Smart Talk February 2nd – 8th, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where look in on with Baldwin’s revitalization, review the latest development on Central Islip’s DRI grant, cheer on the return of the N1 line to NICE bus, and more…

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February 2nd – 8th, 2019


Forcelli Deegan Terrana

Founded in 1976, Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP is one of Long Island’s largest and most distinguished law firms. The Firm represents a broad range of clients, including national, regional and local businesses, public, private and family-owned companies, major real estate developers, property owners and operators, contractors, banks, municipalities, educational institutions, not-for-profits, foundations, and individuals. Personal attention and quality representation that is both practical and cost-effective are hallmarks of the Firm.

With over 60 attorneys, the Firm is able to provide expertise in nearly 20 different practice areas, with the talent, skill and experience necessary to meet the legal needs of virtually any client. These attorneys are supported by a dedicated team of paralegals, law clerks, administrative and support staff, and cutting-edge office and communications technology.

Headquartered in Uniondale, NY, in one of Long Island’s premier office buildings, the Firm is conveniently located for clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as those in New York City.

“I’m glad that residents and I were able to work with NICE Bus to obtain this earlier southbound N1 Bus,. This earlier route will make it easier for residents to get to work on time, with less stress.” – Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages

“I’ve had to use Ubers, taxis or get a ride from a friend who would drive me to the LIRR. We were always trying to figure out how we were going to get there because being late to work wasn’t an option.” – Nassau Resident Yvonne Adnrews

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Hempstead Hosts Informational Meeting on Baldwin’s Revitalization 

Vision Long Island was out in support at a recent informational meeting hosted by the Town of Hempstead for the proposed overlay zone in downtown Baldwin. 

Vision is currently working with VHB and the Town of Hempstead to develop an overlay zone allowing for mixed-use development along Grand Ave from the Baldwin LIRR station to Merrick Road.  The higher density development would be closest to the train station, with a more medium density near shops along Merrick Road, and a lower density transition zone in between. 

Informational stations at the meeting focused on the boundaries of the overlay zone and heights allowed in each portion, design guidelines to shape the character of development, other community improvements happening within Baldwin such as improvements to Silver Lake Park and the Nunley’s mural, the complete streets project for Grand Avenue, information learned from developers to ensure successful development, and how projects are financed.

Residents of Baldwin have been waiting for decades to see redevelopment and revitalization along Grand Avenue, a vital part of Baldwin’s downtown.  This overlay zone will help remove red tape that has discouraged investment and allowed properties to decline, while also encourage new development in the downtown area.  Most of the more than 200 community members in attendance were in favor of the proposal, many asking “when will they start building?”  

The overlay zone is being coordinated with the complete streets road project along Grand Avenue which will enhance walkability within the zone.  Vision Long Island applauds the Town’s efforts to provide information to residents who are eager to see change come to their downtown. 

Part of the inspiration for the local community has been seeing other downtown take off in recent years.  In particular, the civic has spent time touring Farmingdale, which was in a similar situation to Baldwin just a few years ago and is now rising quickly as a destination in the local region.  While the plan for Baldwin’s revitalization draws inspiration from Farmingdale’s model, there are differences.  However, one aspect that the civic would like to import is Farmingdale’s commitment to transparency during the process. 

You can read more here.

Residents Review Potential Projects for Central Islip Downtown

On Tuesday, Vision staff joined a large crowd of community residents who came out to hear the proposals and voice their desires for what will best fit the vision they have for their downtown.  It was clear that some of the proposals were favored by the state and planning firm, however residents strongly voiced their support for projects that encompassed the vision residents have talked about with officials over the past few years.

Residents focused their comments on having a vibrant downtown with entertainment, shops, and restaurants.  While they also support mixed use development, they were cautios for an abundance of rental housing without commercial development to support it, given the high number of vacant homes and existing rentals in the area. 

“I think both the residential and business community have made it clear that they want to move away from the notion that their mainstreet is just for catering to the courthouse and municipal uses.  They want more of a feel of a real downtown with shops and theaters… a place that people will feel safe and want to come to” said Vision Assistant Director Tawaun Weber.

