Another Steep Slope in Huntington Gone Forever
The legislative intent of the Town of Huntington’s Steep Slope Ordinance is as follows:
“It is the intention of the Huntington Town Board to protect and safeguard scenic landscapes and the vegetative features of steeply sloped lands throughout the Town of Huntington. The Board recognizes that development in hillside areas disrupts the aesthetic and scenic qualities of these sites and adversely impacts surrounding properties by disrupting the surrounding natural vegetation and wildlife habitat, increasing the risk of storm-water runoff, flooding, surface erosion, sudden slope failure and soil movement. This legislation seeks to establish specific regulations for development and density outside conventional zoning controls by which the adverse impacts to adjoining properties and steep slopes will be ameliorated to the greatest extent possible not only during development of these sites but thereafter. It also seeks to safeguard the lives and welfare of the public by providing for a safe means of ingress and egress for vehicular and pedestrian travel and by providing adequate and safe access for fire district vehicles and other emergency personnel.”
The photos above show the current situation located immediately south of 659 Park Avenue, in Huntington Station. A single family dwelling is being constructed. Based upon our observation the steep slope located on this .37 acre plot of vacant land, was stripped of its vegetation and essentially destroyed in order to accommodate the proposed dwelling. The property is owned by Gold Coast Homes @ Crooked Park, Inc. Why was this project approved as it is clearly in conflict with the intent of the steep slope legislation described above?
The impacts that have been created as a result of this construction include disrupting the aesthetic and scenic qualities of this once vegetated and stable slope. This is clearly adversely impacting surrounding properties and disrupting the surrounding natural vegetation and wildlife habitat. It has increased the risk of storm-water runoff, flooding, surface erosion, sudden slope failure and soil movement. No sediment and erosion control is evident at the location which allows for storm-water runoff loaded with sediment to enter onto Park Avenue. Park Avenue is a county owned road. The feeble attempt of putting a few hay bales down across the driveway (with spaces between them) serves no purpose other than to give the illusion of proper sediment and erosion control. The town should investigate if this site is in violation of it’s Stormwater Management Program.
At this time the Department of Engineering Services issued a stop work order on the site. The order was given only because of the way the retaining wall was being installed. The stop order as written mentions nothing about the destruction of the slope which is now altered forever.
The issue of steep slope destruction is all too familiar with residents living near Park Avenue. A now infamous site located behind a series of homes further south on this roadway was one of the reasons that the steep slope ordinance was implemented. Now and most unfortunately history is repeating itself. Back in 2005, at a steep slope press conference located near 691 Park Avenue, Councilman Cuthbertson stated “Virtually all of the vacant land in Huntington is environmentally sensitive. It is either steeply sloped or it is in close proximity to wetlands. Our goal is to preserve these lands and to protect the character of Huntington before it is too late.” One must ask how this project fell through the cracks. Perhaps the Councilman could address this matter. The Huntingtonian will issue a follow up to this story as additional information is gathered.