Real Revitalization Means Code Enforcement Not More Apartment Buildings
In response to Joan Cergol’s article last week entitled, “Huntington Station is Rising Again”, Joan tries to make the point that the latest Town Revitalization Plan will succeed where others have failed because this time there are more people engaged in the process. With all due respect, getting people engaged in the process hasn’t been the problem, the problem has been getting the Town to listen to what the residents are saying.
If we are going to fix the problem, we all need to stop the political spin and shoot straight with each other. The claim that back in “early 2002 when Supervisor Frank Petrone started working on his Huntington Station revitalization agenda we were lucky to get 20-30 people in a room to offer input” simply isn’t accurate.
In fact on April 22nd, 2002, in a meeting the Town might like to forget, 1500+ residents packed Huntington High School to offer their input on a proposed 2002 revitalization plan. The Plan was to build high density apartment buildings up and down route 110 and the Broadway corridor. The community opposition was so strong, that night the consultants were fired, run out of town, and the Plan shelved.
What was the number one thing the community said they did want at the 2002 meeting? Code enforcement with a focus on illegal and substandard housing, much of it owned by absentee landlords.
The history of blight often starts with one bad landlord buying a single family house on a once peaceful street, and then carving it up into multiple illegal apartments. With it often comes overflowing trash, the lawn becomes a driveway, more cars jam the streets and worse. Incredibly, often these landlords are paid using our tax dollars via the nonelected, non-accountable, Huntington Housing Authority’s, Section 8 program. So in effect the Town helps finance the very blight, they claim they want to revitalize?
Ten years have passed since the 2002 plan, and the Town presents another revitalization report. Again it includes a recommendation for high density housing, possibly as many as 1600 apartments, contained in 4-8 story apartment buildings. When we voice our strong objections, we are told to basically ignore the 100K report, it’s only a draft and that we are turning the page. I sincerely hope so.