Smart Talk July 5th – 12th, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we hear about the proposed TOD zoning in downtown Westbury, check in with the community on progress at Nassau HUB, look in on mixed use renovations in Greenport, and more…

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July 5th – 12th, 2019


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“Everybody is trying to figure out how to keep their community healthy and sustainable for the future. From what we’ve seen, the transit-oriented development offers the best possible manner in communities that have train stations to spur economic development.” – Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro

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Village of Westbury Holds Meeting to Detail New TOD Zoning

Vision was out this past Thursday at the Village of Westbury to assist in informing local residents about the proposed TOD zoning in their downtown.  This meeting was one of the most comprehensive, organized, and collaborative public dialogues that Vision has had the pleasure of being a part of.

Over 120 folks made it out to hear about the new TOD zoning district. The Mayor set the tone with a strong background and many years of groundwork for this project. The consulting team of mostly local firms was on their game with a comprehensive presentation. The public was engaged, listened patiently in the hot auditorium but asked great questions ranging from traffic, security, sanitation, parking and walkability.

Dubbed the Maple Union Transit-Oriented Development Zone, the proposed zoning will give incentives to projects that increase available workforce-priced housing or have a preference for seniors and veterans.  If a project meets that criteria, it can increase building height up to five stories or 65 feet, with a larger density bonus. 

“Everybody is trying to figure out how to keep their community healthy and sustainable for the future,” said Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro. “From what we’ve seen, the transit-oriented development offers the best possible manner in communities that have train stations to spur economic development.”

One of the reasons this project has fared so well has been the hyperlocal focus and local groups that came out to support including: the Westbury Arts Council, Westbury BID, and local religious institutions such as the Islamic Center of LI and many local residents and business.  One of the speakers even had a petition to make one of the roadways named after Mayor Pete Cavallaro for his leadership in moving this project forward.  For the record, Mayor Cavallaro politely declined.

There are current existing buildings of the same height in the downtown, so this isn’t a big change for the code, but it will also streamline the process for applicants within that area.  They will be able to appear before the board of trustees for all necessary approvals, which should help to keep the total time for approval to 6 weeks or less.

The zoning is a product of funding that came from the NYS Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant, which awarded the village $10 million to enact changes in its downtown in a revitalization effort.  Since then Westbury has made a number of changes that were accelerated by the funding.  Efforts include a $3.5 million streetscape improvement program, renovations for the Community Center, acquisition of a building to serve as the new headquarters for Westbury Arts, intersection redesigns, and some other efforts.

The design team included BJH Advsiors, VHB Engineering, BHC Architects, GPI Engineers, Walsh Markus McDougal & DeBellis LLP, and Vision Long Island.

Kudos to the Mayor and the Village board for their leadership advancing this rezoning plan forward collaboratively and on schedule.

For more information you can read the EIS document here. You can read the Newsday story here. And you can read the prior LIBN story here.

Site Plan Approved for Mixed Use Renovations in Greenport

The Greenport Planning Board has approved a site plan for interior and exterior renovations of two properties located on 110 and 112 South Street.  The property is currently owned by developer James Olinkiewicz, who has converted propterties into affordable apartments in the area before. 

Mr. Olinkiewicz will both renovate the commercial spaces on the first floor and create affordable apartments on the second.  There will be 2 new apartments in each of the buildings.  The plan needed ZBA approval because it would be altering the walls of the building during construction.  Now that the developer has approval for the site plan they can apply for a building permit.

As part of the approval of the plan, two variances were granted to the property.  These will allow a porch to approach the sidewalk at 9 inches closer than the current setback, and allow for greater lot coverage.  The commercial spaces on the property are currently empty, which will allow for quick construction once a permit is issued.

This project could serve as a blueprint for other neighborhoods across the island to bring a little bit of affordability to their area.

You can read more here.

