Letter To The Editor Supporting Ruland Road Project in Melville
Dear Supervisor Petrone and Members of the Town Board:
I am writing on behalf of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition to express our strong support for approval of Ruland Knolls court settlement at the Huntington Town Board on December 10th, 2013. As you are well aware, the Federal Court settlement we ask you to support, reached on June 25th 2013, calls for 117 units of affordable rental housing with 70% one bedroom units and 30% two -and three-bedroom units. An August 13th vote on this settlement was tabled by the Board.
On December 10th, you must do the right thing for our veterans, young people and working families – all of whom desperately need affordable rental housing in Huntington.
A vote not to support affordable rental housing at Ruland Knolls would not only disregard Huntington’s real housing needs, but subject taxpayers to years more of expensive and unnecessary litigations.
A vote not to support affordable rental housing at Ruland Knolls will disregard the Horizons 2020 Town Comprehensive Plan’s clear call for you to “identify opportunities to provide workforce housing…in appropriate locations compatible with existing neighborhoods, schools and community facilities….”
You know that Ruland Knolls is such an opportunity, despite the worn and repetitive objections of a small but loud local civic organization.
The stakes are too high to do anything but approve this settlement. A 2013 report, Long Island’s Rental Housing Crisis, released jointly by the respected Regional Plan Association, Long Island Community Foundation, and Ford Foundation, captured the challenge facing you on December 10th:
“The shortage of affordable rental homes is already straining Long Island’s economy, and will make it much harder to compete for jobs in the years ahead.”
For too long there has been a lack of quality, affordable rental housing. We now have an opportunity to provide this housing while giving a big economic boost to our community.
As the Town’s Comprehensive Plan clearly stated the challenge facing you on December 10th:
“For moderate and middle income members of the local workforce, such as nurses, police officers, secretaries and mid-level managers, choices for quality, affordable rental housing are …limited. Huntington’s 15%/85% split of rental vs. ownership housing is more pronounced than the 33%/85% split for the U.S. as a whole and falls short of providing a balance or range of choices for those with different housing needs….The result is that many young people are moving out of Huntington….”
After spending almost $300,000 educating each of our children, grades K-12, they leave Long Island because they cannot afford and cannot find rental housing here. As Long Island Association President Kevin Law wrote in Newsday on November 8th, 2013: “We are basically telling our young adults we don’t want them here…Communities should not rail against …the construction of rental homes.”
We cannot let this continue. For the sake of our young people, veterans, working families, and the very health of our Huntington economy, we urge your support for the June 25th court settlement for 117 affordable rental units at Ruland Knolls.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Yours truly for the Coalition,
Richard Koubek, President,
Huntington Township Housing Coalition