Check out this week’s Smart Talk for details on downtown funding for Amityvile, delays to the Heartland project and more….
January 1st – 7th, 2017
Harras, Bloom & Archer
Throughout the New York metropolitan area Long Island attorneys of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP handle a wide range of real estate law, real estate litigation, land use and zoning and business litigation matters.
Comprehensive knowledge of legal issues and relentless commitment to each client’s goals are the firm’s top priorities. To deliver strong, favorable results, Harras Bloom & Archer works directly with each client, providing:
There are many stages to any business and real estate endeavor, and each stage requires a thorough understanding and consideration for legal issues. Harras Bloom & Archer LLP handles matters from start to finish and can enter into the project at any stage, whether helping with initial planning of a project, addressing denied zoning grants, assessing the environmental impact of a project or litigating a dispute.
“There’s a lot of programs around the country with dollars getting tighter and tighter, and people think Long Island is all this prosperous middle and upper middle income, and really upper class people. But the fact is, as Coalition for the Homeless shows and gives us the details to work with, there are very significant pockets of homelessness throughout Long Island. Probably the most glaring one involves veterans, but there are others as well. And when you’re in cold weather like this, you realize again what it means to be homeless and how important it is to have shelter.” – U.S. Representatice Peter King speaking on the recent HUD investment of $10.6 million to combat homelessness on Long Island
“Funds raised in Nassau County to support mass transit should be reinvested entirely in Nassau County mass transit. NICE Bus is the only north-south mass transit link in Nassau County and serves nearly 100,000 a day, most of whom have no other means of transportation.” – Former NYS Senator Jack Martins speaking on the need to invest in Long Island Bus Service
Suffolk County Delays $4 Billion Mixed-Use Project
Vision was out this week testifying in support of the proposed Heartland redevelopment project in Brentwood before the Suffolk County Planning Commission. The project has been scaled back with a fully approved detailed SEQRA analysis developed over 11 years by the Town of Islip and approved by their Planning Board in August of last year.
After a nearly day-long public hearing with about 200 in attendance, the Suffolk County Planning Commission delayed its decision on whether to recommend approval of the first phase of a $4 billion Heartland Town Square mixed-use redevelopment on the former Pilgrim State hospital property until February 1st. Those opposing the project were mostly from outside of Brentwood, while those local to the area strongly supported the first phase of the project moving ahead. Most of the people attending the public meeting were members of Long Island’s building trades unions, whose leaders asked for a labor agreement and a law that would mandate local construction workers get preference in the project.
The first phase was whittled down to five story buildings, cutting about 2 million square feet of space and is approved to be built on about a third of the site’s 460 acres. The first phase is proposed to bring more than 3,000 apartments and about 700,000 square feet of retail and office space to the site, and would take about 10 years to complete. The entire project when completed will generate about 23,000 permanent jobs and at least 1,500 construction jobs annually over the build-out period, which could last three decades.
An old rail spur running from the Deer Park LIRR station to the property is unusable, having been last used in the 1970’s. In its place, shuttle buses would move commuters between the station and development, mitigating traffic issues as the development is built in phases, and satisfying the town board, who would like to take a close look at how the massive development will play out in terms of traffic congestion. The report also encourages conversation between the developer and the MTA to explore options for a new spur to be built before subsequent building phases are implemented.
“After over 11 years of detailed planning and numerous public hearings it is an important step to see the phase one plans for this mixed-use town center move forward,” said Vision’s Director Eric Alexander at the hearing. “Necessary transportation improvements can be phased in and the economic benefits from this project will bring needed jobs and revenue to the local community.”
You can read more about the latest hurdle in the revitalization of Brentwood in Long Island Business News.
Dedicated Bus Funding Stream Proposed
As New York’s lawmakers consider legalizing ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft statewide, former Senator Jack Martins, wanted to invest any revenue raised from the service within Nassau County to fund NICE Bus.