Nassau HUB Coalition Talks Next Steps

Vision Board and staff were out in Uniondale last week with nearly 150 community leaders supporting an informational meeting on the Nassau HUB. The purpose of the session was to ensure that local civics and chambers are part of the planning process with the County, Town, and development team.

The “Nassau HUB: Next Steps Coalition” meetings are for local civic, chamber and community leaders from the surrounding communities of East Meadow, Uniondale, Hempstead, Westbury, and Garden City.  The first meeting in January focused on Nassau County’s and the Town of Hempstead’s planning processes for the project. There were also had 150 community leaders out which led the way for strong involvement in local outreach, planning, and community benefits.

This meeting focused on a presentation and update from the RXR development team members David Garten and Rebecca D’Eloia, with their vision for the site based on community input, market realities and conforming to the Town of Hempstead’s zoning. The proposed vision includes a plaza space, restaurants, hotels, office space and 500 units of housing largely targeted to the needs of millennials.

They have done 15 outreach meetings to local communities and have received very positive feedback and constructive input. They are also closely following their agreement with Nassau County for proposed community benefits. A formal plan has not been submitted to the Town so the developers are truly listening.

A robust hour of Q&A followed with questions largely from Uniondale and Hempstead with a few sprinkled in from Westbury and East Meadow. Questions included the identity of the project tied to Uniondale, the coordination with the Hempstead HUB, the need for affordable housing, jobs for local residents, concerns over gentrification, traffic, public safety, assistance to local business, local tax impacts, bus service, and rail access among others. There were also questions related to the viability of the proposed micro-apartments.

It was great to see Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Nassau Legislator Laura Schaefer, and representatives from the offices of County Executive Laura Curran, Nassau Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, Town of Hempstead Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby and NYS Assemblyman John Mikulin.

Special thanks to RXR Realty, Nassau County, Town of Hempstead, East Meadow Chamber of Commerce, Village of Westbury, Hempstead Chamber of Commerce, Salvation Army Nassau County, Uniondale Chamber of Commerce, Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition, Uniondale Community Land Trust, Garden City Chamber of Commerce, Community Association of Stewart Ave, Council of East Meadow Community Organizations, Hempstead Coalition of Civic Associations & Vision Long Island for assistance in planning this informational meeting.

Special thanks to our hosts at the Uniondale Fire District & Uniondale Fire Department and to Major Foster and the JROTC for the presentation of colors.

The event would not have been possible without Paul Gibson from the Uniondale Community Land Trust, Jeannine Maynard from GUAAC, East Meadow and Nassau Chamber’s Frank Camarano, Hempstead Chamber’s Dennis Jones Hempstead Civic’s Barbara Ealy-Borum, Charles Roberts from the Salvation Army in Hempstead, Mariano Ugaldo from the Uniondale Chamber, Shelley Brazley from Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby’s office, Joseph Parisi from CEMCO and former Nassau Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves among others.

Take Action: Help Stop Moratorium on New Heating and Gas Services that impact downtown revitalization efforts!

The Vision Long Island Board and community partners including local civic organizations, chambers of commerce and municipal officials have written letters and provided testimony in support of this project.  A moratorium on natural gas service is in place and of chief concern are the impacts on new downtown small businesses, transit oriented development housing on Main Streets and affordable housing development.   Many of these projects are years in the planning stage and additional delays hurt the small business community and the economics of local communities that were anticipating needed revitalization.

If you have not done so already please take action by SATURDAY, JULY 13th to show your support for this important infrastructure project!

As a result of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) recent decision to deny “without prejudice” a water permit for Williams’ Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project, National Grid has stopped processing all applications for new or expanded gas service in Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island.

National Grid will continue to receive applications for new and expanded firm natural gas service from residential, commercial and industrial customers, but none will be processed until the permits are received and the project is allowed to proceed. In other words, NESE is needed to access the natural gas supplies needed to support new requests by commercial, industrial and residential consumers to heat their homes or run their businesses.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has extended the review and comment period on the NESE application through July 13, 2019. Please go directly to the TAKE ACTION site to voice your support for this critical energy project.  It only takes a few clicks to automatically send a form letter of support directly to Gov. Cuomo, the NY DEC and federal, state and local elected officials within your zip code.

