Remote Town Board Meeting

Filed under: Business,Government,Hamlets,Heart of the Community,News |

The Huntington Town Board held its March 31, 2020 meeting remotely, broadcasting meeting audio live and rescheduling all public hearings for the May 20, 2020 meeting, approving measures allowing the Town to work and provide services remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic, including the use of Town facilities to alleviate pressures on Huntington Hospital.

Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci made a statement at the opening of the meeting:

“For all those who are listening to our meeting today, I thank you for taking the time to do so. To say that these are trying times is a severe understatement, but we are doing everything we can to make sure that there is continuity of government and safety in the community. The unique format of today’s Town Board Meeting is a reflection of the times, but I believe it will still do a good job of providing you with the insight into our day-to-day functioning that you need and deserve as residents of this great Town.

“We have been forced to fight an invisible threat – this coronavirus – and it has tested our mettle as a local government and a community. As our response was rolling out, I did see a lot of fear and confusion here in Huntington, but we were not alone. This unknown quantity that presented itself as our adversary has spread havoc starting with patient zero at its origin thousands of miles away all the way to our front doors. As the potential impact of this reality became clearer, our collected fear turned to resolve, as so often happens in times of crisis in America.

“Our President and Governor did what they believed they had to do to minimize the spread, and we did likewise at the Town level. Some of these actions may have been extreme, but when dealing with life and death, going to such heights is necessary, and I believe we will see the rewards of these measures in the coming months. Social distancing, the closing of facilities both public and private – these all hurt, believe me, I know. But this too shall pass, and we will ultimately be stronger, smarter, and more vigilant in a way like never before.

“I am deeply encouraged by the local medical community, which has extended a helping hand and active role in our response very early on. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have some of the best and brightest medical professionals right in our own backyard. They will continue to be a partner with us until the very last case goes into remission. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to say thank you to all of them. A special thanks also goes out to all the other dedicated workers, who are facing the unknown to provide essential services in both the public and private sectors. You all know who you are, and I am proud of you. Thank you also to those who have donated their time, talents and necessary supplies to those most in need. It never ceases to amaze me how many kindhearted and generous people we have here in Huntington. We are a town with more than 200,000 people, but sometimes we see that it has not lost its ‘small town’ mindset. It’s just beautiful.

“For those of you who have been diagnosed with the virus, I wish you a speedy recovery. For those who have lost their lives in fighting it, I mourn the loss of their lives and sympathize with their friends and families. Please take a moment of silence to memorialize those who have left us too soon…

“Make no mistake, we will get through this. Please, continue to practice social distancing, scrupulous hygiene, in addition to listening to and following the advice of healthcare professionals. We are here to help in any way that we can.

“Let us now move forward with the business of the people.”

 

The Town Board took various measures in response to the Coronavirus pandemic:

  • Approved a license agreement with Huntington Hospital allowing the hospital to use of a portion of the Flanagan Center to relocate and accommodate healthy, discharged, non-COVID-19 patients who are awaiting transportation to their homes; an area within the Flanagan Center that has yet to be determined will be used to accommodate the needs of the hospital as well as 15 parking spaces for three months, at no cost to the hospital. The Senior Center has been closed to the public since March 13 while meals continue to be distributed on Tuesdays and senior services continue to be provided off-site.
  • Approved a 45-day contract with NICE inContact CXone@home software solution, which allows the Town to continue to provide remote services to the public; IT expects to start the rollout of this software on Thursday, April 2.
  • Declared an emergency to create flexibility in procurement, authorizing the Supervisor to execute emergency agreements, up to $20,000 in value, vital to dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, also authorizing the extension of agreements for public work or the purchase of supplies, material or equipment by up to 90 days for all Town contracts set to expire on or before June 30.

 

In other action, the Town Board:

  • Approved the execution of an agreement for $45,000 in funding from the Suffolk County Youth Bureau for the C.A.S.T. (Communities and Schools Together) Program, which provide gang prevention programming for at-risk youth.
  • Appointed members to the Town of Huntington Veterans Advisory Board; Donna Boyle, representing women veterans, and Jerald Griliches, representing Huntington Jewish War Veterans Post #488.
  • Extended a temporary pilot program to allow on-leash dog walking in certain areas of Heckscher Park, by three months, through June 30, 2020.
  • Reappointed Michael O’Rourke and Richard Rothamel, to terms expiring 12/31/2024, to the Town of Huntington Harbor and Boating Advisory Council.
  • Renamed Boulevard Avenue in Greenlawn, east of Taylor Avenue, to be known as Boulevard Avenue/Samuel Ballton Way in recognition of the contributions made by Samuel Ballton, who was known as the Pickle King of Greenlawn, as recommended by the Town’s African American Historic Designation Council to honor one of Huntington’s leading historic African American figures.
  • Extended the time to make a determination regarding the adoption of Local Law Introductory Number 58-2019, amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 198 (Zoning), Article VII (Off-Street Parking); this is a companion resolution to the C-6 Zoning changes proposed, which prohibits newly acquired parking lots from being used by applicants to calculate parking requirements.
  • Established Chapter 132 (Landscaping) of the Code of the Town of Huntington; to establish a commercial landscaper registry for Suffolk County-licensed landscapers wishing to operate within the Town, via registering with the Town Clerk, and to promote the use of energy-efficient equipment.
  • Amended the Code of the Town of Huntington Chapter 141 (Noise); to set forth in greater detail when the use of gas-powered leaf blowers would be deemed a noise disturbance, reducing acceptable hours for use of gas-powered leaf blowers by one hour on weekdays (ending at 6:00 PM instead of 7:00 PM), eliminating commercial use of gas-powered leaf blowers on residential property on Sundays and holidays, and clarifying the definition of a noise disturbance.
  • Amended the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 93 (Civil Remedies); establishing staggered terms for the administrative law judges appointed by the Director, and limiting the number of administrative law judges to five, with an additional three to be appointed at the discretion of the Director as needed in the future.

 

The Town Board rescheduled all public hearings originally scheduled for the March 31 meeting to the Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Town Board meeting at 7:00 PM to consider:

  • Allowing the Town to more efficiently resolve property nuisance violations and strengthened the Town’s ability to recover costs of property cleanups.
  • Revised changes to C-6 Zoning regulating mixed-use development in the Huntington Village area and anywhere zoned C-6 in the Town, based on input gathered from the public during and after the October 16, 2019 public hearing: increasing the required parking to be provided on-site from 1 parking space per apartment to 1.5 spaces per studio or one-bedroom apartment plus 0.5 spaces per additional bedroom; eliminating the previously proposed Floor-Area Ratio (FAR) method of calculating density limits; creating a new density limit on new construction or projects expanding the footprint of existing buildings, by requiring the combined square footage of upper floors not exceed 150% of the first floor.
  • Authorizing various actions be taken upon certain properties designated as blighted in accordance with Chapter 156, Article VII, §156-60 (Blighted Property).
  • Amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 55 (Public Safety, Department Of), Chapter 111 (Fire Prevention), Chapter 119 (Graffiti), Chapter 134 (Local Waterfront Consistency Review), Chapter 153 (Plumbing Regulations), and Chapter 156 (Property Maintenance; Nuisances); to ensure the authority of Town personnel to issue appearance tickets, as set forth in Section 4-1 of the Town Code, is fully recognized and implemented throughout the Code. The amendment would ensure that the authority to issue notices of violation returnable before the Bureau f Administrative Adjudication is also recognized throughout the Code.
  • Amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 188 (Trespassing); to add a minimum and maximum monetary penalty for violations and to clarify that violations of Chapter 188 may be adjudicated before the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication.
  • Amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 198 (Zoning), Article I (General Provisions) and Article XI (Conditional Uses; Supplementary Regulations; to revise the Town Code to allow for a new type of indoor commercial recreational facility.
  • Amending the Uniform Traffic Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 3, Article II, §3-3, Schedule J. Re: Capel Drive – Dix Hills – Parking Restrictions; adding No Parking restrictions on school days from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM along both sides of Capel Drive in Dix Hills, from Vanderbilt Parkway to Landview Drive.
  • Amending the Uniform Traffic Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 2, Article IV, §2-7, Schedule G. Re: Railroad Street – Huntington Station –Yield Sign; adding a Yield Sign for westbound traffic in the right turn lane on Railroad Street at Lowndes Avenue in Huntington Station.

 

The Town Board scheduled new public hearings for the Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Town Board meeting at 7:00 PM to consider:

  • Authorizing various actions be taken upon certain properties designated as blighted in accordance with Chapter 156, Article VII, §156-60 (Blighted Property).
  • Amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter A202 (Subdivision and Site Plan Regulations); to revise Appendix H – Street Trees and Plant Material to remove invasive species and add a greater variety of mostly native species to ensure invasive species are not planted and a greater diversity of native tree and shrub options may be planted during development, protecting local ecosystems from the detrimental impact of planting invasive species.
  • Amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 198 (Zoning), Article XI (Conditional Uses; Supplementary Regulations), §198-74 (Vision Obstructions at Intersections), and Traffic Code Chapter TC6 (Miscellaneous Provisions), Article III (Vision Obstructions), §TC6-7 (Designation of Vision Obstructions); expanding the designation of vision obstructions that would constitute a public safety issue, allowing the Departments of Public Safety and Transportation and Traffic Safety to address and rectify these public safety issues. Several issues involving vision obstructions along roadways have been reported and investigated by the Town but were deemed not actionable under the current Town Code.

 

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