Smart Talk August 31st – September 6th, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we look in on Hempstead’s latest public hearing for the Baldwin Overlay District, look at the regional need for new affordable housing, and more…

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August 31st – September 6th, 2019


Cameron Engineering

Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP is a full service multi-disciplined consulting engineering and planning firm founded in 1985. The Firm is comprised of experienced and qualified engineers, landscape architects, planners, facility operators, and environmental scientists dedicated to providing professional, timely and responsive services to our clients.

A comprehensive knowledge of municipal codes, government regulations, and industry standards is incorporated into all of their work. This assures that they provide quality engineering and up-to-date solutions. The principals and senior level management are continuously involved in the planning, control, implementation, and quality review of each project. Their timely submissions and quality engineering are the primary reasons for their clients to request their services on a repeat basis.

“To the average person sitting here this might not sound overly sexy, but what has gone into this in the past 20 years is unbelievable. The fact that this thing has been pulled off in a year and we’re making it sound boring and routine is unbelievable.  To the Baldwin community … I think everyone is so well meaning and so ready, finally, for something to happen.” – Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King-Sweeney on the Baldwin Overlay District Zone process

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Town of Hempstead holds Public Hearing on Proposed Baldwin Grand Ave Overlay District

Vision Long Island, along with VHB, was out in the Town of Hempstead this week in order to present for the public hearing on Baldwin’s Grand Ave Overlay District code and Generic Envionmental Impact Statement (GEIS).

This public hearing was held by the Town in order to open the public comments period for the GEIS of the overlay zone.  Findings of the draft GEIS were presented and the Baldwin Civic, Chamber, School District and community members all testified.  The Town Board also voted unanimously to accept the documents in this step of the process.

“To the average person sitting here this might not sound overly sexy, but what has gone into this in the past 20 years is unbelievable,” said Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King-Sweeney at the hearing.  “The fact that this thing has been pulled off in a year and we’re making it sound boring and routine is unbelievable.  To the Baldwin community … I think everyone is so well meaning and so ready, finally, for something to happen.”

The public comments period will be open until September 16th.  Interested parties can submit comments via email to or at the DGEIS website here, which also has information on the document itself.  Once all the comments are in the Town will need to respond.

Vision has been working in the area since 2012 and process has been steady for this community in search of revitalization.  It has been driven by a group of motivated residents as well as Town officials.  If approved, the new zoning will help with the proposed improvements to safety and walkability that came from an ongoing complete streets study for Grand Ave.

Credit goes to Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Supervisor Laura Gillen, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito for their leadership and collaboration through the planning stages.

We will keep you informed of follow up and are looking forward to any new downtown projects that may be on the horizon.

Village of Floral Park seeks Meeting with Governor Cuomo over Belmont Plan

In a move that is reflective an at-times chaotic process, officials from the Village of Floral Park are calling on Governor Cuomo to hold a meeting with them on their concerns with the project.

New York Arena partners will create the project and is a group formed by the owners of the Islanders, New York Mets, and arena developers Oak View Group.  The development will consist of a new 19,000-seat arena, 350,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, a new hotel, and parking.  It will be built on 43 acres of state-owned property at Belmont Park.

Just before the final vote for approval took place, both officials and residents gathered in the village to call for more time to review the Environmental Impact Study that had been released.  However, NYS officials countered that the state has already completed the review process and incorporated numerous local comments on the project. 

Since then Floral Park has begun to explore legal action against the proposed arena project.  The village trustees have authorized the filing of a lawsuit, but have also been seeking a meeting with the governor.  A groundbreaking is expected for the arena later this month and is slated to open by fall of 2021. 

Ideally these types of dialogues occur before a major project is planned and approved. Hopefully real public benefits and the massive infrastructure mitigation that is needed can be secured before any building begins.  The process that ensued was not so measured, and that has led to local communities being radically opposed to the mall and arena project for a host of reasons.  This should be a lesson to keep planning focused in a hyper local fashion versus a very top down approach.

You can read more at Newsday.

City of Glen Cove seeks Ferry Feedback with Survey

The City of Glen Cove is working to create a new transportation system aimed at getting residents from to and from work on a Long Island based ferry service.  As part of their development efforts, they are asking for people to help with a brief, 10-minute survey so that they can better suit the ferry service as well as the needs of the community.

If you’d like to participate, you can do so at the ferry’s website.  Responses are completely anonymous.  Questions can be emailed to

Transit Oriented Development Projects Underway: More Affordable Housing Units Needed

There are a series of challenges millennials face including permanent jobs, low wages and high cost of everything including housing.  Newsday recently wrote an article focusing on their housing options.

The high cost of living has caused those in the range of 25 to 34 to leave Long Island for years, and the ones who do stay more often live at home due to an inability to find an affordable place to live.  Homeownership is also down among this age group.

For this group, TOD zoning and downtown redevelopment has become a priority thanks a steady reduction in emphasis on personal transportation and the desire to live in areas with access to restaurants, bars, events and services.  Villages on Long Island are trying to meet this demand and seeing success, with well over 100 new projects approved across the region over the last 13 years resulting in over 13,000 units of housing.  10-15% of those units are affordable or workforce housing. 

“There has been tremendous growth and openness to downtown redevelopment in recent years with 87 of 103 local public hearings having more community supporters than opponents speak in favor of these projects”  said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander.

The surge has also led to a search for additional solutions to meet this demand.  The Village of Westbury has been working for years to bring TOD to its downtown, and they are now considering micro-apartments.  These new types of units will be one room around 400 square feet with fold-out furniture and a small, semi-hidden kitchen. 

“The marketplace is changing,” said Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro. “We need to be nimble and be able to change. Otherwise, the community will stagnate.” 

You read the full article at Newsday.

