Elizabeth Black On Transfer Of Development Rights
I am writing in regard to the recent Town Board hearing held ostensibly to consider a proposal for the “transfer of development rights” 260 units of housing on a parcel of land on Deshon Drive, Melville which is currently zoned Light Industry. The plan to do so is also intertwined around the move of the building of a religious house of worship, specifically a Hindu Temple, from another area of town (Meyers Farm) to the Deshon Drive parcel. Stripped of all the smoke and mirrors, this is simply a change of zone from Light Industry to an intensive residential use not permitted by Huntington’s Town Code. The ancillary issue of a park at the Meyers Farm site in lieu of the religious house of worship is merely an attempt to divert attention from the principal purpose of this unprecedented action in intensifying the use of the Deshon Drive parcel.
The Horizons 2020 plan, adopted by the town, sets forth a zoning map and a comprehensive master plan of action for preserving and protecting our town and its proper development. Section 7-4 clearly states that there is a lack of available land that can be developed to accommodate growth in the commercial and industrial sector. It also specifically states that the Town must, “minimize conflicts between incompatible land uses, particularly older industrial area and retail corridors next to residential neighborhoods.” (Section 6-7) Furthermore, to do so it indicates that industrially zoned parcels be preserved for future industrial/commercial development to enhance the potential of Melville as a research hub.
After spending precious tax dollars, and years of efforts to update our master plan, the Town should not ignore these critical recommendations. It is clear from the community members and the experts that participated in the updated plan, that a change of zone such as proposed in this recent plan, must advance the public interest and the overall goals of the master plan. For example, the recent proposal for the Oheka property is a well thought out plan that preserves open space and does not increase the existing density of housing already authorized for that parcel. In contrast, the Deshon plan, if approved, would authorize 260 units of housing on 13 acres of property. This is a yield of 20 units per acre which exceeds the 14.5 units permitted in the most dense category allowed in the Town Code (R3M).
This would establish a dangerous precedent and would undermine the strategies encompassed in the Master Plan and the existing zoning map. The Town should reject this proposal whose only discernable purpose is to enrich the property owner to the great detriment of the rest of the Town.
Elizabeth C. Black