Smart Talk January 25th – 31st, 2020

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we attend a meeting in Lindenhurst to review recommendations for their Master Plan, check in on on updates for Westbury’s DRI progress, attend a DRI meeting in Baldwin, and more…

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January 25th – 31st, 2020


Trinity Solar

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“We want the seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible. But the population in Nassau County is becoming very old, and in many cases very frail…. In some cases they’re outliving their retirement funds.” – Jorge Martinez, deputy commissioner of Nassau County’s Office for the Aging

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Lindenhurst Presents Master Plan Recommendations for Resident Review

Vision was out in the Village of Lindenhurst to join with nearly 150 residents and business owners reviewing the recommendations in their Downtown Master Plan.

Mayor Mike Lavorata and Trustee RJ Renna were on hand to outline the process for the study.  Consultants from GPI who prepared the plan included Frank Wefering, Ankita Rathi and Frank Pearson reviewed the results of the outreach effort. Over 1100 residents were surveyed with a focus on diversity/development, accessibility/connections, infrastructure and branding.  The final plan is expected to be reveled next month.

Questions that were raised by residents included parking, securing the right mix of retail, creating public spaces and key crosswalks and pedestrian safety features among others.

Suffolk Legislator Kevin McCaffrey was present alongside representatives of the Lindenhurst Chamber and many community organizations. 

Congratulations to the Village, the consultant team and all of the members of the community who participated in this really productive session.

You can read more about this meeting in Newsday.

Westbury Releases Video Updating DRI/TOD Progress

The Village of Westbury has released a video updating residents on progress of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Grant received several years ago.

The video gives a brief overview on what improvements have already been made for the village thanks to the infusion of money from NYS.  Previously announced or completed projects include the creation of a pedestrian plaza through Post and Union Ave intersections; implementation of streetscape improvements aimed at creating a more pedestrian-friendly downtown; rezoning of the Village to promote transit-oriented development; creation of a fund for grants or loans for small business improvements; purchase and development of open space adjacent to the LIRR station; purchase and renovation of a permanent home for Westbury Arts; upgrades to the recreation & community center.

The video also updates viewers on the newly passed rezoning changes for the downtown.  On December 15th, 2019, Westbury passed sweeping changes to its zoning code that will allow for more transit-oriented development (TOD) in the Maple/Union Triangle area surrounding the LIRR station.  Work has already begun to that effect, including a new parking garage on the north side of the station, which is slated to open in October of this year.  There has already been significant progress made on the LIRR expansion project as well, all of which is discussed in the video.

You can view the full progress video for the Village of Westbury here.

Baldwin Civic Groups Hold Meetings on DRI Grant

Vision was out in Baldwin this past week at the most recent meeting of the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

About 50 Baldwin residents and business owners were present at the meeting to hear from the State’s consultants, who presented some of the proposals for funding that have been generated so far.  The NYS DRI process sets up a committee to review proposals for the $10 million that was previously awarded by the state in August.

Proposals to date included a facade improvement program, projects tied to the library and historic preservation, plaza space, resources for pedestrian safety, support for TOD projects, beautification, trees, promotion and branding among others.

The first half of the meeting was subdued because of rules limiting interaction. However, the second half of the meeting had a robust set of questions from community members about the process and prioritization of the various projects.  Thankfully, the community has been unified in the preparation and approval of the Town’s zoning plan on Grand Ave.  In the DRI process there has been some differing opinions on the trajectory of funding which is typical of this grant program.

It was great to hear community members speak up and make the process stronger and more accountable.  The heavy involvement of both the civic and the chamber in the deliberations have also been welcome.

Stay tuned for further updates with the next step being the proposed projects getting ranked.

Baldwin Residents Upset Over ZBA Decision to Allow Auto Storage Near LIRR Station

In spite of years of complaints, the Hempstead ZBA has granted a continuance of a variance to allow a vacant lot near the LIRR station to be used for auto storage.

For over 10 years the lot, located at the corner of Sunrise Highway and Grand Ave, has drawn complaints from local residents who say that it is not well maintained and is an eyesore.  Residents also pointed out that the lot is well within the boundaries of a state-assisted downtown redevelopment process currently underway.  To that effect, residents appeared at a recent Town Board meeting to argue in favor of rejecting the variance that allows the lot to persist.

