What is the
Huntington Housing Authority (HHA)?
The Huntington Housing Authority is an agency of HUD run by
Town of Huntington residents. Its mission is to create affordable housing
opportunities for the people in Huntington. The HHA oversees Gateway
Gardens and Millenium Hills. The HHA also manages HUD Section 8 vouchers
and conducts training in Financial Self Sufficiency (FSS).
How long is the HHA
waiting list to get into one of the buildings it manages?
Currently the waiting list can take upwards of one year.
What is the Community
The CDA manages the Town of Huntington’s ever-growing
inventory of affordable housing, both rental and ownership, and the lotteries
that dispense that housing. In addition,
CDA owns and operates the Huntington Opportunity Resource Center (HORC) and
Huntington Business Incubator (Biz Inc).
What is the CDA Home Rehabilitation
The Home Rehabilitation Program that provides
income-qualified individuals and families with deferred or low-interest
financing to address needed and emergency home improvements. To learn more about this program call Heather
Warringer at (631) 351-2881.
What is “missing middle”
Missing middle housing are the types of housing that largely
don’t appear on Long Island in general and in Huntington specifically. In most parts of the country, in addition to
single family homes and apartments, there are duplexes, triplexes, quadriplexes,
bungalow courts, ad townhouses as well. These other types offer other price
points and more affordable options between the either-or of
single-family-home/apartment. There are
some duplexes and multiplexes in Huntington, but not many, and few areas where
they can be built as-of-right.
Why aren’t there more
duplexes in Huntington?
There are several reasons.
Most of the Town of Huntington is zoned for single-family homes, which
means someone who wants to build a duplex has to go to the Zoning Board of
Appeals and get a variance. Taken into
account when an application is made is where the residents will park- they
usually require parking on premises- and what the local sewer situation is- not
all areas of the town are sewered.
What is cohousing?
Cohousing is a form of living where several unrelated adults
share a house and all expenses.
Typically each has their own bedroom but other parts of the house are
shared in common. The Town of Huntington
allows up to five unrelated adults to live in the same home, so there is no
legal barrier to setting up such an arrangement, but charging rent to the rooms
might make the house considered an apartment building and subject the house to
What sources of
income do banks consider when you apply for a home mortgage?
In addition to any employment income, they can consider retirement
benefits, contributions by third parties, and rental income. The bank does not care if the rental
apartment is a legal or illegal apartment, as long as you can show regular
payments by the tenant. The Town, on the
other hand, DOES care about the legality of the apartment.
What is a limited
Highland Greens in Melville is the only limited equity co-op
on Long Island. It is a form of
ownership where most of the potential equity gain (or loss) accrues to the
Cooperative corporation that owns the buildings. Residents need only put a down-payment equal
to the first month’s payment, so that it functions not unlike a security
deposit for a rental unit, but instead of the buildings being owned by a
landlord, they are owned by the residents through the Co-op Corporation.
What is a
“preference”, and what are the dangers involved in the town using preferences
for determining who is eligible to apply for affordable housing?
When affordable housing becomes available, most towns try to
reserve the eligibility for getting one of these homes by restricting who can
apply, which is called a “preference”. A
common preference is to reserve applications for residents of the town and the
children of residents. New York City, for example, tries to reserve units for
existing neighbors to forestall gentrification.
However, legal discrimination cases have been brought and won when the
residents of a town or neighborhood are ethnically more uniform than the
surrounding area. In effect, in NYC and
on Long Island, where we have some of the most segregated towns and
neighborhoods in the country, reserving new housing for town residents perpetuates
Why does the town
allow people whose parents are not Huntington residents apply for affordable
The Town of Huntington’s preference rule is for those living
or working in Huntington, which so far has withstood legal challenge because,
by including those who work in town, the rule is more inclusive.
What is Columbia
Columbia Terrace is an affordable housing building being
built near the Huntington train station that is exclusively for veterans. It will have six 1-BR apartments for $185,000
and eight 2BR apartments for $215,000.
First preference will go to Huntington veterans. If it does not sell out to Huntington
veterans, the next preference is to
veterans elsewhere on Long Island.
Why are all the
apartments and multi-family dwellings in Huntington Station being built north
of the RR tracks?
In order to build multi-family homes or apartments, they
need to be hooked up to a sewer, because a septic tank is not up to the
task. The area north of the Huntington
train station has sewers that run to the town waste treatment plant on Creek
Road in Halesite. There are also sewers south
of Jericho Turnpike along route 110 that run south to the waste treatment
facility in Babylon. North of Jericho
and south of Huntington train station has no sewers, and so will not support
increased density. There are studies
before Suffolk County to determine if sewering can be put in this area.
Why don’t we build
more affordable housing?
Most land in the town of Huntington is privately owned, and the
owner can build whatever they like as long as it complies with the zoning for
that property, which is called “as-of-right”.