Vision Long Island has worked with the Central Islip community for nearly a decade helping the community design and shape a vision for their downtown.  This state funding is helping to move many of the projects forward, however residents have expressed concerns as to whether it will be enough to get things done.  They have also expressed some dissatisfaction with the application process for businesses to submit their proposals.

Public feedback included concern for overcrowding in local schools due to new apartments as well as what felt like a lack of development meant to keep millennials in the area  State officials acknowledged some of these challenges and Supervisor Angie Carpenter vowed that she and town staff will continue to stay directly involved in this process. Overall, residents are exciting that there is at least a spotlight on their community and the momentum continues.  Future community meetings will be scheduled as the committee meets to discuss the feedback of this weeks forum.

You can read more on the meeting here and keep up to date on Islip’s DRI efforts here.

Baldwin Residents Join Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro for Walking Tour

Vision was out last weekend with Westbury Mayor Peter T. Cavallaro​​, Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé​​, Baldwin residents, and Westbury and County officials for a cold downtown walk.  The walking tour presented a chance for Baldwin residents to get an idea of what is working in the surging downtown, which was the first Long Island recipient of the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

Since then, Westbury has been working tirelessly to upgrade and revitalize their downtown, with results beginning to really show for their efforts.  Though they only received the grant a few years ago, the downtown revitalization has been 15 years in the making and provided a treasure trove of information for the Baldwinites.  This also marked the second tour that Baldwin residents have taken of resurgent downtowns, having previously toured Farmingdale along with Vision Long Island and Mayor Ralph Ekstrand. 

Vision was happy to see the two communities, who are at different stages of their revitalization efforts, connect. We look forward to the changes that Baldwin is striving to implement in an effort to improve their community.

Lower Speed Limits for Front and Main Streets in Greenport Approved

The NYS Department of Transportation has given its approval to lower the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph on a section of Greenport Village’s Main Street.

The approval came at the request of the local town Village Board, who debated the proposed change for a little more than half a year.  The official vote to make the request was made in June of 2018 and was necessary due to the roads being maintained by NYS.  The vote was approved 3-1 with one trustee abstaining due to a lack of information.

“We’re encouraged by the decision and appreciate the support of our village officials in getting this done,” said resident Bridget Elkin.  “With proper signage and enforcement, this is a positive step for the safety and quality of life in our community.”

Now that the approval has gone through with the state DOT, new signs will be installed along Front Street to indicate the lower speed.  The Village is responsible for maintaining the signs on Main Street, so they will be making that change independently.

You can read more here.

Glen Cove Ferry Deadline Extended

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has has granted an extension to Glen Cove Ferry to implement their long-awaited ferry service.

The extension was officially approved on January 28th, almost a full month after the initial Janueary 1st target date, due to the recent government shutdown.  The new deadline for final implementation of the ferry will be May 22, 2020.

The extension will allow for the city to put together the necessary $16.6 million in grant funding to implement the service.  The new date is based on an action plan that was created by the city and RXR Realty, who is working to develop the site of the ferry terminal.  While the plan looks to be set up by the new deadline, it will span a 10 to 15 year period and is expected to be done and fully operational come 2035.

There is concern with how long the plan is taking to come to fruition, but Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke is confident that the city can meet the new deadline and create a functional system for commuters to get to Manhattan and back daily.  Milestones will be measures on a set timeline as the project moves forward.  The deadline is tied to $16.6 million in grant funding that the FHWA has given Glen Cove to implement the proposed service.  Had the deadline not been extended then repayment of the grants would have been required.

The City has said that it will release an RFP for an operator in the coming months and is required to have hired one by September 15th.

You can read more here.

Supervisor Bosworth Delivers North Hempstead’s State of the Town Address

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth delivered her 4th Annual State of the Town Address this week at the Harbor Links Club in Port Washington. 

“John F. Kennedy said that ‘every accomplishment starts with a decision to try,’” said Ms. Bosworth in the opening of her speech. “And we have made that decision to try again and again over the past year, whether it was to solve an unexpected problem, to improve an existing program or embark on a new initiative.”