However, the ZBA instead made the decision to continue granting a special exception so long as the owner, JS Sunrise Realty, provides new fencing and repairs or replaces the uneven sidewalk around the lot.  They have 30 to 60 days to comply once the paperwork is submitted to the Town Clerk’s office.

“The community has been putting up with this and presented a very good case with facts, with pictures,” said local resident Linda Degen, “so I want an explanation from them how that could possibly happen and why they awarded this very bad behavior.”

The owner was awarded the variance two years ago on the condition that the lot be paved, drainage and lighting installed, and hiring of a service to maintain the property.  Only two of those conditions were met, which has led to confusion by local residents as to why the continuation of the variance was allowed.  Residents have also complained that large trucks traveling to the lot frequently block traffic.

“Me and my neighbors are very frustrated that the town is not holding a corporation to the same standard that they would hold a private homeowner,” said Civic Association Vice President Steve Greenfield, “that is to maintain their sidewalks, to maintain their fences and not create an ugly presence in the midst of our downtown.”

You can read more at the Long Island Herald.

Sea Cliff Plans to Begin Sewer Project in March

In a move that’s been years in the making, the Village of Sea Cliff will begin connecting downtown businesses to sewers this upcoming March.

The project has been pushed since 2009, but only recently became possible thanks to $4 million in bonds received from Nassau County and $3 million in state grants.  This was added to funding previously secured six years ago, which has finally added up to enough to allow the Village to move forward. 

Now that designs are complete, Sea Cliff will put the project out to bid at the end of January and is looking to secure a qualified firm by mid-February.  Construction on a new gravity sewer line should break ground toward the end of March if everything goes according to plan.  Wastewater will then flow to Glen Cove’s sewage-treatment plant.

The new line will service businesses and homes located in downtown Sea Cliff, eliminating 160 cesspools in the area.  It is hoped that this will encourage local homeowners and businesses to invest in the area now that cesspool maintenance will no longer be a concern.

“I think it’s really going to attract people who want to come into Sea Cliff but don’t want to deal with the septic system, especially one that’s antiquated,” said Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton said. “I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t be an improvement for residents, potential businesses and the businesses that are there.”

You can read more at the Long Island Herald.

Long Island Seniors are Remodeling Homes in order to ‘Age in Place’

Long Island senior citizens are increasingly likely to modify their existing homes as opposed to moving out according to a recent Newsday report.

With the cost of housing on the rise it has become much more financially feasible to simply add amenities on to an existing home that allows a person to stay put.  Even so, the cost of renovation isn’t always cheap in and of itself, just more attractive when compared to the cost of moving into a complex or nursing home.  This can often include the installation of ramps, making a bathroom more accessible, or even a motorized stair lift.

“They’re calling it a silver tsunami,” said Jorge Martinez, deputy commissioner of Nassau County’s Office for the Aging. “We want the seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible. But the population in Nassau County is becoming very old, and in many cases very frail…. In some cases they’re outliving their retirement funds.”

The population nationwide has been growing older in recent years and Long Island is no different.  As the population ages, more and more people are looking to create a comfortable environment in their homes.  However, a number of those homes are older than the national average and represent obstacles to the desire to age in place.  This and the increasingly long waiting lists for some of the affordable housing options for senior represent a need for modifications.

While there has been a notable focus on keeping millennials on Long Island, it’s also important to look at the needs of senior citizens as well.  Smart growth tries to create full, rich communities that encompass all walks and ages of life.  It is increasingly important to encourage ways for seniors to age in place in the communities that they live in, sometimes for decades.

You can read more at Newsday.

NYS Provides $19 Million in Funding for Long Island Storm Resiliency Projects

New York State is passing out $19 million in funding for five Long Island projects aimed at raising storm resiliency in the region.  The projects are all scheduled to begin this spring.

The funds will be distributed from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction program.  This program was created in the wake of several hurricanes at the beginning of the 2010’s, including Sandy, and is aimed at helping to mitigate damage caused by intense storms.

