By Carina Livoti
It’s official: The building housing the former Sun Ming Restaurant was officially declared a blight at a Town of Huntington Town Board Meeting on March 10.
The site of the former Sun Ming restaurant is located at 1000 West Jericho Turnpike, at the intersection of Jericho and Round Swamp Road, making it a particularly visible source of public discontent.
“Sun Ming is one of Huntington’s most important entry points, because [it is] the first commercial property you’ll see traveling east along Jericho Turnpike or coming north along Round Swamp Road… What a terrible way to be introduced to Huntington,” Huntington Beautification Council member William Walter said at a hearing on whether to deem to the property a blight.
Owners of businesses on the blight registry incur an annual $5,000 registration fee. Structures are brought to code or restoration plans are developed with the town. The town is also permitted to consider demolition in the most offensive cases.
President of the Civic Association of Sweet Hollow Alissa Taff also expressed disdain for the building’s appearance and the health and safety hazards it presented.
“It is truly a blighted property that is an unsightly detraction for Huntington and is dangerous and presents health risks to the community,” she said.
Taff was also wary of hasty decisions concerning the future of the property, and said she was grateful that the Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) had rejected a plan it heard on Dec. 4 last year to build six apartments above a retail space. She urged the board to be mindful of the potential presence of asbestos and possible soil contamination whenever construction or demolition begins.
Edward Dickman, the architect for the property, said he was leaning toward tearing the building down. He submitted an application for a demolition permit; however, he failed to provide all of the necessary documentation. As a result, no permit has been issued, according to Huntington spokesman A.J. Carter.
An earlier application for demolition was denied due to issues with water to adjoining properties. Those issues have since been resolved and gas and electric have been disconnected, according Dickman.
Sun Ming is not the only property on West Jericho that is not blooming this spring. Walter expressed deep concerns for neighboring buildings as well, citing nearby dilapidated properties like the former Army-Navy Store as calls to action.
“Yes, Sun Ming should be designated a blighted property, however it’s even more important for the town board to become proactive in West Jericho,” he said.