By Andrew Wroblewski
Developers of a mixed-use proposal that includes 84 luxury apartments claim, when considering existing parking deficiencies, their plan would help lessen the parking strain on Huntington village.
Currently, the collective uses of the five parcels anchored by Classic Galleries and fronting Main Street, Gerard Street and Stewart Avenue, which are eyed for a proposed four-story building, require 392 parking spaces, according to town code. There are 40 onsite parking spaces, resulting in a deficiency of 352 spaces.
Huntington-based attorney Jim Margolin, representing developers Alan Fromkin and John Kean, said during an Aug. 9 appointment before the Huntington Planning Board that his clients’ proposal needs 262 parking spaces and would provide 127 onsite, thus reducing the deficiency to 135.
The 127 spaces would be included in a parking garage planned for the lowest level of the structure, along Gerard Street, where the elevation dips below grade.
Businesses spread across the five parcels include Mac’s Steakhouse and Classic Galleries, the latter of which is owned by Fromkin, who owns all five parcels. There are plans to include scaled down versions of both businesses in the proposed structure.
The included parking garage would be open to apartment residents, according Kean, who also spoke during the Aug. 9 appointment. He proposed 43 spots would be made available for Mac’s patrons after 6 p.m., and that a parking plan for retail patrons is being discussed.
Another Huntington-based attorney, John Breslin, called as a real estate expert during the appointment, said the proposal brings a “tremendous opportunity.”
We can “add almost 100 parking spaces on this property, which is a very significant amount to add to the village… The town hasn’t been able to do that. This is private money providing 100 spaces in the downtown area and lessening the extent of the nonconformity and intensity on this property.”
The proposal was originally slated to go before the Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals in June, but the hearing was postponed following a planning board memo that criticized several aspects of it, including the size. The recent appointment was made to address those criticisms.
Planning Board Chair Paul Mandelik said the board will further consider the proposal before making a recommendation to the zoning board. The planning board’s next meeting is Aug. 23.
He added, “I think we have homework to do – the planning department has homework to do – so that we can be better prepared to make a decision at the next planning board meeting on what to recommend related to the project.”
Historians continue fight to preserve firehouse
Following the first Aug. 9 appointment, Huntington Historical Society Trustee Paul Warburgh advocated for the preservation of the historic Huntington Firehouse that would be demolished as part of Alan Fromkin’s and John Kean’s proposal.
The firehouse, first built in 1911, is currently occupied by Fromkin’s Classic Galleries business.
Warburgh asked why the firehouse must be demolished and asked the Huntington Planning Board to include a condition in any improved site plan that the firehouse be preserved.
In response, Huntington-based Jim Margolin claimed that the integrity of the firehouse has been compromised and that the Huntington Town Board had a chance last year to grant an historic designation for the building, but opted not to.
Margolin added, “To preserve this building would basically destroy the project as it’s been designed.”