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Hotel, Lowe's Requests Move Forward

Cell phone tower is off the zoning board agenda.

Two applicants who appeared before the Huntington Planning Board Wednesday will also appear before the tonight.

The applicants for both the and the Lowe's to be built on the site of the former Huntington Townhouse received recommendations from the planning board to take with them to the ZBA.

Meantime,  a request to place a cell phone tower near Chantilly Court and Old Country Road in Huntington, originally before the Zoning Board of Appeals, has been pulled from the agenda. The town's ZBA office said Verizon Wireless, which filed the request, had not obtained approval from the New York State Cemetery Board.

The planning board approved a resolution making two recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Huntington Hotel proposal at Main Street and Stewart Avenue.

In April, it unanimously approved a recommendation that the allow the property to be placed in the historic overlay district. It was formerly zoned C6, general business district.

The applicants were back Wednesday, this time seeking a recommendation for a parking variance and one that would allow a four-story building. The proposed three-story addition with one story underground for parking counts as four stories, although is under the 45-foot height allowance.

The code requires 65 spaces for the proposed 55-room boutique hotel, but the underground parking garage only has room for 20 spaces. The applicant is requesting that the planning board recommend that the Huntington Board of Zoning Appeals approve a variance that will allow the hotel to count spots available in a nearby municipal lot as part of its required total.

Board member Avrum Rosen expressed concern about the water table at the site.

"So the parking garage, that's going to be excavated out and deeper?" Rosen asked.

The town's Director of Planning & Environment Anthony Aloisio said that was the plan.

"Has anyone looked at the water table there?" Rosen asked.

Aloisio said that he was sure they had.

"Don't say that," Rosum answered. "We have to make sure. My first or second office was at 11 Stewart and I seem to remember us having water problems there on occasion and if they go much deeper it could be a bigger problem."

Board chair Paul Mandelik said it's worth noting that there could be a potential problem. "From a practical standpoint we do know in that part of Huntington or at least further north there is a problem although we don't know about this particular location," he said.

"The devil is in the details," Rosum said. "I think it's a great idea. I do have some traffic concerns. The problem is, that's a cut through so I think we have to do some planning for that site plan review. The traffic is going to be something for the ZBA."

Aloisio said that a hotel is "not much of a traffic generator."

Lowe's is seeking to build a 150,000 square-foot store on the site of the former Huntington Townhouse. The site plan calls for the building to be placed on the far left side of the property with the front of the building facing to the right or west. The parking lot will be on the west side. A loading dock will be placed to the south of the building placement.

The applicant is seeking a parking variance as well, according to attorney Michael McCarthy.

The code requires 408 spaces and the application will be providing 92 spaces and land-banking 200.

McCarthy said that the code is written to require one spot to each 200-square-feet of retail space. "The traffic engineer uses a 7-Eleven as an example but at a warehouse-type store like this, because the merchandise is larger and because the trip generation is less, the parking needed is actually one spot for each 350-sqare-feet of parking.

"We are land banking those 200 spots, so if the town wants us to build them we will but leaving them land banked allows for more green space," McCarthy said.

McCarthy also said that the applicant is proposing a concrete cast sound barrier to the rear of the building.

"Lowe's wants the security and any neighbor back there might not want to hear the noise. I don't want to give you the image of a Long Island Expressway sound barrier because that's ugly. This is much better looking."

The board approved a resolution recommending the necessary variances.

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