NEW HUNTINGTON, NY, ZONING CODE PROVISION WILL ENCOURAGE DEVELOPMENT OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES, ZONING ATTORNEY SAYS

NEW HUNTINGTON, NY, ZONING CODE PROVISION WILL ENCOURAGE DEVELOPMENT OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES, ZONING ATTORNEY SAYS

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (June 27, 2008) – A new zoning code amendment enacted by the town of Huntington will facilitate the development of assisted living facilities in the Suffolk County town, a local zoning attorney said.

“Until now, the zoning code was very restrictive and prevented the development of assisted living facilities in the town of Huntington due to its technical requirements,” said Keith P. Brown, a partner in the Garden City law firm Brown & Altman LLP, which represents many Fortune 500 companies, including assisted living facility operators.

“Practically speaking, the code did not permit yields that made these projects viable,” Brown said. “The town board and planning staff responded to the industry’s concerns by completely revamping the code to make these projects more economically feasible.”

“Town Supervisor Frank Petrone and the Huntington Town Board also recognized that assisted living facilities are greatly needed in light of our aging population,” Brown added.

The new zoning category, called R-HS Residential Health Services, will allow operators of assisted living facilities and other senior facilities (except senior housing) to build properties at greater densities than previously permitted and in more areas of the town than formerly allowed. Previously, assisted living facilities and other senior facilities were included in the same zoning classification as senior housing.

Approved on June 11 by the Huntington Town Board, the R-HS zoning district will permit the construction assisted living facilities with units of a minimum size of 2,200 square feet, compared with units of 3,000 square feet before the zoning code change. The new zoning provision leaves the 5-acre site requirement unchanged. The new code requires that 30 percent of the property be landscaped.

“The new zoning will allow development of assisted living facilities along arterial roads, such as Jericho Turnpike, in addition to collector streets, Brown added. “It will also allow developers of these facilities to reuse underutilized commercial sites in the town,” Brown said.

“Procedurally, any assisted living facility will require a change of zone application to the town board. This will permit the town board to exercise greater control over the zoning approval process for assisted living facilities,” Brown said. The old zoning required the issuance of special-use permits by the Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals, which could be challenged in court. A change of zone is considered to be a legislative act and is virtually impossible to challenge in court, he noted.

Huntington, which encompasses 93 square miles, has a population of 195,289 people, according to the 2000 census. Census figures show that 13 percent of town’s population is 64 years or more and 25 percent is aged 45 to 64 years.

Brown & Altman, LLP offers a broad range of legal services to the real estate development industry. The firm concentrates on the complex field of commercial real estate law, including real estate transactions, leasing, financing, title, environmental, zoning, permitting and litigation. Brown & Altman is located at 585 Stewart Ave., Garden City, N.Y. 11530. The telephone number is (516) 222-0222 and the email address is kbda@brownaltman.com

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