The revenue would help to prevent any immediate service cuts and provide continual revenue stream for future expansion so that county residents who commute to school, work, and elsewhere can continue to rely on the bus. NICE is facing up to a $12 million deficit in funding in 2016.
“Funds raised in Nassau County to support mass transit should be reinvested entirely in Nassau County mass transit,” Martins, who was a member of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, said in a statement.
“NICE Bus is the only north-south mass transit link in Nassau County and serves nearly 100,000 a day, most of whom have no other means of transportation,” he added.
Martins was calling for fees from rides in other counties to be used to fund similar mass transit services in those areas, such as Suffolk Transit for funds raised in Suffolk County.
“The essential ingredient for planning and executing good reliable transit that helps build community is predictable, dedicated funding,” Michael Setzer, CEO of NICE Bus, said in a statement.
Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) said she would look to support Martins’ plan if it “can prevent routes from being eliminated in the short term, and provide recurring revenue to support our buses down the road.”
“Transportation resources that are derived from Nassau residents should be reinvested back into the community for critical services like NICE bus,” Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, said in a statement.
“NICE bus transports seniors, disabled, working families and students and is a critical investment for our economic growth, small businesses and local residents.
The bill to add a 50 cent surcharge to ride-share services is currently in the Senate committee. You can read more about the proposal to provide a dedicated funding stream for Nassau and Suffolk bus services in Newsday and Long Island Business News.
HUD Awards $10.6 Million in Funding to Combat Homelessness on Long Island
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced funding allocations aimed at quickly rehousing homeless individuals and families, promoting access to programs that encourage self-sufficiency, and to provide permanent housing for Long Islanders.
The funding will help provide permanent housing for over 1,000 Long Islanders through next year, with th award including $1.1 million to develop “rapid rehousing” programs for another 300 people who need permanent shelter. Long Island Coalition for the Homeless’ Executive Director Greta Guarton and Congressman Peter King announced the funding award in Amityville just before the New Year. King noted the Long Island Continuum of Care, which includes more than 40 housing providers, had effectively eliminated veteran homelessness on Long island. The Coalition is the consortium’s lead agency. “That does not mean there are no more homeless veterans,” consortium compliance manager Gabrielle Fasano said later. “It means there are systems in place to house them if they become homeless.” Through October, the consortium had housed 1,104 veterans, she said.
“There’s a lot of programs around the country with dollars getting tighter and tighter, and people think Long Island is all this prosperous middle and upper middle income, and really upper class people,” said Representative King. “But the fact is, as Coalition for the Homeless shows and gives us the details to work with, there are very significant pockets of homelessness throughout Long Island. Probably the most glaring one involves veterans, but there are others as well. And when you’re in cold weather like this, you realize again what it means to be homeless and how important it is to have shelter.”
The $10.6 million grant will help eliminate chronic homelessness on Long Island by the end of 2017 and end family and youth homelessness by 2020. Two rapid rehousing programs will be established in order to provide short and medium term rental assistance, and is expected to help 300 homeless people living in around 80 households. All housing providers have an administrative cost of 7% or less. The funding will be used to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families and promote access to programs that encourage self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand released statements on the awarded funding, which was allocated through HUD’s Continuum of Care Program, which provides funding to non-profits, as well as local and state governments.
“One homeless family is one too many, and we must do everything we can to help provide those truly in need with a place to live,” said Senator Schumer. “By supporting affordable housing initiatives on Long Island and across New York State, and helping organizations work with homeless families and individuals to get them back on their feet, we can make a real dent in homelessness across the state. This is a sound investment in those organizations in our community who are skilled at helping those that are most in need.”
“No family should ever be without a place to call home, and these federal funds will help provide New Yorkers in need with the resources and support that can help them find safe housing and avoid homelessness,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must support our local housing initiatives and programs that encourage self-sufficiency. Access to affordable housing is essential for the health of our families and the economic strength of our communities.”
