By Long Island Press on Jul 1st, 2010
Supporters of a planned affordable housing project rallied outside Huntington Town Hall as a part of the “Yes In My Backyard,” or YIMBY campaign, on Monday evening.
The approximately two dozen people in attendance were there to counter a previous protest of the Avalon Bay Transit Oriented Development project, a 490-unit apartment complex that would be built on an area ¼ mile from the Long Island Rail Road’s Huntington station. Proponents say the proposal is essential to keeping young people and seniors on Long Island while opponents believe it will destroy the community’s quality of life.
The Huntington Town Board will vote on the zoning plan for the Avalon Bay project at their July 6 meeting. The land is currently zoned for single family housing.
“This is a movement to bring the supporters together,” said Maritza Silva, organizer of the YIMBY campaign, a project of the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC), who has collected petitions from supporters. Advocates also have support of the business community.
“Affordable housing is important to the business community,” said Dan Perkins of the Long Island Association as supporters chanted, “Yes in my backyard,” behind him at the rally. He explained how employers cannot find talented and capable employees and hopes projects like Avalon will add new employees to the market.
Richard Koubeck, president of the Huntington Housing Coalition, said: “young professional people we cannot afford to lose.” He added that the most of the housing available to young professional is illegal housing.
Koubeck also addressed residents’ anger over the project. “Avalon Bay at Huntington Station is a rare opportunity to bring both economic growth and affordable housing to a community struggling to revitalize,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine why anyone would oppose this shot in the arm for Huntington Station.”
Residents expressed frustration over the current state of the property where the proposed development would be built and its surrounding area. Ruth-Claire Weintraub, a Huntington resident, said: “This is not a dumping ground, this is my home.”
By Christine Smith