Huntington votes to allow accessory apartment owners to live in smaller unit

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HUNTINGTON -

Changes are being made to the rental laws in the Town of Huntington, but what will that mean for property owners and renters?

Helen Boxwill has owned her home in Huntington Station since 1989 and relies on her accessory rental apartment for additional income. Now, Boxwill and hundreds of other homeowners will have an additional option.

The Town Board narrowly passed a measure this week that will allow homeowners to legally live in the smaller unit and rent out the larger part of the home.

"As a homeowner you get other income, it's a fair income, and then people have a place to live," says Boxwill.

Two Town Council members voted against the measure, including Eugene Cook. He says he's worried families moving into those homes could mean more of a burden on the school system without the tax revenue to offset it.

In a statement, Cook says, "Most likely, taxes would be increased, causing a financial hardship to the same families we are trying to help stay in their homes, which isn't real solution."

Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci sees things differently.

"It's easier to use the infrastructure we already have and try to amend our laws to make more options," says Lupinacci. "And we always have to look when building new apartment buildings that it could stress the school districts, traffic concerns and of course the environment."

The town code change also allows homeowners with smaller plot of land to qualify for an accessory apartment. Previously, a person had to have a 7,500-square-foot lot. It is now a 5,000-square-foot lot.

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