As of Jan. 27, 2016, there were 3,960 people in emergency shelters, transitional housing or on the street on Long Island — an increase of 100 over 2015. About half of the homeless were children.“It’s not the gentleman in the street pushing a cart. It’s mostly families,” said Gabrielle Fasano of Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. Vision Long Island’s Director, a Board member of the Coalition, joined in the announcement.
Throughout the United States, HUD awarded nearly $2 billion to more than 7,600 local homeless housing and service programs. You can learn more about the funding that will help battle homelessness on Long Island from FiOS 1, Newsday, and News 12, and read more about the 2016 Continuum of Care allocations here.
Amityville Receives $80,000 for Downtown Improvements
The Village of Amityville’s Chamber of Commerce was awarded an $80,000 grant from Suffolk County recently in order to help move its revitalization efforts ahead.
The award was part of the 14th Round of the Suffolk County Revitalization Grant, geared toward parking, sidewalk or roadway constriction, walkways, street lighting, public restrooms, accessibility, sewering and drainage and more. Several things would not be considered, and the project life-span had to have been at least 15 years. Potential projects were scored on certain criteria: the project is in or adjacent to a downtown, a reasonable expectation of completion, part of a downtown improvement plan, provides economic benefits, and leverages additional funds. Criteria was judged by a panel of 20 members, one being selected by each Legislator, one appointed by the County Executive, and one selected from the Suffolk County Department of Planning.
The village’s Chamber of Commerce was awarded the money and it will be dedicated toward a section of Park Avenue between Greene Avenue and Ireland Place. The grant will go toward road repaving, drainage improvements, lighting, new crosswalks, handicapped-accessible sidewalks and handicapped parking.
“This is big for us,” said village Mayor James Wandell. “This is the last piece of the puzzle. There’s been a great effort to improve Park Avenue.” Mayor Wandell said that the improvements were needed for a long time, so the village as going to go ahead with the work, but can do so now without as much or a financial strain to the village while making the area more inviting and safer for pedestrians. Keith Mainhart from the Amityville Chamber of Commerce was happy to see the project move ahead. “For millennials it’s all about walkability,” he said. “So if we can attract more of that group to here, it would be great.”
Work should begin in this spring on the project. Park Avenue is a key part of the village’s downtown with 22 businesses in that area, he said, and has been a focus of efforts by the village’s downtown revitalization committee. Eight new businesses have opened in the area over the past three years according to Mayor Wandell. Legislator DuWayne Gregory of Amityville was able to help secure funding, and is pleased with the award. “It will mean more people, more eyes on the street, more potential to spend money downtown,” Gregory said of the Amityville improvements.
In total, 14 projects were awarded this year, with $600,000 being disbursed. Since its inception, the program has awarded over $11 million dollars in grants towards improving Suffolk County downtowns. Amityville’s award amount was the second highest of this year’s allocations,with Patchogue Village receiving $104,400 for improvements to the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. You can read more about Amityville’s grant to help move its downtown forward here
Schumer Calls for “Significant, Direct Spending” for US Infrastructure Needs
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer reiterated on Tuesday that Democrats are open to working with President-elect Donald Trump on his promised $1 trillion infrastructure package, but he said that new revenue would be required, warning that private tax credits won’t be enough to “get the job done” when it comes to financing massive infrastructure spending.
“The President-elect said a great many things about rebuilding our infrastructure. Democrats welcome that discussion. But how is he going to do it?” Schumer said in his first floor speech of the new Congress. “A program of tax credits isn’t going to get the job done, no matter how large.” Trump has long talked about the need to rebuild the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and airports, comparing them unfavorably to those of other nations. And Democratic leaders including Schumer have identified infrastructure as one of the few issues that could see bipartisan support in the new Congress.
“We have thousands of bridges, tunnels, highways, schools, wastewater systems and airports in need of repairs,” Schumer said. “Not only in our big cities, but in rural and suburban communities throughout the country.” Over 65,000 bridges (over 10%) in the US are structurally deficient, and 20,000 at risk of collapse if a single, vital component fails.
