Commercial Space Planned Where Washington Dined

The proposed 10,064-square-foot commercial building seen from Main Street at Park Avenue.   Rendering/Wharton Pryce Realty

The proposed 10,064-square-foot commercial building seen from Main Street at Park Avenue. Rendering/Wharton Pryce Realty

By Connor Beach

Neighbors and historic preservationists opposed a developers plan to construct a 10,064-square-foot commercial building on the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue in Huntington at a public hearing Tuesday night.

Developer, Dominick Mavellia, is requesting that the Huntington Town Board rezone the 1.06-acre property at 400 Park Avenue from a R-15 residential to C-1 commercial zone to allow for a commercial building “with space intended to be used for medical office,” according to town documents.

Earlier this year, Mavellia re-submitted a zone change application that closely mirrors his original 2014 plans for the site, with the only difference being plans for a wider westbound left-turn lane to reduce traffic on Main Street.

Mavellia’s previous plans for the property, which is located within the Old Huntington Green historic district, stalled before a prior town board administration in November 2016. Twice the board did not vote on the zone change application before deadlines hit.

Paul Warburgh, a member of Old Huntington Green, who had previously opposed Mavillia’s plan because of the size and architecture of the proposed building, said at Tuesday’s town board meeting that the group opposed the current zone change application.

Lucie Blohm, president of the Huntington Historical Society, urged the town board to deny the zone change for commercial use in the historic district, which still contains many of the most historic homes in the Town of Huntington.

Oyster Bay-based historic preservation consultant, John Collins, said the proposed commercial building was “way out of proportion” with the buildings in the surrounding historic district.

Neighboring property owner, Loretta Guglielmino, argued that Mavellia’s plans for the property represented a “seismic change” for the neighborhood.

“We don’t have to feel sorry that he has waited years and spent money on this endeavor because we have also spent money, paid our taxes and spent time on our home,” Guglielmino said. “It’s not the job of the citizens of the Town of Huntington to create wealth for a developer who took a chance.”

Huntington-based attorney, John Breslin, who is representing Mavellia, argued that the discussion of the proposed building and its design are “premature.”

“We’re here for a rezoning application,” Breslin said. “The nature of the building will have to go through site plan approval, then come back to you for architectural review under the historic district.”

Breslin also said that the property, which previously housed a gas station and a deli, has always had commercial uses.

“The proposed use is the perfect transition use with respect to land use… The residential use is clearly inappropriate,” Breslin said.

If the town board decides to vote on the zone change application, four of the five members will have to vote in favor of the application in order to achieve the necessary supermajority required, after neighboring property owners sent an official protest regarding the zone change on April 12.