The Supervisor touted the Town’s recent successes in the speech, talking about freshly passed laws, an upgrade to the Town’s bond rating, and new infrastructure projects.  Part of that includes the upgrading of the town to a triple-A bond rating and a reduction of debt by $32 million since 2014.  New laws spanned from a ban on smoking for people under 21, anti-nepotism laws, and improved transparency.

She also covered new developments and money for much-needed projects in the Town.  This includes the completion of Alvan Petrus Park in Port Washington as well as the ground-breaking for a public pool renovation at North Hempstead Beach Park.  There was also $5.2 million being drawn from the Town’s five-year capital plan to repaid local sidewalks and repave roads.

You can read more here.

Commuters Celebrate Return of N1 Line to Nassau

Four years ago bus riders in Elmont and Valley Stream were dismayed to hear that the northbound N1 bus would be cut, disrupting their morning commute.

In a move that’s being cheered by local residents, the early bus is being restored after two years of lobbyhing NICE bus and the efforts of local legislators.  Commuters were frustrated with the initial removal of the 6:45 bus because the next one, at 7:45, often would arrive at the LIRR station too late for people to get to work by 9 AM.  This all in an area where 25% of local residents use public transportation.

“I’ve had to use Ubers, taxis or get a ride from a friend who would drive me to the LIRR,” said local resident Yvonne Andrews. “We were always trying to figure out how we were going to get there because being late to work wasn’t an option.”

Riders would often find themselves at the mercy of an inconsistent schedule where a late or ill-timed bus meant that they would be late to work or seek alternative transportation.  Sometimes this meant paying for ridesharing or taxi services, or even walking several miles to get to a more convenient form of public transportation.  Riders conveyed all this to both local legislators as well as NICE bus itself.  NICE actually cited customer feedback as part of the reason for restoring the line.

Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages, who was a big part of the push to restore the line, is now working to get the word out to local riders.  His office hopes that volume will pick back up on the line in order to ensure that it remains in service and will not get canceled again. 

“I’m glad that residents and I were able to work with NICE Bus to obtain this earlier southbound N1 Bus,” stated Legislator Solages. “This earlier route will make it easier for residents to get to work on time, with less stress.”

Vision was happy to see the return of this important bus service in Nassau County for the communities of Elmont and Valley Stream.  Special thanks to both NICE bus for bringing this key line back in service and for the advocacy of Legislator Solages to make this a key item in the budget.

You can read more here.

NYS Legislature Bans Offshore Drilling

After some heavy lobbying by Long Island lawmakers and residents, the NYS legislature has passed a ban on offshore drilling.

The ban was easily passed by the Senate on Tuesday after the Assembly approved it on Monday.  The legislation will specifically ban the issuance of permits to allow for offshore drilling in state waters.  This will make it much more difficult to drill offshore in New York, even in federally controlled waters.  The move is seen as an attempt to counter the current US administration’s push to expand offshore drilling.

The bill was sponsored by State Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senator Steve Englebright, who are from Setaiket and Long Beach, respectively.  The legislation will now head to Governor Cuomo’s desk, who has already signaled support for the legislation.

You can read more here.

LIRR President Phil Eng Hosts Customer Conversation Forum

Vision recently attended the Long Island Railroad’s Customer Conversation forum at the Walter Bennett Hicksville Community Center.

LIRR president Phil Eng gave a presentation on some of the projects and upgrades the railroad is in the process of completing the answered dozens of questions from the audience. Topics covered included parking and station maintenance, new technology for real time train location, tickets, switches and signals. There was also discussion of preventative measures such as raising train overpasses and installation of reflective plastic bollards at grade crossings to reduce or eliminate drivers turning onto the tracks.

Mr. Eng emphasized that the railroad is thinking outside of the box to develop solutions to improve performance and customer experience while staying within budget.

NYS Extends Deadline for Comments on Belmont Arena

The deadline to submit written comments to NYS regarding the proposed Belmont Arena has been extended until March 1st.

The proposal for the site includes a new 19,000 seat arena for the Islanders, 435,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel, and entertainment venues.  The Islanders are hoping to break ground on the new stadium by May, with the state’s Empire State Development agency coordinating the project.  A final environmental impact statement is due by April.

The project has met resistance in the local community with residents expressing concern over increased traffic to the area, the size of the proposal, and a lack of public transportation to the site.  Several meetings have been held to try and reach out to the local community but has not produced widespread support for the proposal.