More than Half of US Construction Concentrated in 10 States

Data gathered from over 11,000 large-scale projects around the country has revealed that nearly 60% of construction projects currently in the pipeline are located in just 10 states.

The information was released in a report titled “Project Analysis – Construction in Key US States,” and showed that California, New York, and California have the highest value of construction projects on the way.  California leads the pack with 1,302 projects worth $524.6 billion, 56% of which is comprised of infrastructure projects and mixed-use developments.

In fact, it is a desire for mixed use and connected communities that has helped to drive this push in these larger states.  Millennials, baby boomers, and older generations are all expressing a desire to live and work in walkable communities that have amenities close at hand. 

“The construction of mixed-use developments is booming across many U.S. states, with the building of American city centers and suburbs coming to resemble one another due to changing demands from consumers and homebuyers,” according to GlobalData Economist Dariana Tani. “This is particularly the case for states such as Florida, California, and New York. In Florida, the construction of mixed-use properties is growing faster than any other U.S. state, with five of the top 10 largest construction projects in Florida being mixed-use construction projects, according to GlobalData.”

The boom is also being driven by the rise of tech companies that is contributing to higher demand for residential and commercial buildings.  Tech companies have spurred investments in local communities that are now leading to larger and more efficiently planned mixed-use communities and campuses.

You can read more here.

Annual Westbury BID Street Fair will take place on September 7th

The Annual Westbury Street Fair will take place this Saturday, September 7th.

The event will take place on Post Ave starting at 10:00 AM.  Local businesses will be out and about along with residents eager for some downtown fun.   There will be vendors, local businesses, live band and entertainment as well as a delicious food truck court featuring a variety of food trucks.  This event is free for all.

Rain date is the following day, Sunday, September 8th.

Rockville Centre to Host Inaugural Playing on the Porch event on September 7th

This September 7th, the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce will be working with locals to host the first Playing on the Porch event in local neighborhoods.

Around 15 local residents have offered up their front porches as impromptu concert sites for local musicians.  The outdoor performances will take place across the village and give residents a place to enjoy some family-friendly festivities with their neighbors.  This will be the first event of its kind on Long Island.

The concerts will take place from 3 to 6 pm and will be followed up by an open-mic night at Kasey’s Kitchen and Cocktails’ rooftop from 6 to 9.  Maps will be available at the Chamber of Commerce for residents to follow to the events taking place across the Village.

4th Annual LI Bike Parade to be held on September 14th

Join the NY Coalition for Transportation Safety, LI Transportation Alliance, Long Island Streets, the Ethical Humanist Society of LI, and the Village of Hempstead for the 4th Annual LI Bike Parade on Sept 14, 2019.

Participation is completely FREE. Parade follows a 2-mile loop with police escort.  There will be cash prizes for the best “bike floats”.   Those who prefer to walk can join the walking tour, located at 260 Clinton St.  That will gather at 11:30 and begins at noon.

Visit their webpage at for a registration form and more information about the parade. Show your support for a more walk-able and bike-able Long Island!  You can email CONTACT@LITRANSPORTATIONALLIANCE.ORG for more information.

Huntington Awareness Day set for September 14th

The Huntington Township Awareness Day is set for Sept. 14, with the Unity in the Community parade that will march from Huntington High School to Stimson Middle School.

Stimson will host a fair from 10am – 3pm, which will include games, food, fun and attractions.

The event is chaired by Dee Thompson and South Huntington school superintendent Dr. David Bennardo.

Farmingdale Cultural Arts Day to take Place on September 15th

The fourth annual “Cultural Arts Day” will take place on Sunday, September 15th, and feature Music and Dance performances by local entertainers, in conjunction with the ninth “Art In The Park”!

In addition to music and dance performances at the Gazebo, the Village Green will be filled with about 30 magnificent artists exhibiting and selling their artwork. So many very special, talented artists are set to exhibit, show and sell their original artwork at the event, including the Legendary Long Island artist – Elaine Faith Thompson, Emma’s Journey and more!

Farmingdale student, Emma Brussell of Emma’s Journey, will exhibit and sell her artwork, alongside Rufus, her diabetic alert dog. Emma is dedicated to helping type 1 diabetics purchase diabetic alert dogs. Many artists will be exhibiting, including Live Art with The Tiny Artist Studio, Farmingdale schools, Hardscrabble Seniors, Clothesline Art…

Come meet these special Long Island artists and enjoy their magnificent artwork displayed On the Village Green and support Emma’s Journey on September 15th, rain date September 22nd.  Art in the Park is a juried art show, featuring a wonderful array of original artwork on display – and ribbons and prizes will be awarded. 

You can view the website for updates here, or contact the group at 516-249-0093 or

7th Annual Long Island Car Free Day is on September 20th

Leave your car home or drive it less on Friday, September 20, 2019 as Long Island celebrates Car Free Day.
Car Free Day is an international event celebrated every September in which people are encouraged to get around without cars and instead ride a train, bus, bicycle, carpool, subway or walk. This year, Long Island will once again join.  Join in this worldwide movement to celebrate sustainable transportation on Car Free Day.

In 2018, 7,325 Long Islanders pledged to be car free or car-lite, resulting in the avoidance of 145,000 miles of driving and 73 tons of CO2 emissions!

Vision Long Island is a sponsor of Car Free Day and has pledged for many years.

To participate in this event, all you have to do is pledge to be car free or car-lite on September 20th by filling out the pledge form. Once you pledge you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win great prizes as well.  People who are already car free are still eligible to enter and win.

New Long Island Website Focuses on Community and Hyper-Local Events

Here is a really great find. The Long Island Times is an online Long Island news service that focuses on community activities of all kinds – services, events, activities without drama. It is well written with lots of local information. Folks should check it out here and see what’s scheduled in your local area!

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

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Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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