Smart Talk January 18th – 24th, 2020

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we cover the most recent meeting of Long Island Main Street Alliance, celebrate passage of the Grand Ave Overlay District in Baldwin, and more…

 

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January 18th – 24th, 2020


COMMUNITY UPDATES

Zyscovich Architects

For nearly forty years, Zyscovich Architects has strived to create projects with purpose, bringing new life and vibrancy to cityscapes through integrated urban planning, architecture and interior design. To this day, Zyscovich Architects has remained true to the original concept: design projects that have purpose and meaning. Since the firm’s inception in 1977, the goal has always been to establish a company that can provide high-value services for design-specific issues while placing “social betterment” at the core of everything they do. 

Zyscovich Architects has designed the full spectrum of projects, from transportation facilities and airports to K-12 schools and universities, mixed-use commercial and public-private partnership developments to multi-family residential high rises and master plans for cities. 

“It used to be that 16% of 20-somethings on Long Island lived at home, about the national average.  Today that number is at 44%.  There’s a whole sort of deal that people make with the idea of living here and, as we all know, in a variety of ways that deal is under some economic threat.  And as with everything … it needs updating and it needs modernization.” – Hon. Jack Schnirman, Nassau County Comptroller
“When it comes to downtown areas, you need to be involved in your community, you need to be involved in the chambers of commerce, you need to be sitting at the table, you need to be a part of those community benefit programs, to make sure that your voices are heard and that you are a part of that process.” – Lionel Chitty, Executive Director of the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs
“NYC set a goal to certify 9,000 MWBE (Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises) companies, and they did it in record time, two years ahead of schedule.  Unfortunately, only about 600 of those are actually procuring from NYC right now.  This is due to issues like bonding, issues like insurance.  Those are the issues that many times these small businesses have no experience or no record in.  This is one of the issues we need to address going forward.” – Luis Montes, McBride Consulting, VP – CIO & Political & Communications Strategist
“We’re dedicated with the transition team to come in and really change the image of what people have in regards to their relationship with the Long Island Railroad.” – Vanessa Lockel, MTA-Long Island Railroad Director of Government and Community Affairs
“One of the things that is important for our region, for business, for communities, for quality of life, is that everybody respects everybody else.  We understand that it’s not just about tolerance but growing our diversity in a way that helps us all rise together.” – Hon. Jon Kaiman, Suffolk County Deputy Exectuive

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Long Island Chambers and Civics Unite to Support Local Downtowns

Well over 125 Chamber of commerce and civic leaders joined to support downtown revitalization and small business development at the first LI Main Street Alliance meeting of the year yesterday in Farmingdale.

Over 20 Main Street business districts were represented including a dozen downtowns reporting from Baldwin, Farmingdale, Hicksville, Roslyn, Westbury, Lindenhurst, Kings Park, Huntington Station, Bayshore, Port Jefferson, N. Bellport, Amityville and Central Islip.   The case examples all referenced the importance of local planning and partnerships between civic and chamber of commerce leaders as instrumental to getting their projects approved. 

New and existing downtown initiatives underway with representatives in attendance also included, Bethpage, Hempstead, Huntington, Patchogue, Ronkonkoma, Long Beach, Island Park, Northport and Greenlawn. 

The impact of Bail Reform was a key issue with over 2/3 of attendees seeking changes or a repeal to the current law when questioned.   Local action to date has been taken with press events in Central Islip and events with Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.     The Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers reported this issue being a top priority on their agenda at their December meeting.   The LI Main Street Alliance will further poll their members and take a position on this important public safety issue in the coming weeks.

Vanessa Lockel from the MTA/LIRR previewed local station and infrastructure improvements in the recently approved $51 billion capital plan.  “We’re dedicated with the transition team to come in and really change the image of what people have in regards to their relationship with the Long Island Railroad,” said Ms. Lockel. She also discussed procurement opportunities for local small businesses.   She made herself and her team very accessible to meet with local community organizations in their planning process for upcoming train station area improvements.