Most (if not all) land owners will not build something unless they
believe they can make money at it (which in building parlance is known as “the
project has to pencil”). In order to
build something “affordable”, there are a number of complicating factors:
- The cost of land. Land on Long Island is very expensive. Actual building costs are not all that
different from other parts of the country, but acquiring the land for an
affordable project is prohibitively expensive. Builders often apply for grants
to help defray the cost of the land.
- The time it takes from proposal to the
beginning of construction. Every
year the preparation of the project takes, the builder has to pay lawyers,
architects, taxes, etc., which drives up the costs. The average project takes about 8 years in
Huntington, the fastest is about 5 years, and the longest close to 30 years.
Possible solutions include streamlining processes at town hall.
- Restrictive Zoning– Most of
Huntington is zoned for commercial space or for single family homes- and that’s
it. If someone wants to build anything
else, they have to first go to the Planning Department, then to the Zoning
Board of Appeals. Depending on whether
these town boards like what they hear, a builder may have to make many trips to
each. More permissive zoning allows
builders to do more as-of-right, saving the many trips before these
- Neighborhood opposition– Surveys say
that 70% of residents favor apartments and affordable housing, but 60% would
oppose any such housing in their neighborhood.
If the neighbors oppose a project, it can mean more revisions and more
trips before the town boards, increasing the length of time it takes to get
built, and driving up the costs.
Why are there no
affordable apartments being built in Huntington Village?
Before the C6 zoning in Huntington village (which allows
apartments above stores) was passed in the early 2000’s, apartments above
stores were not allowed without a zoning variance, and not many were
built. When the original C6 law was
passed, though, it did not require the owners to build any affordable
apartments and, hoping to maximize their returns, no affordable apartments were
built. In 2017 the town passed a law
that requires any new apartment applications to have 20% of the units be
affordable, or to make a payment to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (run by
the Town Board). Since projects that
were applied for since the rule was changed will take 4-5 years to appear (at
the earliest), these affordable apartments should start appearing around 2022.
How much taxpayer
money is used to build a transit-oriented development and how much does the
While every project can be different, almost all development
projects are 100% funded by the developer.
The government can only provide funding in very limited, specific
circumstances where there is a public benefit, and there have been no such
projects in which the Town has been involved in funding in the last 20
years. Indirect government funding
becomes an issue on very large development projects, such as Amazon in Long
How are residents
expected to support TOD’s when our local governments are bankrupt and unable to
provide full services, such as the unpaved roads in our neighborhoods?
One of the reasons that TOD’s have become popular is that
they do not generate a large demand for public services and may be tax
positive. Single-family home
neighborhoods are tax negative on a community because of their high demand for
services, such as road maintenance and education. However, there would be no tax positive
commercial or industrial uses without residents, so there always has to be a
balance between land uses.
How do we justify
building huge numbers of luxury- not affordable- apartments when the impact is
In our free-market society, developers are the ones that
choose the price points of the housing that they build, and those decisions are
based on economics. Luxury construction
is common because the demand for those units is high. On the cost side of the equation, high
housing costs on Long Island lead to higher labor costs, which make it
difficult to build cheaper housing units.
The most common means of providing affordable housing is by granting
developer density increases, which can often be controversial.
Why is GROWTH the
goal? Why not stasis? I don’t want to live in Mineola or Queens- is
that the goal?
The Town does not attempt to grow, nor does it try to stay
the same. The Town tries to
prosper. When change occurs it is often
due to outside forces that push municipalities to adapt. The rise in automobile ownership led to the
need to pave roads. It also expanded the
market for single-family homes, which led to the need to build new roads. Automobiles also had a great effect on
commercial and industrial development, allowing it to spread out and leave the
cities and downtowns. Now e-commerce is
changing the commercial and industrial market again. Changing demographics have led to shifts in
the housing market. People are living
longer, getting married later, and having smaller families. Human society is constantly changing and it
is hard to prosper if you do not change with it.
allows the opportunity to address existing runoff with better modern
technology. New separate homes create
new square footage of runoff. Is new
building more environmentally friendly than existing homes?
While new environmentally friendly technology is most easily
incorporated into new construction, the average American home continues to get
larger, and this is especially true on Long Island. If new air conditioners are twice as energy
efficient, but there are twice as many of them in a new house, there is no real
benefit. LIPA continues to report a rise
in energy usage that exceeds the rise in population despite continued
improvements in energy efficiency. So
there are external factors that complicate the answer to this question.
When C6 was originally
approved was the SEQRA process completed?
What were the results from 2005-2006?
Town Hall has assured us the process was completed and
results were found to be satisfactory.
With the expensive
rents in the village and in the new development in the station what are we
doing to prevent gentrification? i.e.,
pushing out long-time retail establishments and people who live there?
