By Andrew Wroblewski
The Huntington Town Board is giving a developer who wants to build medical office space at the historic corner of Main Street and Park Avenue in Huntington more time to sort out concerns with local reservations over the design’s aesthetics.
On Tuesday, the town board delayed a ruling on a zone change necessary for developer Dominick Mavellia to move forward with plans to build a 10,000-square-foot medical office at 410 Park Ave., the location of the former Platt’s Tavern, where it’s said President George Washington once dined. The property, which currently is occupied by Park Deli and a vacant gas station, is in the heart of the Old Huntington Green historic district.
Mavellia needs the town board to approve a residential-to-commercial zone change.
Since Mavellia first proposed his plan in March, some residents and historians have objected to the building’s size and aesthetic look and feel. Some have argued that the building does not fit the mold of the historic district.
Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone said after Tuesday’s town board meeting that the board opted to extend the deadline for a decision on the plan from Sept. 7 to Dec. 6 to give Mavellia and the preservationists, including the town’s Historic Preservation Commission, time to continue working together on a design.
To assist in the effort, Mavellia hired Frank Gilmore, of upstate Schenectady, an architect with experience dealing with historic projects, to work on the plans.
“We’re in dialogue with Frank Gilmore to get a plan that meets the criteria of the historic district,” said Robert Hughes, of the Historic Preservation Commission, which works to conserve, protect and perpetuate Huntington’s historical heritage. “The historic district is made up mostly of residential buildings of a certain size and historic style. We’re just trying to reach a final design that meets the requirements of the town code that the commission has to follow.”
And that’s where the compromise may come.
However, Mavellia said Wednesday he has tried tried to appease historians with no luck and that he’s “on the brink of pulling the plug on the project and it’s a shame. They’re completely not meeting me halfway and it's very, very frustrating. I think they're being unreasonable.”
After the meeting on Tuesday, though, Petrone was more hopeful.
“Is everyone going to be happy? Obviously not,” Petrone said. “Either the developer or the preservation commission – I’m sure they’ll compromise somewhere. We hope for that. And we should give it the shot.”