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman reported 44% of millennials living at home in comparison of 18% in prior decades.   He pledged to work with the Main Street Alliance attendees from local communities to input more local information for the menu of reports on Nassau County finances and economic indicators his office is producing in the coming year. 

“It used to be that 16% of 20-somethings on Long Island lived at home, about the national average,” said Mr. Schnirman.  “Today that number is at 44%.  There’s a whole sort of deal that people make with the idea of living here and, as we all know, in a variety of ways that deal is under some economic threat.  And as with everything … it needs updating and it needs modernization.”

Suffolk Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman spoke about procurement opportunities for small business as the County spends $1 billion annually on goods and services that should go local.  He also covered the past and present investment in wastewater treatment to better Suffolk County downtowns and residential communities.

“One of the things that is important for our region, for business, for communities, for quality of life, is that everybody respects everybody else,” said Mr. Kaiman.  “We understand that it’s not just about tolerance but growing our diversity in a way that helps us all rise together.”

Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs Director Lionel Chitty and Luis Montes from McBride Consulting discussed strategies to build on the small business diversity in local downtowns and job development.  “When it comes to downtown areas,” said Mr. Chitty, “you need to be involved in your community, you need to be involved in the chambers of commerce, you need to be sitting at the table, you need to be a part of those community benefit programs, to make sure that your voices are heard and that you are a part of that process.”

The goal is for minority and women owned business to take advantage of local economic opportunities as revitalization efforts take shape.  Mr. Montas noted that “NYC set a goal to certify 9,000 MWBE (Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises) companies, and they did it in record time, two years ahead of schedule.  Unfortunately, only about 600 of those are actually procuring from NYC right now.  This is due to issues like bonding, issues like insurance.  Those are the issues that many times these small businesses have no experience or no record in.  This is one of the issues we need to address going forward.”

The concern of gentrification was raised and displacement was also raised from the audience with a project in N. Amityville removing affordable trailer parks for luxury apartments as an example.

Attendees are reviewing the recently proposed NYS Budget and pleased with the prospect of a Small Business Tax cut, increased funding for affordable housing, transportation assistance and the prospect of an environmental bond assuming Long Island receives its fair share of these resources.   Members of the Main Street Alliance are preparing to join the LI Lobby Coalition for the annual LI Lobby Day in Albany in February.

The Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers and Vision Long Island co-sponsored the meetings and provided updates on their respective work along with the LI Hispanic Chamber and Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce.   All attendees pledged to work together collaboratively in the coming year to combat increased polarization on the national and regional level to better their members and local communities.

You can read more about this meeting in Long Island Business News here.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrated Across Long Island

Vision Long Island joined with many folks at a number of events this past Monday, who enjoyed a great day celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In Nassau County, over 300 made it out for the 35th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Lunch.  The event had a number of honorees that included Antioch Baptist Church’s Bishop Philip Elliott, Choice for All’s Jacob Dixon, Rabbi Judy Cohen Rosenberg and Dr. Brian Leander.

The elected and appointed officials in attendance at the Scholarship Lunch included NYS Senators Todd Kaminsky and Kevin Thomas, and Assemblywoman Judy Griffin.  Local officials included Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Nassau Comptroller Jack Schnirman, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Nassau Legislator Arnie Drucker, Village of Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan, Village of Westbury Trustee William Wise, and Nassau County Director of Minority Affairs Lionel Chitty.

Kudos to Dr. Rodney McRae, Rev. Regina Williams, and the many others who pulled this event together.

Meanwhile, in Suffolk County, the 35th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast hosted by The First Baptist Church of Riverhead had over 600 people present.  Honorees at this event included Suffolk County PD’s Risco Mention-Lewis and SCOPE CEO George Duffy, among others.

The keynote speaker in Suffolk County was Dr. Oberg Hendricks from Columbia University, who had a robust presentation on inequality and the need for stepped up activism while also speaking about a revolutionary vs a reform movement.