A majority of the funds, $14.5 million, will go towards repairing and improving existing bulkheads in Long Beach.  Another $2.05 million will go towards the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County to help retrofit streetlights and install transfer switches on traffic signal poles, which will happen along evacuation routes.  The improvements will present the loss of lighting in case of a power outage.

Further funding will go towards Babylon to replace existing bulkheads and the planting of beach grass behind those bulkheads.  Bay Shore will receive funds to help pay for drainage improvements.  A little more than half a million will be used to improve the potable water and fire protection systems in Gilgo and West Gilgo.

You can read more at Long Island Business News.

Huntington Supervisor Lupinacci Releases Statement on State of the Town

In a statement released this past week, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci highlighted the State of the Town and how things look going into the new year.

The statement highlighted a number of accomplishments and goals for the Huntington.  In it he talked about the ongoing efforts for the revitalization of Huntington Station.  The Supervisor noted that the Town is working to improve sewer infrastructure south of the train station in an effort to pave the way for new development.  He also talked about a new spray park located at Manor Field Park and breaking ground at James D. Conte Community Center.

The statement also addressed efforts to improve parking in downtown Huntington Village, which has been a years-long concern.  Mr. Lupinacci talked about the acquisition of property on which to build a new 71-spot parking lot over the summer.  He also referenced a newly launched app to help smooth parking for residents as well as an increase in enforcement of parking laws in the village.  There was also brief mention that the Town will seek to determine whether a proposed parking structure is still feasible in the downtown.

Another important topic brought up was the Town’s efforts to increase affordable housing accessibility.  The statement noted that the Town has been working to create alternatives and ease regulations in an effort to increase affordable housing stock.  To that effect they have recently passed a new code for accessory apartments aimed at making it easier to create more affordable housing stock.

The State of the Town document went on to talk about a number of achievements, including the maintaining of AAA credit rating, improvements in the Harbormaster’s office, a streamlined research process for land-use professionals, better access to public meetings through online publishing, and much more.

You can read the full State of the Town document here.

NICE Bus Postpones Stop Eliminations to Gather Community Input

NICE Bus recently announced that will hit the pause button on the elimination of 20 bus stops in Elmont and Franklin Square after receiving a petition from Nassau Legislator Carrie Solages.

The plan, originally proposed in November, would consolidate stops along the N6 route in an effort to cut down on the length of commuter’s rides.  NICE CEO Jack Khzouz noted that this route has an abundance of stops, some of which are only 300 feet apart on Hempstead Turnpike.

NICE had originally set bus monitors along the route to determine which stops to eliminate, then posted fliers at the proposed locations.  However, residents began to call Legislator Solages, who asked them to sign a petition that he would later present the bus company.  He noted that the proposed cuts would come at the peak of inclement weather on Long Island and would greatly affect elderly residents, who have the most issues moving between stops.

“Senior citizens were calling me that they couldn’t walk two blocks to another stop,” said Legislator Solages. “There was not sufficient notice.”

In response, NICE bus has stated that they will re-evaluate the data and allow for more community input on which stops to consolidate.  They will announce their decision in the next couple of months.

You can read more at Long Island Business News.

North Hempstead Announces Applications Open for Homestead Senior Apartments

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, the Town Board and the North Hempstead Housing Authority have announced that the applications for The Homestead Senior Apartments are now open. Applications will be accepted until February 19th, 2020.

The Homestead Senior Apartments developed by Georgica Green Ventures are located in the former location of the Grand Street School. There will be 77 newly constructed units at 252 Grand Street, New Cassel. Amenities will include a community room, in-unit laundry and on-site parking.

All applications must meet the income, household size and age requirements listed on the application. The units will be available to those ages 62 and over.

For more information, call (631) 910-6200 or visit:

America’s First Shopping Mall Made into Affordable Housing

Originally opened in 1892, the Westminster Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island is considered America’s first indoor shopping mall.  But it will have a new purpose going forward as it is being turned into micro lofts that will offer a chance for residents to live inside a part of this country’s history.

After over 115 years, the original mall had fallen into disuse and was forced to close up shop in 2008.  However, instead of being torn down, developers decided to breathe new life into the building.

