The following comments were submitted on April 9, 2018 to the Town of Huntington regarding a proposal to build a large retail center in the Dix Hills/Elwood area.
To Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and members of the Huntington Town Board –
My name is Richard Murdocco, and I am writing to share my thoughts regarding the proposed Elwood Orchard shopping center.
As part of the research process for its award-winning body of analytical and reported work on Long Island’s land use issues, The Foggiest Idea regularly reviews real estate projects being considered by policymakers across Nassau and Suffolk Counties. I first covered Villadom’s proposal when it was proposed in 2014, and it has been troubling to see the marked lack of evolution this project has undergone despite shifts in market dynamics across Long Island.
In June 2016, I wrote Huntington’s planning board with concerns over the fact this proposed retail center isn’t maximizing the parcel’s full potential. At the time, I had suggested rejecting the current proposal, and to instead cluster a dense multi-family development on 20% of the property while preserving the remaining unused 80% portion of the wooded parcel. Today this recommendation still holds merit, especially when you factor in the growing weakness of the retail sector.
The chief concern is that Villadom’s proposed development would further add to the oversaturation of retail usage on Long Island. Due to the questionable quality of the jobs being created the project and the influx of newly-built retail space projects like Heartland Town Square in the Town of Islip are slated to generate, Elwood Orchard does little to creatively address any of the housing, economic, or environmental challenges the region faces.
Given the numerous commercial and retail vacancies that dot Long Island, as well as the project site being in close proximity of several large existing retail centers, policymakers and elected officials should question if this proposal will be financially sustainable in the future decades.
The township and community should work with the developer to find a creative use for one of western Suffolk County’s last remaining sizable vacant stretches of land.
The Foggiest Idea Inc.