“Spirituality is not what you feel – but what you do!” said Dr. Hendricks.  He also quoted Dr. King by stating that “God intends for all his children to have the necessities in life.”

Some of the elected officials in attendance included Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Comptroller John Kennedy, Suffolk County Presiding Officer Rob Calarco, Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguair.

Kudos to Rev. Charles Coverdale and Rev. Cynthia Liggon for pulling together a great, inspiring event.

Finally, in the Town of Huntington Dr. Richard Koubek from the Huntington Housing Coalition helped organize a prayer service titled “Righteous Anger: How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Used Love to Confront Justice.” Tracey Edwards, LI Director for the NAACP, was the keynote speaker.  She stated that “Fighting injustice is hard work and we need to have more courage.  We need to stand up much more than what we are doing today.”

The two-hour gathering attracted over 250 people and included Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Unitarian Universalist readings.

You can read more about the interfaith gathering for Abraham’s Table here. Congratulations to all involved in this wonderful event as well.

Huntington Township Housing Coalition Releases Report on Need for More Rentals

A report was recently released by the Huntington Township Housing Coalition that documents the need for affordable housing opportunities in Huntington.

Titled “Huntington Housing Horizons 2030: Documenting the need for affordable Housing in Huntington,” The report highlights the Town’s Master Plan, Horizon’s 2020, that was shaped by local community input nearly well over 15 years ago.  The plan identified the need for 2800 units of affordable housing.  However, to date, only 500 units have been approved. Clearly more needs to be done working with local civics and chambers in partnership with the Town.

Proposed actions in the report include boosting the supply of affordable housing by making accessory apartment laws less restrictive, enacting a plan by Melville Employment Center to allow for more mixed-use buildings with affordable apartments, and ending exemptions from a 2017 law requiring new developments to have a 20% affordable component.

The report also noted that the rising cost of housing has become a real issue in the town.  There has been a drop of almost 50% in of Long Islanders between the age of 25- to 34- years who own a home or are married to someone who does.  While a younger generation would prefer to rent, the rise of rental prices and scarcity of rental housing has made even that option much more difficult than it once was.

“Other types of housing, known as ‘Missing Middle Housing’,” said Vision Long Island’s Elissa Kyle, “such as duplexes and triplexes, courtyard apartments, bungalow courts and townhouses, would also be a way to increase the housing supply. They are ideal for transition zones between commercial districts and single-family homes, the smaller scale makes good design easier to achieve, and they can be constructed on smaller lots.”

There was also emphasis on the fact that the Town of Huntington’s rental stock lags way behind the rest of the region.  Huntington has just 15.5% of available housing as rental while the US average is somewhere around 35%.

“We want the town to take some responsibility for making something happen,” said Roger Weaving, president of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition. “Setting the zoning and hoping some affordable housing will appear is not going to work. You have to be more proactive.”

The report will be the basis of an ongoing information campaign and series of public discussions aimed at raising awareness of the issue within the Town of Huntington.

You can read more at Long Island Business News here and you can read the report itself here.

NYMTC’s Annual Listing of Obligated Transportation Projects Now Available

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s (NYMTC) Annual Listing of Obligated Projects for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2019 is now available on NYMTC’s website.

The Annual Listing of Obligated Transportation Improvement Projects for FFY 2019 fulfills NYMTC’s obligation under 49 CFR Part 450.332 for the fiscal year which ended on September 30, 2019. Federal planning regulations require that NYMTC publish a listing of obligated projects each federal fiscal year. Once a project phase of work has been programmed on the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), it can be authorized for federal reimbursement. The authorization of a project phase of work is a formal commitment or obligation by the federal transportation administrator to reimburse the cost of that phase of the project. The listing reflects the obligations made during FFY 2019 versus the proposed obligations programmed on the NYMTC TIP and scheduled to be authorized during FFY 2019.