In addition to securing the necessary permit from the DEC, there are other permits and approvals required, including environmental permits from New Jersey, and a final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which then allow the construction of William’s NESE project to commence.

For more guidance on how your specific project or plans might be impacted, please contact your customer connections specialist for Long Island at the following emails:

Long Island Residential –
Commercial Nassau/Rockaways –
Commercial Suffolk –

NYMTC Now Accepting Feedback on Draft Transportation Improvement Program

NYMTC has prepared a draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for federal fiscal years (FFYs) 2020-2024 and a related draft Transportation Conformity Determination under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. A thirty-day public comment period for the draft TIP and Conformity Determination will begin on Monday, June 24, 2019 and end at 4 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019.

The draft FFYs 2020-2424 TIP lists the federally-funded transportation improvement projects proposed for the NYMTC planning area over the TIP period. These improvements cover various transportation modes and facilities, including roadways and bridges, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, transit equipment and services, safety improvements and demand management programs.

The draft Transportation Conformity Determination includes a regional emissions analysis for mobile sources as required by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. A Conformity Determination must accompany the new TIP to demonstrate how forecasted mobile source emissions levels conform to emissions milestones established by the New York State Implementation Plan for Air Quality.

The draft documents, along with background information on development process for each and links to maps showing the locations of projects for the proposed TIP, will be available for viewing and download at https:\\ at the start of the comment period. To request a hard copy of the draft TIP and/or Conformity Determination, send an email or call 212.383.7200.

During the comment period a Public Review Meetings will be held at 3PM and 6:30PM on Long Island at the Perry B. Duryea State Office Building, located at 250 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge.  Yhe meeting’s purpose will be to gather public commentary. Remote participation for each meeting will also be possible through webinars (see links below).  You can register for the webinar here and RSVP for in-person attendance at a meeting for 3PM here and 6:30PM here.

Comments may be made in-person at a meeting or via the webinar which accompanies the meeting. Written comments can be submitted at any time during the comment period by mail, fax and e-mail to: 

New York Metropolitan Transportation Council
Attn: TIP/Conformity Public Comment Period
25 Beaver Street, Suite 201
New York, NY 10004
Fax:  212-383-7244

Wyandanch Saturdays at Delano Stewart Plaza Kicks off July 13th

Do not miss opening day for Summer Saturdays at Delano Stewart Plaza on July 13th!

Beginning tomorrow and running each Saturday until August 31st, the Wyandanch Plaza Association will be hosting a day long event that features free activities including yoga, zumba, dancing, walking, storytime, lunch for children 18 years and younger, arts & crafts, a farmers market (not free), and movie nights.

These events are sponsored and supported by Wyandanch Plaza Association, Island Harvest, The Albanese Organization, Fidelis Care, Town of Babylon, Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, New York Community Bank, Castagna Realty, and Healthy Schools LI

You can view a flyer with times and more details here.

Coltrane Day Coming to Downtown Huntington on July 20th

The fifth annual Coltrane Day on July 20 will celebrate music ranging from jazz to rap to electronic music and beyond.

A salute to the late jazz legend John Coltrane, the free family-oriented 10-hour festival is packed with workshops, performances, artistic and environmental exhibits, food and raffles.

A full lineup of workshops will teach musical skills to people of all skill levels, and includes Family Improv, led by Napoleon Revels-Bey & Premik Russell Tubbs; Brazilian drum, facilitated by Steve Finkelstein; Songwriting, by Patricia Shih; Community Jam, and more.

The festival is scheduled from noon to 10 p.m. at Heckscher Park in Huntington Village; some workshops will be conducted it the Old First Presbyterian Church or Cinema Arts Centre.

Kudos to Ron Stein for carrying the mantel of this event and the Coltrane Home’s work. Check out the story in Huntington Now.

