Rebecca FernandezMay 16, 2018, 2:45 pmMay 16, 2018, 5:26 pm

Residents: Mega mall plan in Town of Huntington is detrimental to environment

Elwood Orchard Project calls for retailers and shops on 56-acres of land

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ELWOOD — Plans are underway to develop a mega mall in the middle of the Town of Huntington, but some are fighting to stop construction from happening.

The town board has not yet decided whether or not to allow the Elwood Orchard Project. Part of the proposal calls for a zoning change, and residents are using that as a rallying point to oppose the project. It would create a large commercial center with office space, a fitness center, and retail and lifestyle shops.

"At this point on Long Island, we need to conserve. We don't need any more expansion. We certainly don't need shopping malls," says Janice Buckner, leader of the opposition to the project.

The project’s Villadom Mall would be built on 56 acres of land just off of the Jericho Turnpike and Deer Park Road at the corner of Manor Road. But critics say part of the land is actually a park that is supposed to be protected water and land by Suffolk County.

"We have a violation here, a legal violation of contract. It's not just immoral to let 56 acres become polluted water, which will go directly into the aquifer,” Buckner says. “It's going to contaminate the 2 acres the Town of Huntington is binded legally to protect."

Concerned residents have created a petition online and haven collected more than 8,000 signatures to stop the project from happening. They say it will not only affect the water and air quality in the area, but also traffic.

"It looked wonderful on paper, but you come out here and see it, it is not possible. They are proposing a situation that is impossible. My biggest question is, how did it get this far?" Buckner says.

A public hearing on the project is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. inside the auditorium of the Elwood Middle School.

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