Written remarks on the project can be submitted online at

Pink Tie Kicks Off 2019 Schedule

Vision Board and staff were out this week at Chocolate Works in Plainview for the kick off of Pink Tie’s various 2019 charities and events.

It was great to hear plans for the year from the Give and Go gas stations, range of upcoming Pink Tie events, and their other numerous charitable endeavors. Vision is encouraged by the works that this organization does to help reinvest in local communities.

Special thanks to the folks at 1st Equity Title and Trinity Solar for their leadership, and stay tuned for event dates and other ways to get involved as the year goes on.

LIRR President Sets Listening Tour Date for Suffolk County on February 13th

LIRR President Phil Eng has announced the continuation of the ‘Customer Conversations’ forums located across the service territory as part of the LIRR’s efforts to have an open dialogue with customers about service and major initiatives.  Daily commuters, leisure travelers, community members and stakeholders are encouraged to attend and engage in constructive dialogue with President Eng and other LIRR senior officials and subject matter experts who will be available to hear about their experiences, share feedback and to answer questions.

The following date has been set for the remaining forum:

When: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
 Wyandanch Station (Straight Path and Long Island Avenue), Wyandanch, NY 11798

Doors will open for the event at 6 p.m. and attendees will have the opportunity to meet both Mr. Eng and experts from various LIRR department.  There will be a short presentation at 7 pm followed by a Q&A with the event to conclude by 8:30.

Motown Concert by Ronkonkoma Chamber for Charity on February 16th

The Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce will be hosting Motown in Our Town, a tribute to The Temptations& Gladys Knight & The Pips starring Shadows of the 60’s.

Tickets are $39.50, with proceeds helping students in the community. The Chamber also plans to make a donation to the Andrew McMorris Fund.  Andrew is the Boy Scout that was killed in October by a drunken driver.

The event will be held on February 16th at 7:30PM at Connetquot High School, 190 7th Street in Bohemia.  You can buy tickets here, or call 631-698-9696 for more information

LICH to hold Annual Vigil for the Homeless on April 2nd

Long Island Coalition for the Homeless will hold its annual vigil for the homeless on the April 2nd, 2019, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Farmingdale State College’s Roosevelt Hall, located at 2350 Broadhollow Road in Farmingdale.

Join the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, invited guests, members of the community, and others as they raise awareness about homelessness and poverty on Long Island.  This annual event combines an Information Fair about essential programs and services available on Long Island, free health screenings and health management information; free haircuts; activities for the kids: face painting, magicians, story time; and the distribution of essential items to those in need.

There will be a brief candle lighting ceremony in remembrance of those who have been lost due to homelessness and poverty, hear stories of challenge and triumph, and combat the stigma of poverty.

The event is free. All funds raised through this event go to support the Vigil and the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless’ important work for homeless and at risk Long Islanders.

Suffolk County Announces $500,000 in Downtown Revitalization Grants

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced that applications for Round 17 of the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Grants Program are now available.

A pool of $500,000 is available for partial funding of capital projects located in, or adjacent to, downtown areas on municipally-owned property.  Award recipients will be selected by the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel following a competitive application process.

 Suffolk County will host an Applicant Training Session at the H. Lee Dennison Building Media Room on February 14, from 2:00pm – 4:00pm, and applications are due by 4:30pm on May 24, 2019.

 Grant applicants must be organizations that represent a downtown area and who partner with their local municipality.  Organizations that represent downtown areas including business improvement districts, chambers of commerce, civic associations, historical societies, beautification societies, and local development corporations are eligible applicants. Towns or villages who partner with a community organization are required to pass resolutions supporting the project on which the two entities partner. Projects must be capital in nature and have a significant and sustainable impact that enhances economic activity.  

Among the various projects that are eligible for grants are public parking facilities, curb and sidewalk construction, pedestrian walkways, street lighting, public restrooms, disabled accessibility, renovations to existing structures, and cultural facilities. The criteria for eligible projects include that the project must be a capital improvement project, funding request must be at least $10,000, the organization must partner with a municipality and be located on municipally-owned property in or adjacent to a downtown, and the project life-span must be at least 15 years.

