By Connor Beach
Tonight’s scheduled public hearing on a massive mixed-use development planned for Jericho Turnpike in Elwood was surprisingly canceled before it could begin.
The hearing was expected to draw hundreds to Elwood Middle School, the host site of tonight’s town board meeting.
However, amid pushback from locals, applicant Syndicated Ventures LLC wrote to town hall on Wednesday communicate intentions of altering its plan, and then again on Thursday to withdraw the application altogether.
“It is our hope that through continued communication and community outreach we will come together to put forward a proposal for Elwood Orchard that will greatly benefit the community and the local economy,” Mark Smith, a spokesman for the project, said Wednesday afternoon.
Currently, Syndicated Ventures plans to build a 486,380-square-foot development across a nearly 50-acre site at the northwest corner of Jericho Turnpike and Manor Road — west of the Mediavilla Orchards Farm Stand. Plans include office, retail and medical spaces, along with parking for 1,929 vehicles, according to town documents.
The plans have been scrutinized by locals, including through the online “Stop The Villadom Mall” petition that had 8,818 signatures as of deadline Wednesday.
The canceled hearing was originally scheduled by the Huntington Town Board on April 10.
In order for Syndicated Ventures’ and Great Neck-based developer Villadom’s plan to move forward, they need the board to approve both a zone change for the property and an amendment to the town’s Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan that would add the site to the major commercial corridor along the turnpike.
Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said Wednesday the public hearing was adjourned “in light of the new information received by the town” and that the hearing “may only be rescheduled to a later date at the discretion of the town board.”
Amid questions whether the hearing could be adjourned without a town board vote, attorneys from Syndicated Ventures submitted a second letter to the town earlier today that formally withdrew the plan, canceling the hearing.
Details on Syndicated Ventures’ planned changes to the proposal were not available as of Wednesday, however the changes will follow “discussions with civic representatives as well as modifications that were suggested by the planning board,” Smith said.
Tonight’s town board meeting will still be held at Elwood Middle School (478 Elwood Road). The venue change from town hall is a first for the town board.
Prior to the adjournment of the public hearing, the town board had established ground rules for tonight’s meeting, including that the school grounds would not open before 6 p.m.
The Elwood Road entrance will be the only available point of entry onto school grounds, and both Huntington Public Safety and Suffolk Police personnel will be on scene, as per the Elwood School District’s request.
There will not be a live broadcast of the meeting, but archived footage will air within 24 hours of the meeting’s completion on Optimum channel 18, FIOS channel 38 and the town’s website.
Editor's note: This story was updated with additional informaiton at 3:11 p.m., May 17.