Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we attend a Bus Rally to save proposed NICE bus route cuts, look in on redevelopment in Freeport, check out the update to affordable housing code in Huntington, and more…
Vision Long Island
March 12th – 18th, 2017
Renaissance Downtowns is a nationally-renowned and exclusive leader in large-scale unified community-driven downtown revitalization.
Their success in securing $12 billion in downtown development agreements among several communities is centered on a Unified Development Approach (UDA). The UDA is a collaborative, public-private partnership-driven framework that brings together disparate groups of a community to collectively transform their downtown into a vibrant destination, adhering to the triple bottom line of being economically, socially and environmentally beneficial.
“The sale and development of Plaza West will generate millions of dollars of income for Freeport, create jobs, generate thousands of dollars in recurring tax revenues, and expand the economic development of Sunrise Highway and the downtown area. Executing the contract of sale for Plaza West was a priority for this administration. Freeport continues to attract investors and we are eager to see this project begin with a completion date in two to three years.” – Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy on the sale of the Meadowbrook Bank Building
Bus Riders, Politicians, Advocates Rally to Halt Bus Cuts on N36, Other Routes
Vision was out this past weekend in support of the 11518 and local elected officials to call on Nassau County and NICE to restore the n36 along with the other recently proposed bus cuts across Nassau County, and to receive additional NYS support.
The n36 runs from Lynbrook, to East Rockaway, Oceanside, Baldwin and Freeport.
This was the third press event uniting support for local bus service. The LI Lobby Coalition will be up in Albany next week pushing to ensure that cuts are averted.
Last month, the Nassau County Bus Transit Committee approved 10 routes to be cut and 9 to be reduced due to a decrease in $6.8 million in funding from Nassau County. Although Able Ride will not be cut with these reductions, over 5,000 riders are expected to be affected if the cuts take place. NICE CEO Michael Setzer said in a statement, “we would not be implementing these service reductions if we were not forced to do so by the difficult economic realities the County faces. We know that these route reductions and service modifications impact your livelihood, access to jobs and school, and your mobility. We are extremely disappointed to have to impose these cuts in service.”
State Senator Kaminsky proposed the formation of a “county-state partnership” to properly fund NICE. “Too often, the common view of Long Island is that we are an affluent community where everyone has two cars and a white picket fence. That’s not really the case,” he said. “Whether you’re an elderly person or someone who doesn’t have a car, they need this bus route.” Legislator Laura Curran mentioned the need for the county to find a “local solution to a local problem,” saying that Nassau has several pots of money to pull from to stave off the cuts, including one-shots from unused funds, and utilizing a portion of a $55 public safety fee on traffic and parking tickets towards income for NICE.
Bi-partisan support included NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky; NYS Assemblyman Brian Curran; Nassau County Legislators Laura Curran, Denise Ford, and William Gaylor; Village of Lynbrook Mayor William Hendrick; Freeport Chamber of Commerce President Lois Howes; Friends of Freeport’s Shari Lynn Zimbler Wolf; LI Bus Riders Union’s Aaron Watkins Lopez; Friends of LI’s Jon Siebert and a dozen bus riders. Vision’s Director spoke as well.
Special thanks to the 11518’s Dan Caracciolo for his leadership putting this event together.
Freeport Property to be Sold for $60 Million Redevelopment
The Meadowbrook Bank Building in Freeport could be headed for a $60 million facelift.
Originally constructed by the First National Bank & Trust Company in 1929, the narrow, wedge-shaped building has been eyed for redevelopment several times the last few years. Located at the western end of a 4-acre village-owned site, the 17,400 square foot building was purchased by Freeport in 1991 as a prelude to the Freeport Plaza Urban Renewal Area plan. However, the plan stalled after being adopted the following year, and the building has sat abandoned and boarded up ever since.
Now the property is in the process of being sold to the DiNoto Group, a development company currently headed by Robert DiNoto and Paul Posillico. The group has pitched a preliminary $60 million plan to redevelop the site into 250 rental apartments with over 15,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Plans also call for a two-deck parking garage, courtyard, and pool area. The residences would be restricted to renters aged 55 and older.
