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Two major decisions made at Huntington Town Board meeting: “Yes” to Matinecock Court and “No” to cannabis sales

Business by: Chrissy Ruggeri, December 16, 2021

The Huntington Town Board voted 4-1 in favor of the new limited equity structure for Matinecock Court, an affordable housing development being built at the corner of Pulaski Road and Elwood Road. Image via Google Earth.

It was another very long Huntington Town Board meeting, with dozens of speakers coming to the podium to express their approval for the Matinecock Court development slated to be built at the corner of Elwood and Pulaski Roads.

Over two hours into Tuesday's 2pm meeting, after recognizing that the forty remaining residents yet to speak were in favor of passing the new limited equity structure for the development, and that no one else opposed the proposed model, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci moved forward with calling the vote.

The Matinecock Court development was originally approved as a mix of 70 rental units and 76 condominiums, affordable to household incomes between $47,000 and $95,000. In May of this year, developer Peter Florey of D&F Development Group proposed that all units be merged into limited equity cooperatives, instead of the previous mix of rentals and ownership.

Councilwoman Joan Cergol read the resolution as the sponsor and Councilman Mark Cuthberton seconded it. Then Councilman Ed Smyth spoke, saying that he disagrees with the new structure and doesn’t believe that limited equity is equity at all, it’s actually a “rental project.” He said that this resolution “eliminates affordable home ownership” and noted that the final resolution on this matter was emailed to the board just two hours before the meeting began, which is “no way to govern,” according to the councilman.

On the motion, Councilwoman Cergol said, “If we keep doing what we’re doing, we are going to keep getting what we’re getting – no shovel in the ground. It’s time to move this forward.” The resolution was adopted 4-1 and after the vote, residents in the audience rose in applause, many shaking hands and offering congratulations.

The board also voted to opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments within the Town of Huntington at Tuesday’s meeting. The 5-0 vote was done prior to the December 31 deadline set in place by the state as part of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Under the bill, each city, town and village is responsible for making a decision about cannabis sales for its jurisdiction.

Councilman Mark Cuthberton noted after his vote that he didn’t agree with the state making each municipality decide on the measure. He also said that by opting out now, the future board will be able to opt in at a later time, if desired. This is the “wait and see” approach that many towns and villages across Long Island will be taking as adult-use dispensaries and establishments begin to open next year.

During the brief discussion on the vote, Supervisor Lupinacci reminded the public that adults are still permitted to grow their own cannabis plants at home, with three mature and three immature plants per person being allowed under the law. Delivery services will also be permitted within the Town of Huntington, even after the board opted out.