Huntington – Supervisor Chad A.
Lupinacci released a statement on the state of the Town of Huntington, his
administration’s accomplishments thus far and plans for the new year:
“We are entering the third year of
my administration as Supervisor and the new Town Board, which took effect with
its current membership in January 2018. We are continuing to move the Town in
the new direction we promised, underway for the past 24 months.
“We’ve enacted term limits for all
Town elected officials and implemented ethics reforms to ensure an honest Town
government that answers to the people it serves. We increased the independence
of the Ethics Board from Town leadership by requiring the Ethics Board to elect
a Chairperson, rather have the Town Board appoint one. We’ve also strengthened
the Town’s Ethics Code and financial disclosure requirements for Town
“We have a more open, accessible,
transparent government. We added evening meetings to the Town Board schedule,
doing both day and evening meetings, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to
participate. We go above and beyond notification requirements, publishing every
proposed Town Board public hearing to all media outlets, the Town website, and
our TV and social media channels. Our goal is to have an active, participatory
form of local government, where the people who we serve have an active voice in
what happens in their Town, and I think that is something we achieved early on.
We increased transparency by requiring applicants seeking zone changes to notify
affected residents of a public hearing in an envelope clearly marked “Required
Notification Regarding Proposed Zone Change” on the front of the envelope.
“We also publicize information
beyond what is required when there is a project with significant community
interest that may not be in front of the Town Board. While the Planning Board
and Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) operate independently of the Town Board,
their decisions sometimes have as much impact as Town Board decisions.
“All Town Board, Planning Board and
ZBA meeting agendas are published online, accessible to the public prior to the
meeting, and all of these meetings can be watched live or replayed in full on
our government access TV channels (Optimum 18, FIOS 38) and at
HuntingtonNY.gov. You can also see recaps of each Town Board meeting in article
format online as well as view the adopted meeting agenda, which shows how each
board member voted on every resolution on the agenda. I record a video recap of
Town Board meeting highlights, which airs on TV, our website and the Town’s
social media channels. We are also out there listening and using digital media
to respond to community concerns and we have received positive feedback from
residents who are engaged with the process.
“We’ve focused on improving the
quality of life for all residents and making it easier to do business in the
Town of Huntington. We’ve cut red tape to streamline services, reduced the
burden on the taxpayer, and taken advantage of shared services so that
taxpayers aren't shouldering the ever-increasing cost of providing services due
to unfunded mandates and rising costs of doing business.
“Improvements to operational
efficiency include adding a same-day permit process for swimming pools and
demolitions, removing the public hearing process for installing egress windows
to improve fire safety, and automatically rescheduling hearings from a
cancelled ZBA meeting to the next regularly scheduled meeting to avoid
duplicating the costs of advertising.
“A major accomplishment streamlined
the research process for land-use professionals by integrating our Geographic
Information System (GIS) with the County Clerk’s office to provide access to
both the Town's land data and Suffolk County deeds, easements, and other land
filings all in one place online. We’re also in the process of implementing
technology that will improve operational productivity, efficiency and
transparency, integrating data across the Town’s GIS, Building Department, Code
Enforcement, Assessor, and other departments.
“In order to keep generations of
families together on Long Island, the availability of affordable housing and
the ability to live affordably are key. The Town’s greatest role in the
creation of affordable housing is one of a facilitator. As we assess our options
to increase the availability of affordable housing, we need to consider
alternatives to the options that would add to an unsustainable burden on our
infrastructure and find creative ways to tap into our existing housing supply
to fulfill the housing needs for those who feel they can no longer afford to
live on Long Island.
“In 2019, we made sweeping changes
to the Town's accessory apartment code designed to make living in the Town of
Huntington more affordable without having to build new housing.
“The most significant accessory
apartment code change we made gives a property owner the choice of living in
the accessory apartment unit of their primary residence and renting out the
main living space of their home; this will help offset the cost of living for
many residents. We also made changes helping more homeowners qualify for an
accessory apartment on their property. These measures are good for property
rights, families just starting out and those on fixed incomes; it opens up the
affordable apartment rental supply, as accessory apartments tend to be offered
at lower prices than the apartments created as part of new construction.