In 2018, Suffolk County received 18 applications for the Round 16 grants and 11 projects were funded. A pool of $500,000 was made available to partially fund qualified capital projects. Since 1997, Suffolk County has awarded over $12 million in funds for Downtown Revitalization initiatives.

The Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel utilizes a point system to evaluate each application to ensure projects that receive funding will make the greatest contribution to the long-term improvement of local downtowns and have a positive economic impact on Suffolk County as a whole. The application and guidelines can be found here.  For more information on the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization initiative, visit

Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarship Applications Being Accepted

The Long Island Section of American Planning Association’s NY Metro Chapter is pleased to announce that they will be awarding up to three Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarships for attendance at the APA National Conference in April 2019.   
The scholarships will provide $1,500 to awardees for attendance at the APA National Planning Conference that is being held in San Francisco, California, April 13 thru April 16, 2019.    
Arthur H. Kunz was a Long Island planner who was committed to preserving and enhancing Suffolk County by balancing its growth and development with environmental protection and played an integral part in Suffolk County’s development for almost 30 years.  He worked for the Nassau County Planning Commission from 1958 to 1969.  In 1969, he became Assistant Planning Director for the Suffolk County Department of Planning and Director in 1989.  Arthur Kunz was a straightforward and highly regarded man whose planning knowledge, commitment to public service, and professionalism improved the quality of life in Suffolk County.  Since 1994, the Long Island Section has been awarding planning scholarships in his memory. 
Eligible applicants include Long Island based entry-level planners (five or less years out of college or five years or less in a professional planning position) and students from Long Island enrolled in a planning-related program (undergraduate or graduate studies).   
The $1,500 scholarship will cover the majority of expenses related to the conference registration, APA membership for one year for non-members (and non-students, as APA student membership is free), and some additional expenses.  Mr. Kunz spent most APA conferences attending as many mobile workshops as possible and believed in the value of seeing planning in action in other parts of the country.  Therefore, a portion of the scholarship is to be used to pay for participation in least one mobile workshop.  
If you are a new planner working on Long Island or a student of planning (or in a related field) and are from Long Island and wish to apply for a scholarship to attend the 2019 APA National Conference, please send a letter of interest and a copy of your resume (pdf format preferred) to LI Section Treasurer Kathy Eiseman at with a copy to Sean Sallie, Section Director, at  The letter of interest should include your interest in the planning field, goals for a career in planning on Long Island and what you hope to gain from attendance at the National Conference and participation in a mobile workshop.

Central Pine Barrens Commission Looking for Fire Management Specialist

The Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, through the Suffolk County Water Authority is currently accepting applications for a Fire Management Specialist. This position will encompass ecological management, planning and stewardship projects relating to prescribed fire within the Central Pine Barrens to foster biological diversity, natural resource conservation, ecosystem protection and restoration. Specifically, this position will be strongly focused on fire management plan development and implementation; pre and post management monitoring; and long term monitoring to improve forest and grassland health, resiliency to emerging species (such as southern pine beetle) and habitat for rare and endangered species. Individuals with experience in fire ecology; leading and/or supporting prescribed fires and prescribed fire planning, conducting habitat restorations, and ecological monitoring activities are encouraged to apply.

Individuals with a strong research background; experience in fire ecology; leading and/or supporting prescribed fires, conducting habitat restorations, and ecological  monitoring activities are encouraged to apply.   

Aapplications can be submitted through the Suffolk County Water Authority website Apply Here .

The mission of the Central Pine Barrens Commission is to manage land use within the Central Pine Barrens to protect vital ground and surface waters and region’s vast and significant natural, agricultural, historical, cultural, and recreational resources for current and future Long Island residents. Further information on the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission can be found by visiting our website:

Consider Bringing Your Valentine to a Long Island Downtown this Year

As you plan your Valentine’s Day, consider taking the one you care about to a restaurant or show in your local downtown. Long Island’s downtowns present a great opportunity to explore some of the best-rated zagat restaurants and causual easteris with all type of cuisine.

Tell us where you went with your Valentine at, and we’ll post the most popular locations on our Facebook!

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director

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

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to for consideration.

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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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