As far as we know there is no town plan to prevent
gentrification. That is why having 20%
of any development be affordable. There
is, as far as we know, no similar affordable requirement for small businesses.
How do you balance
housing needs with protecting our environment?
The SEQRA process is the established method for balancing development
with the needs of the environment.
Who should bear the
cost of an on-site sewage treatment plant? (question asked specifically aimed
toward The Greens plant being transferred to the sewage district).
In our opinion, the people who benefit from the plant should
bear the cost of operating it.
If a housing project
installs its own sewage plant, who monitors
Many sewage plants attached to a particular development are
in fact pre-treatment plants, which in turn send the pre-treated sewage either
to the SCWA plant in Babylon (the Southwest sewer district) or to the Town-run
plant in Halesite (Huntington sewer district).
The destination of the sewage determines who monitors it. With town boundaries we also have a
Centerport sewer district and a Northport Village sewer district.
How can the long-term
employers in the town be helped to provide 1) temporary or 2) permanent housing
for employees they want to attract or retain?
There are some innovative approaches being applied in other
states, including having the businesses pay directly for a particular nearby development,
or an extra tax directed specifically toward affordable housing. At present we arenot aware of any such
program on Long Island.
How familiar are you
with the Town’s Climate Action Plan and how does it inform planning department
positions and Vision Long Island’s Smart Growth Policy?
We have read the policy and
we know the Advisory Committee on Energy
Efficiency, Renewables & Sustainability (ACEERS) has had regularly
scheduled meetings at town hall. With
respect to housing it appears their primary initiative is to sign on to the
Long Island Green Homes Initiative run by Molloy College, which provides free energy
Since it was stated
our water treatment facility is nearing capacity, what can long-time residents
who are in “high water table” areas of the Village Green do to connect sewers
to alleviate the costs associated with pumping cesspools? I currently pump on average 7 times a
year. Meanwhile all the new apartments
are brought into the sewer district.
We are investigating if there is a process that would allow current
unsewered residents whose homes are located near sewer lines to connect to the sewer
As a town of
Huntington resident, I buy bottled water to use in my home, and so do my
neighbors. Why? We haven’t had faith in our water quality for
years. What are you doing to provide us
with water we are safe to digest?
We cannot answer the question as to why you buy bottled
water. The water you receive is
regularly tested and is certified as safe to drink, and bottled water in
plastic bottles has a very high carbon footprint that adds significantly to
global warming. We recommend that you
request a meeting with the appropriate authroity to understand the water
situation for your home. Depending on
where you live, tat could be the Suffolk County Water Authority, the Greenlawn
Water Authority, the Dix Hills Water Authority
How do we engage
local civic groups in a housing decision when they are driven by racial and
class bigotry to oppose “those people” coming into our neighborhood?
We should do it through
education and engagement. In recent
years the HTHC has made an effort to attend various civic group meetings when
issues relating to housing are on the agenda.
We believe that by speaking with our neighbors about the issues that we
can raise the level of awareness of the need for affordable housing.
NYC was forced to 97%
of their water from upstate NY because of polluting their aquifer from over- development. What plans will Huntington make when we
pollute our water source?
NYC was not forced to get
their water upstate- they chose to do so because it was cheaper to build there
at the time. At the time they went upstate,
the City had control of much of Long Island’s water, and it was the unused
right-of-ways to these water sources that allowed Robert Moses to build the LI
parkways. That having been said, all communities
on Long Island draw from the same aquifer, and the Town of Huntington, in
addition to the rest of the communities in Nassau and Suffolk, should be
pursuing a regional approach tour drinking water.
Is the town aware
that the village is referred to a “mini manhattan”? Many residents who are born and raised no longer
frequent our village for errands and shopping due to parking and crowding in
restaurants. A parking garage will only urbanize
the village more. Many of our
pre-retirement aged friends are leaving Huntington Village because of the
The town is aware that many long-term residents are not
happy with recent developments.
We are now in the 21st
century, but our housing- including new builds- are still using 19th
century technologies that are polluting and inefficient. Especially for affordable and low-income
housing, heating costs are paramount.
Energy efficient and renewable technologies such as:
- Sealing and
insulating buildings to stop heating the outdoors
Star ® appliances
® plumbing fixtures
pumps- both air-source and ground-source
What steps are being
taken to make sure new buildings and retrofits take advantage of these
technologies that are better for the environment and cheaper for the owner
tenant to use?
Various programs are made available to people who want to reduce
their impact on the environment. Suffolk
County recently mandated that all new and replacement septic tanks must follow a
new, lower-impact design, and free energy audits help people identify where
they can reduce energy use. There have
been a number of state and federal programs that subsidize solar panels. There have not, however been requirements to
mandate in-house systems like tankless water heaters. You can lobby the town OR the sate for these
systems- the sate sets a building code, and all town must comply with the code-
although the towns can add more restrictions to the state code.