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Town, Koch ask judge to rule on Huntington demolition permit

Attorneys for the town and for Huntington Building owner Peter Koch have asked State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Doyle to rule on Koch’s hardship application for a permit to demolish the 1870 landmark building at 201 Fall St.

The requests were made by Town Attorney David Foster and Koch attorney Peter Walsh in letters to Doyle after the town Heritage Preservation Commission said on March 12 it could not make a decision on the demolition permit application because it lacked sufficient information from Koch and potential buyer and developer Circle K, which wants to build a new gas station and convenience store on the site.

The HPC, after a four-hour review of the environmental impacts of the demolition under the State Environmental Quality Review Act process March 12, did approve a “positive” declaration that the demolition would have potential adverse environmental impacts that need to be addressed.

Wendy Marsh, appointed attorney for the HPC, wrote Doyle March 14. She told him that the HPC conducted six meetings and a public hearing, spending more than a dozen hours, to review the applications associated with the Circle K project. The three applications were a demolition permit for the existing Circle K gas station adjacent to and east of the Huntington Building, the demolition of the Huntington Building and a permit for the new gas station and convenience store that would be spread over the two parcels.

“As indicated in our motion to dismiss, the HPC is obligated to complete its review of the Circle K relocation project pursuant to SEQRA before making any decisions,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, neither Mr. Koch nor Circle K chose to participate in any of these six meetings and refused to provide any additional requested information necessary for the HPC to complete its SEQRA obligations.”

She said the HPC had no choice but to issue a positive declaration. She enclosed two resolutions passed at the March 12 meeting for Doyle to review.

Marsh, Walsh and Foster made oral arguments before Doyle Dec. 5 on Koch’s Article 78 motion objecting to the HPC’s failure to issue a demolition permit in a timely manner.

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