“Mayor Kennedy has been very proactive in development and pursuing projects that bring tax revenue and jobs to the area,” said Mr. DiNoto.
The plan, which is located just south of the LIRR station, represents a step forward for Transit Oriented Development in the Village after 25 years of uncertainty. The project appears to have the backing of the village board as well as Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy.
“The sale and development of Plaza West will generate millions of dollars of income for Freeport, create jobs, generate thousands of dollars in recurring tax revenues, and expand the economic development of Sunrise Highway and the downtown area,” Kennedy said. “Executing the contract of sale for Plaza West was a priority for this administration. Freeport continues to attract investors and we are eager to see this project begin with a completion date in two to three years.”
“Great to see progress on a mixed use TOD project in the Village of Freeport,” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander. “The Village has been seeking to develop this property for over 25 years with prior developers from the old Plaza West proposal walking away from the project. Kudos to Mayor Robert Kennedy and the Village Board for moving this forward – finally.”
You can read more on this story here.
Town of Huntington Considers Updates to Affordable Housing Code
In a move aimed at increasing younger, first-time home buyers, the Huntington Town Board has suggested numerous changes to its Affordable Housing Code.
The proposed changes will require a developer to make at least one in five units built in mixed-use buildings to be affordable. If a developer does not make at least one in five units affordable, they will be required to pay into an existing Affordable Housing Trust and Agency Account aimed at helping first-time home buyers. The changes will also include a tightening of existing code to ensure affordable units are the equal of normal, market driven units.
Making affordable apartments equal to market price ones was a concern of Huntington Board member Tracey Edwards, who co-sponsored the changes with Board Member Susan Berland. “We want to make sure any affordable housing unit that is constructed is substantially the same as those are market rate,” Tracey said. “Now that language will be in the code.”
Changes will also include the addition of language mandated by the Long Island Workforce Housing Act. The language will empower the planning board to require at least 10% of units be affordable in development of five or more units when a density increase is requested. Developers will be able to put money into the Affordable Housing Trust instead. It will also be required that affordable housing residents must file disclosure statements to certify their unit is their primary residence.
Richard Koubek, vice president of the Huntington Township Housing coalition, Vision Board member, and co-author of the changes, stated that “This means in a hot rental place like downtown Huntington, where you have young people who want to stay there, want to live there, now they’ll have that opportunity to pick up an affordable rental, which you can’t find now.”
The Town Board is expected to schedule a public hearing in April to discuss the changes to the code.
You can read more on this story here.
RXR Presents Plans for Village Square Proposal in Glen Cove
RXR Realty has officially revealed their plan for the Village Square proposal in Glen Cove.
The plan calls for a mixed use, four to five story residential building wrapped around a central plaza to be located in downtown Glen Cove. The proposal features 146 apartments and more than 17,500 square feet of retail on the first floor. The plaza portion of the plan will be deeded to the city for uses such as concerts, holiday celebrations and other similar events. Aesthetics of the plan draw inspiration from European plazas according to New Jersey based lead architect David Minno.
The plan is aimed at young, childless millennials as well as empty-nesters who are eager to live in a pedestrian-friendly downtown environment. The proposal as well as nearby establishments would provide amenities such as restaurants, cafes and stores. The development would also be a short walk away from the Garvies Point development that recently broke ground, also owned by RXR. A lighted passageway to that development is planned as a connector for the two projects.
The plan will require several variances in order to be able to create that many units and stories for a downtown development. Parking would be located in an on-site garage and would also be leased from the city in nearby established surface lots and a parking garage. RXR currently owns a majority of the proposed 2.8 acre property, but is still attempting to reach an agreement to buy a parcel from All Island Real Estate Holdings.
Originally called the Glen Cove Piazza, RXR recently purchased the property and took over the project from Jobco. The project is a past Smart Growth Awards winner, and originally broke ground in 2014.
Inn and Restaurant Planned for Main Street in Northport
In a recent public meeting with the Northport Village Trustees, John W. Engeman Theater owners Kevin O’Neill and Richard Dolce revealed plans to create an inn and restaurant on Main Street in the village.