President-Elect Trump has floated an infrastructure proposal that would offer $137 billion in federal tax credits to private investors who back transportation projects, which he claims would unlock $1 trillion worth of investment. However, Democrats are likely to shy away from any plan that lacks direct federal spending. They argue that private financing would only attract projects that can recoup their investment costs, such as toll roads.“We need significant, direct spending,” Schumer said.
Public Comment Welcome for LIRR Third Track
The Long Island Railroad and Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be conducting six public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Third Track Project.
The hearings offer the public opportunity to ask questions and make comments on the initial findings.
In a DEIS issued in late 2016, the project is described as enabling improved passenger experience, boosting motor vehicle safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and more. The report is available online.
The public hearings will be held in three locations on three days:
Comments can also be submitted online, by mail or in person until the close of the DEIS comment period, Jan. 31, 2017 at 5pm. All comments received during this period will become part of the public record and be considered as part of the project studies.
To deliver comments by mail or in person, contact:
Edward M. Dumas
LIBN’s Top 40 Under 40 Ceremony on January 19th, 2017
Vision Long Island’s Assistant Director Tawaun Weber was recently named as one of Long Island Business News’ Top 40 Under 40 for 2017.
Since 1998, Long Island Business News has taken nominations for outstanding members of the business community on Long Island who are 40 or under. These future leaders of Long Island have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector. They have a proven track record of career success, are involved in mentoring and promoting their profession and find time to give back to their communities.
This year’s honorees will be awarded at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Westbury on January 19th, 2017 from 6pm to 9pm. Tickets are still available for this event. To see a list of all of this year’s honorees and for more information or to register, click here. Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!
Technical Assistance Grants for Affordable Solar Projects Available
NY-Sun is now accepting applications for the Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance program. This new funding opportunity supports the development of solar projects for multifamily affordable housing and community solar projects serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, with up to $200,000 for each approved proposal.
Many LMI households are unable to access benefits from conventional residential solar installations. To help expand access to solar benefits for LMI households, NYSERDA is seeking proposals for projects leading to:
Projects related to on-site solar installations for owner-occupied houses are not eligible for funding through this solicitation. However, NY-Sun provides support to LMI homeowners through the Affordable Solar Program.
Applications may be submitted by local governments, affordable housing, community organizations and service providers working to make solar accessible to LMI communities in New York. NY-Sun will accept and review applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. Visit the program webpage for more details and the application.
If you have questions about the solicitation, please email email@example.com.
DOE Solar in Your Community Challenge Grant
The Solar in Your Community Challenge is an 18-month, $5 million prize competition to support community-based solar programs and projects aimed at providing solar access to low and moderate income communities. The Challenge is aimed at supporting innovators across the U.S. to create scalable solutions that will bring solar to nonprofits, LMI households and local and tribal governments. Selected teams will be provided with seed funding as they complete milestones, receive technical assistance from an online marketplace of qualified experts, and compete to win final prizes from May 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018.
If you are interested in learning more about the Solar in Your Community Challenge and forming a team, please visit the program webpage. The application deadline is March 17, 2017. This program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and is administered by SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we “wear many hats,” and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
What’s happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
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Port Jefferson Historical Society
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Municipalities Potentially Liable for Injuries on Streets without Traffic Calming
In a recent court ruling New York State’s Court of Appeals, the highest court in the State, has ruled that New York City is laible for a 2004 accident that occured at an inersection with a reputation for dangerous conditions. A man driving at 54 mph in a 30 mph zone struck and injured a 12 year old who was riding his bike through the intersection. Previous to that, the City had ignored multiple complaints and years of requests to conduct traffic calming at the intersection, which local residents had described as a “racetrack.” Since 2007 four fatalities have occured at that same intersection.
To read more you can check out the original story here.
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