Huntington school board president Bill Dwyer responds to a Newsday editorial.
On Friday, Newsday published an editorial stating that the latest proposal from AvalonBay makes sense for Huntington Station. In the article, I am quoted as stating that as long as the development adheres to existing zoning, I would not oppose it. I would like to set the record straight on that point.
The previous AvalonBay proposal included housing density well in excess of anything allowed under current zoning descriptions. The Town Board was attempting to create a new, high-density zoning description that applied only to Huntington Station and no other parts of the town. The school board opposed this singular treatment of our neighborhood. For this same reason we also successfully opposed a requested zoning variance to allow high density “senior housing” on Lowndes Avenue.
The editorial goes on to state that Huntington Station desperately needs revitalization and that bringing more people into the area would bring additional customers to stores … What stores I ask?
New York Avenue used to be a vibrant commercial stretch that was replaced with parking lots and high density housing in the name of urban renewal. That failed to help the area. The Huntington Station Business Improvement District members are working hard to bring more commerce to the area, but they need more help from Town Hall, not more high density housing.
As for my personal position on the revised proposal, the financial and logistical implications of the proposed development need to be considered. Since 2008 our school district has maintained flat per student spending while the other districts in the town increased per student spending by an average of 11.8 percent. As an elected official, I take the responsibility of providing affordable, quality education very seriously. So when the true numbers regarding AvalonBay become clear, if it negatively impacts our overburdened taxpayers, I will certainly oppose it.