“In 2019, our Harbormaster’s office
gained an additional part-time Bay Constable on duty during day shifts, which
allows the Town to have an additional patrol boat out on the water, we saw the
deployment of LED buoys for navigational safety, and invested heavily in the
Town’s deteriorating facilities at Mill Dam Marina. Improvements include a new
larger head float for safe maneuvering around the gangway, new configurations
for docking for those who struggle physically, the re-decking of all docks at
Mill Dam Marina is complete as of January 2020 and the bulkhead is currently
being repaired. There are many more Maritime improvements and upgrades on the
way. A new emergency response vessel, procured with the help of a $330,000
grant from FEMA, was delivered in December. A new pump-out boat, which will
help keep our waterways clean, is in production thanks in part to grant funding
from the New York State Clean Vessel Assistance Program.
“In the past, taxpayers were on the
hook for cleanup costs of wrecked and abandoned boats in our waterways, a cost
now covered by the increased insurance requirements and the boat owners
themselves, who were difficult to track down prior to implementing the mooring
permit database, which aided in the removal of 12 boats from the harbor this
season; in the past, these boats would have posed a threat to our waterways and
taxpayers shouldered the cleanup costs for wreckages resulting from these
“I believe our biggest achievement
is continuing to maintain our AAA credit rating and providing existing levels
of service to all residents, especially for our seniors and our youth,
considering a mandated contractual collective bargaining salary increase for
all union employees, while also meeting New York State Tax Cap requirements.
I'm also particularly proud that the Town is finally realizing the
revitalization of Huntington Station, making significant long-overdue
improvements to the infrastructure at our waterfront facilities, and we are in
the process of achieving Certified AGZA Green Zone status at Heckscher Park and
Huntington Town Hall, a giant leap forward in the realm of environmental
“Building upon that, I’m
enthusiastic about what we have on the horizon for 2020.
“We will continue taking steps to
alleviate the long-time parking congestion issue in downtown Huntington
Village, building upon the improvements made over the past year, including the
acquisition of property to build a new parking lot, adding 71 new parking
spaces this summer when the temperatures are appropriate for paving, improved
policing of parking violations and enforcement of handicap parking, increasing
parking space turnover, and simplifying and streamlining the parking
experience, including the launch of the Passport Parking app in late 2019. We
will also determine whether the long-proposed parking structure is still
feasible in terms of the impact on parking and the cost to taxpayers.
“Another major initiative that will
significantly impact parking and quality of life is reforming the C6 zoning
code, based on the feedback we have received, to ensure appropriate future
development and maintaining the suburban charm of our historic downtown.
“We will continue to revitalize
Huntington Station, including progress on building a sewer infrastructure south
of the train station to promote economic development, and we are looking at all
levels of government to help source funding, including County, State, and
Federal (EPA) branches. We expect to move forward on the Town’s second spray
park at Manor Field Park and break ground on the James D. Conte Community
Center to offer services for young people, senior citizens and veterans.
“We are also moving forward with the
new Town Court, the first of its kind on Long Island and only the third in New
York State, which will help us streamline enforcement of the Town code to
improve quality of life for residents while addressing code violations more
quickly and proactively.
“The establishment of this Town
Court, officially named the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication by the
enabling state law, is one of the most significant changes to the Town Code in
decades. My involvement in its creation is unique in that not only did I
sponsor the enabling legislation during my time in the New York State Assembly
but I also sponsored the resolution establishing this court as Town Supervisor.
“There are many benefits for our
residents and taxpayers with the establishment of this new Town Court, which we
expect to be operational by the spring. The Bureau provides for more local
control over the enforcement of code violations, cuts red tape and costs in
adjudicating violations, and maintains the privacy of residents and individuals
who report violations, which is not the case under current state law.”