Owner of Oheka Castle withdraws condominium construction plan


Gary Melius, owner of Oheka Castle, said he had withdrawn his application to build 90 condominiums in a four-story stone building with a parking lot at the bottom of the castle’s front yard.

“I just want to make sure I have all the ducks,” Melius said Thursday. “I’m just taking the time, that’s it.”

Last month he wanted to talk to his neighbors again about his latest condo proposal, so he demanded a postponement of the Huntington Townboard hearing on the cancellation of the contract and restrictions on castle property and neighborhood parcels.

The hearing was postponed until October 20, but town supervisor Chad Lupinatch announced that the application had been withdrawn shortly before the scheduled hearing on Tuesday.

In September, Melius said a postponement was needed to meet with the Cold Spring Hills Citizens’ Association, which expressed concern about the plan.

In 2012, a 190-unit senior community plan was proposed for a portion of Oheka’s real estate and a parcel owned by the Cold Spring Hills Country Club. The Cold Spring Hills Citizens’ Association endorsed the proposal to protect the golf course, but the plan was unsuccessful.

In order for Melius to proceed with the new plan, it was necessary to protect the golf course and remove the rules and restrictions dealing with traffic lights and future sewer systems.

Michael Archbold, vice president of the Citizens’ Association, declined to comment Thursday on the withdrawal of the latest plan.

In September, Archbolt said most residents supported Oheka Castle, but the association had no opinion on the development plan and members of the association had not yet had the opportunity to meet, vote and reach consensus.

A September letter from Howard D. Avrtin, a country club-based attorney based in Shioset, to the town states that the country club is “strongly opposed” to the new plan. The letter outlined opposition to using a country club-owned Eastgate Drive as a condo entrance.

“Although it is alleged that delivery vehicles are restricted to some of the club’s property just to access Oheka Castle, the above applicant is one of Eastgate Drive or the club’s property. I have no right to use the club. For purposes other than delivery vehicles. “

Avrutine’s letter also states that the plan indicates the construction of a sanitary pumping station. This requires the use of county club assets to connect to the Nassau County Sewer System, which the country club does not support.

Melius said the complaint filed with the Suffolk County Supreme Court in September seeking confirmation against him on these issues by Avrtin was a “slap proceeding.”

“They say they can’t use the easement that has been in use for 90 years,” Melius said. “They are just trying to stop me from what I’m doing, knowing they can’t win. There’s no agreement that I can’t use the easement.”

It was not possible to ask Avrutine for comment.

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