Keeping commercial space on the first floor, the upper floors of the Westminster were divided into 38 units ranging in size from 225 to 300 square feet.  The spaces are designed for young professionals looking to live in an urban environment with minimal amount of “stuff.”  The rent starts at $550 a month for the cozy living spaces, and there’s already a waiting list.

This presents a creative way to re-use commercial space that has fallen by the wayside in recent years.  It also goes a long way in preserving historic spaces in America’s urban places that would otherwise fall into disrepair.

You can read more at Country Living.

2020 Long Island Go Red For Women Luncheon to be held on February 27th

In 2004, Go Red For Women was born as a campaign to raise awareness among women about their great health threat – heart disease. Slowly, the campaign grew into a movement – one that not only brought together thousands of women annually but became the trusted, passionate, relevant force for change to eradicate heart disease and stroke all over the world. Go Red For Women provides a platform for women and their families to lead healthier lives, and drive collective action for community transformation.

It’s not just about wearing red; it’s not just about sharing heart health facts. It’s about: Providing women with opportunities to prioritize and take charge of their own health; Building communities that support and provide access to healthy choices; Demanding equal access to healthcare for all women and their families; Increasing women in STEM in upcoming generations.

This year’s event will take place at the Crest Hollow Country Club on February 27th.  You can purchase tickets and find more information online here.

Long Island Smart Growth Awards Nominations due February 28th

Vision Long Island is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Long Island Smart Growth Awards!

For almost two decades, Vision Long Island has been honoring the individuals and organizations that display
true Smart Growth leadership in advancing projects, policies, regulations and initiatives. Specific focus areas include mixed-use development, affordable housing, open space and historic preservation, environmental health and safety, traffic calming and pedestrian safety, transportation enhancements, clean energy, downtown revitalization, and community planning.

Award recipients stand out in their ability to demonstrate one or more of the following: Mix land uses; Take advantage of compact building design; Create housing choices for a range of household types, family sizes and incomes; Strengthen existing communities and achieve more balanced regional development; Encourage citizen and stakeholder participation in development decisions; Create walkable neighborhoods; Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place; Preserve open space, farmland, historic buildings and critical environmental areas; Provide a variety of transportation choices; Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective; Utilize clean energy and green building development.

If you would like to nominate someone or something who fills those criteria, please download and return a nomination form that you can find here.

LICH to hold Annual Vigil for the Homeless on March 17th

On March 17th, 2020, the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless will hold its Candlelight Vigil for the Homeless from 12 PM to 8 pm at Farmingdale State College.  Each year, LICH collects and distributes new winter coats, new/unused baby items, non-perishable food, cleaning supplies and toiletries to Long Island’s homeless and at-risk families. Last year, over 2,000 Long Islanders participated in this event. The participation of every person who cares will make a difference. Let us show that Long Islanders want to eradicate homelessness and hunger that exist in our affluent society. 

The Vigil brings together members of the community, folks who wish to raise awareness, and homeless/at risk Long Islanders and agencies who serve them.  In addition to information for persons in need, they will have FREE financial literacy sessions,  haircuts, face painting, story time, and other services available.  In addition, participants will enjoy the music from guest musicians, as well as presentations from local officials.  

An exciting feature of this event is that all items donated will be distributed at the end of the Vigil to those in need and agencies working with them. Refreshments will also be available at no cost to all participants (while supplies last).

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!

Buckley’s in Valley Stream Celebrates 10 Years as Music Venue

Local watering hole Buckley’s Restaurant and Pub in Valley Stream recently celebrated 10 years as a music venue since adding music acts to its menu.

Part of the local community for 50 years now, Buckley’s is quickly becoming a place where local acts can perform at an increasingly popular music venue.  The bar is located near the LIRR station and offers dining and drinks as well as show to its patrons.

The idea came about in 2009 when local resident and rock n’ roll singer Freddy Frogs passed away.  Music promoter and longtime employee Brian Donnelly asked owner Ed Buckley for permission to put on a musical memorial in honor of Frogs.  A stage was built for the show, which has since seen shows from across the country come to the local venue.

You can read more about the musical history of this downtown staple at the Long Island Herald.

Smart Talk

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 for consideration.

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Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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