw new businesses to the existing space within the MEC.