You can view NYMTC’s website here. View the interactive map here. And view the listing document here.

Question or comments about the Annual Listing of Obligated Projects may be sent to:
New York Metropolitan Transportation Council
Angelina Foster
25 Beaver St, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10004
NYMTC-Web@dot.ny.gov

Town of Hempstead Approves Grand Ave Overlay District in Baldwin

The Town of Hempstead took a big step forward this week by approving the Grand Ave Overlay Zoning District for the hamlet of Baldwin.

This new code will allow mixed use development, help small business, make the area more walkable, and provide public benefits with new redevelopment proposals.

A big thank you to Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, and the rest of the Board members who voted for it.

Credit should also be given to former Councilwoman Erin King-Sweeney, who pushed through the plan, and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who encouraged the zoning as well.  The bulk of the planning work was done during the tenure of former Town Supervisor Laura Gillen as well.

This zoning plan helped lead to the awarding of $10 million from the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which was shepherded along with leadership from NYS Assemblywoman Judy Griffin and NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky.  The planning team working on the new code included VHB along with Vision Long Island.  Special thanks to the Hempstead Town staff Rich Regina, Rebecca Sinclair, Shelley Brazley, and Alex Vasullo.

But even with the help of elected officials, no plan moves forward in any community without the support of local civics and chambers of commerce.  In Baldwin, the Civic Association led by Karen Montalbano, Darien Ward, and the local Chamber of Commerce led by Erik Mahler, were key in coming to a consensus after multiple public meetings with hundreds of residents.

The code will be tweaked a bit to reflect some density controls.  It’s also worth noting that there will be pressure on the Town to do just large scale projects, but the bulk of downtown redevelopments are small and medium scale.  No matter what comes forward the success of this plan has been due to local folks coming together.  Vision hopefully that that process will continue going forward.

You can read more at Newsday.

Village of Rockville Centre Community moves forward with Projects Underway

The Village of Rockville Centre has been moving forward on a steady pace in the last couple of years as a number of big projects underway, as profiled in a recent Newsday article.

Winner of the 2018 Vision Long Island Smart Growth Award for “Creating a Sense of Place,” the Village has been working for years to create a more livable space for its residents.  “The award was was received because the village approved a variety of downtown housing projects,” said Vision Director Eric Alexander. “Having 100 active restaurants, investing in parks and the infrastructure, and for being well managed with hands-on governance.”

Some projects currently underway include the renovation of four water towers that will help with water cleanliness, a new iron filtration plant, and a renovation of a raw sewage pump station.  This is in addition to ongoing downtown streetscape projects which include burying power lines, installing new lighting and decorative poles, and new cement and brick sidewalks.  There is also an aggressive road replacement program currently going on in the local residential sections of the Village.

The result has been a village that is attracting more tourism and residents as it works to become a model transit-oriented village.  Check out the article at Newsday, which expands a little more on what’s going on in Rockville Centre.

Long Island Complete Streets Summit to be Held on April 1st

The Annual Complete Streets Summit will be held this coming April 1st at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale.  The event will take place from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

This year’s theme will be Health Benefits of Complete Streets and will include discussions on active transportation, incorporating physical activity into regular daily tasks, and more.

Early registration is open and can be completed here.  More information will be coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Former Assemblyman Donates New Clock to Long Beach LIRR Station

Former NYS Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg has donated a new clock to the Long Island LIRR Station in order to replace one that has been broken for years.

The former state official was the one to dedicate the original clock as a police memorial himself 16 years ago.  A former police officer himself, Weisienberg donated $25,000 to the City last month specifically for replacing the clock.

“Before I die, I’m going to make sure we have a police memorial,” he said. “I care about these people and if nobody else cares, that’s their problem. It’s part of my life.”

Check out the full article on Mr. Weisenberg’s efforts to replace the clock here.

Smart Talk

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications 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 info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

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Vision Long Island
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Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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