The plans propose a take over of 225 Main Street, across the street from the theater, which is currently used for office space. Previously the home of Danyell’s Kitchen, the building is set into the hill at its back and has half a Dutch Colonial home at its top.
The rendering shown at the meeting depicts a three-story building inspired by The American Hotel in Sag Harbor. Tentatively named the Northport Inn, the building would total around 20,000 square feet, with the first floor hosting a restaurant. The upper floors would mix rooms for rent along with managerial offices.
The village is currently weighing adjustments to current commercial codes to allow for inns and hotels. They will review the potential code changes at a public hearing on March 21st.
You can read more on this story here.
Trump Administration’s First Budget Proposes Eliminating Federal Community Development Block Grants
In a little noticed section of the President’s budget proposal are large cuts to HUD, particularly the elimination of Federal Community Development Block Grants.
This program has been a boon to communities across our country, including several Long Island municipalities, aimed at providing funding for economic redevelopment. It allows for strategic access to infrastructure, community revitalization support and other important services. Funds provided by these grants are largely used in an efficient and transparent manner on Long Island and many critical services would be lost without them.
The program, usually referred to as CDBG for short, was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1975, and has generally enjoyed bipartisan support. It has been used in the past to fund code enforcement, inspections at troubled buildings, repairs and improvements to senior housing, and economic recovery from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Currently there is $3 billion committed to the program for the current fiscal year, but next year all funding will be eliminated.
Stephen Glaude, CEO of the Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, stated that he had expected cuts to the program, but not elimination. “To come in and blatantly eliminate these programs because you’re trying to meet a budget number without talking to the stakeholders, the constituents of these programs, is a little concerning. In fact, it’s more than a little concerning. It’s actually alarming,” stated Mr. Glaude.
Vision Long Island considers the removal of this vital and successful program a critical error for the young administration. We hope that you will let Congressional representatives Peter King and Lee Zeldin know about this misplaced budget slashing.
You can read more on this poor decision here.
Sign the Petition to Make Route 25a Safer for Pedestrians
New York State Senator Ken LaValle has set up an online petition calling on the New York State Department of Transportation to immediately commence a complete pedestrian/bicycle safety study of the Route 25A corridor.
Last week, the Miller Place community was devastated by the death of Nicolo Signore due to an accident at the intersection of Route 25A and Miller Place Road. Nicolo, a teenage student in Miller Place Schools, was the second death at the intersection during the past last year and a half at that intersection. In addition, there have been numerous automobile accidents and close calls at that location.
The petition requests that a Route 25A corridor study be started and expedited, and that a current DOT study of that intersection that is underway is completed as soon as possible, and that corrective actions identified commence.
You can view the petition and sign it by clicking here
The 2017 Complete Streets Summit
Please join us for the 2017 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, March 30th, from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM at The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, located at 7180 Republic Airport in Farmingdale.
This coalition is a contingent of chambers of commerce, civic associations, local governments, engineering and professional trade groups, transit advocates and members of the public who want safe streets for all modes of traffic. The group looks to coordinate Complete Streets planning efforts, communicate on finding opportunities for local projects, act as a clearinghouse for information and lobby with a united voice for safe roadways.
Past Complete Streets Summits have been gatherings of government leaders, planners, engineers, nonprofits and other community stakeholders who support policy changes to design roadways for all uses – not just automobiles.
Speakers this year will include Hon. Jean Celender, Mayor, Great Neck Plaza; Michael Vitti, C.L.I.M.B.; Sylvia Silberger, Car-less Long Island; Frank Wefering, Greenman Pedersen, Inc.; Pete Kremer, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff; Margaret Kubilins, VHB; Hon. Laura Curran, Nassau County; Hon. Erin King-Sweeney, Town of Hempstead; Sean Sallie, Nassau County
Online registration is available here. You can also register by contacting Vision Long Island at 631-261-0242 or email@example.com.