DOS Releases RFA for Community Training Programs

The Department of State (DOS) has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) under the NY Community Greenworks initiative for not-for-profit community-based organizations engaged in community redevelopment, workforce development, and/or community revitalization. 

NY Community Greenworks will train several community organizations in effective community engagement, green-tech jobs, project development, green building/infrastructure, community revitalization and government funding strategies, ultimately resulting in a signature revitalization project in each community. 

This train-the-trainer approach provides mentoring and technical assistance among peers who are facing very similar challenges and circumstances—such as blight, vacancy, disinvestment, and disproportionate environmental degradation.   

DOS has contracted with PUSH Buffalo (People United for Sustainable Housing) to provide training for up to six community-based organizations (“Green Leaders”) that are interested in learning, adapting and applying PUSH’s innovative approach to community engagement and community development in their own communities. 

More specifically, Green Leaders will learn how to redevelop disadvantaged neighborhoods and transform them into energy-efficient, sustainable, equitable communities, with improved living conditions and a pathway for community members to secure employment in the green technology sector.  The training will produce a plan for a signature revitalization project in each community.

The RFA is available at the DOS website here and the State Contract Reporter here.

NYS DEC Providing Funding for Environmental Justice Grants

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) will provide state assistance funding through the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant program to community-based organizations for projects that address exposure of communities to multiple environmental harms and risks (“projects”).

Approximately $4,375,929 is available. Applicants may be awarded up to $100,000 each until funding has been exhausted.

All projects must have defined objectives, tasks, and deliverables accounted for in performance measures that can be completed and invoiced within a 36-month contract period/term. Applicants should not begin their projects or incur costs until a Master Contract for Grants (MCG) has been fully approved by DEC, and if applicable approved by the Attorney General and the State Comptroller.  Applicants should not submit an application if they do not anticipate their project can be completed within the specified contract term.

Applicants may submit up to three applications, however, only one application per applicant may be funded. Multiple applications may not be for the same project or projection location.

Projects must serve an EJ community, as defined in DEC Commissioner Policy 29, Environmental Justice and Permitting (available on DEC’s website at:

To apply for this opportunity and for more information surrounding this grant, please go here.

Round IX open for Regional Economic Development Council Competition

Announcing funding for Round IX of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, officially kicking off the 2019 competition for more than $750 million in state economic development resources. The Consolidated Funding Application is now open, enabling businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public to begin applying for assistance from dozens of state programs, through a single application, for job-creation and community development projects.

The Regional Councils will compete in 2019 for up to $150 million in capital funds and $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits for projects identified by the Regional Councils as priorities in their regions. All ten regions will be competing this year for designation as a Top Performer. Five top performing regions will be awarded a share of $100 million in ESD Capital grants. The remaining five regions will be awarded a share of $50 million in ESD Capital grants. Each region will also be awarded a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.

In addition, each region will once again receive $10 million to implement projects identified through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and projects from all 10 regions submitted through the CFA will be eligible for over $525 million in other state agency funds.

The 2019 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources will be accessible at deadline for applications is Friday, July 26 at 4 p.m. For applicants, the CFA is available at

Oyster Bay Icon to Receive Face Lift

An old landmark in downtown Oyster Bay is about to get a restoration in efforts to gain a status as the jewel of the downtown.

Tim Lee, a Cold Spring Harbor builder, is one of the new owners of Snouder’s Corner Drug Store, which he purchased with two partners, Claudia Taglich, of Oyster Bay, and Lenore Mahoney, of Sag Harbor. They sealed the deal on April 30. Lee, the president and owner of TML Builders and Lee Land Development, said he will maintain the original building, which the former owner, Hamid Nazif, said he did not want to do.

Plans are now underway to restore this mainstay of the downtown to how it looked in the 1920’s.  The new owners are currently cleaning out the abandoned building in preparation of the project.

You can read more about this cool little bit of downtown history here.

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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