Long Island Coalition for the Homeless to Hold “Have a Heart for the Homeless” Candlelight Vigil
Please join the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless at their “Have a Heart for the Homeless” Candlelight Vigil on April 4th, 2017 from 6:30PM – 8:30PM, in the Multi-Purpose Room in Roosevelt Hall at Farmingdale State College. 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. Please wear RED!
There will be free hair cuts, face painting, story time for children, balloon animals, a candlelighting ceremony, and more. Your group can also help by conducting drives to collect NEW baby items, toiletries, cleaning supplies and non-perishable foods. You can check out the 2017 Vigil KIT that includes everything you need to conduct a successful drive here. You can also join as a sponsor of this important event. Sponsorships include opportunities for Information Tables at the event, as well as company logo on all Vigil T-Shirts! A sponsorship brochure is available here.
Suffolk County Releases Guidelines for Downtown Revitalization Grant
The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning has released the new set of guidelines for Round 15 of their Downtown Revitalization Grant Program. The grant will be made available for downtown and downtown-adjacent capital improvement projects.
You can review the guidelines in full as well as the scoring system here. A sample resolution and the full Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Panel for 2017 is also available at the link. Questions concerning applications and eligibility can be forwarded to Heidi Kowalchyk at 631-853-5925 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications must be received by 4:30 pm on Friday, May 26, 2017 by the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.
Technical Assistance Grants for Affordable Solar Projects Available
NY-Sun is now accepting applications for the Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance program. This new funding opportunity supports the development of solar projects for multifamily affordable housing and community solar projects serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, with up to $200,000 for each approved proposal.
Many LMI households are unable to access benefits from conventional residential solar installations. To help expand access to solar benefits for LMI households, NYSERDA is seeking proposals for projects leading to:
Projects related to on-site solar installations for owner-occupied houses are not eligible for funding through this solicitation. However, NY-Sun provides support to LMI homeowners through the Affordable Solar Program.
Applications may be submitted by local governments, affordable housing, community organizations and service providers working to make solar accessible to LMI communities in New York. NY-Sun will accept and review applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. Visit the program webpage for more details and the application.
If you have questions about the solicitation, please email email@example.com.
Long Island Coalition for the Homeless Seeking Part-Time Housing Coordinator
The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless is seeking applicants for a Part-Time Housing Coordinator for our main office in Amityville. This position requires a strong ability to understand policies and regulations; work with clients and systems to gather required documentation; manage record keeping and reporting duties; utilize Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and Excel.
Local travel will be also required for this position. Benefits include paid holidays.
The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless must conduct criminal background checks on candidates prior to offering employment for this position.
Interested parties should submit a resume and salary requirements via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not call the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless regarding this position. Questions should be submitted via email only.
You can download the full job description here.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we “wear many hats,” and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
What’s happening on your Main Street this weekend?
For information, visit their website.
Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
For information, visit their website or call 516-439-5218
For information, visit their website or call 516-822-7505
For information, visit their website.
For information, visit their website or call 516-922-5032
Bow Tie Port Washington
For information, visit their website or call 516-766-0300
For information, visit their website or call 516-671-0090
Cold Spring Harbor
For information, visit their website or call 631-324-6850
For information, visit their website or call 631-351-3250
Port Jefferson Historical Society
For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665
For information, visit their website or call 631-563-0186
For information, visit their website or call 631-862-6575
For information, visit their website or call 631-268-2494
For information, visit their website.
50 Reasons Everyone Should Want More Walkable Streets
“Cities Alive,” a new report from global engineering firm Arup, cites 50 reasons why walkable cities are more desirable than car-centric cities. This continues a trend for more and more cities to lean towards walkability, talking about why it matters.
“The benefits of walkability are all interconnected,” says James Francisco, an urban designer and planner at Arup, the global engineering firm that created the report. “Maybe you want your local business to be enhanced by more foot traffic. But by having that benefit, other benefits are integrated. Not only do you get the economic vitality, but you get the social benefits—so people are out and having conversations and connecting—and then you get the health benefits.” A single intervention can also lead to environmental and political benefits.
You can read a full run down of the benefits here.
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Vision Long Island