Smart Talk March 16th – 22nd, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we see how Smart Growth did in local elections, look in on the latest developments for the Belmont Arena, check in on the Central Islip DRI grant, and more…

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March 16th – 22nd, 2019


Harras, Bloom & Archer

The Melville, New York, law office of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP is known for providing sophisticated legal representation to sophisticated clients. The Long Island real estate law and litigation attorneys work with diverse clients in a wide range of real property, land use and zoning and business litigation matters, and have contributed to the success of many notable projects in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Hudson Valley, New York City and the surrounding areas.

The firm’s top priority is to obtain the most favorable results possible as they pertain to the needs of Global retailers, Entertainment companies, Local developers of commercial and residential communities, Office buildings, Shopping centers, and Small businesses of all types.

Beyond representing a diverse clientele in complex litigation matters between companies and individuals, Harras Bloom & Archer LLP advises clients in legal matters taken before municipal boards, departments and government agencies. Ultimately, the most important aspect of these nuanced areas of law is helping clients make sound decisions with regard to investments and their bottom line. Founding partners John Harras, Paul Bloom and Keith Archer work relentlessly to this end, using their extensive legal resources and experience in the local legal community to achieve the results their clients are looking for.


“We really want to work constructively with ESD,” Curran said. “We want to be helpful in this. You know, we’re very excited about the opportunity here, economic development, the jobs, construction jobs, long-term jobs and of course keeping our beloved Islanders in Nassau County. So we’re going to work constructively.”

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Downtown Revitalization Wins Big in Village Elections

This past Tuesday saw voters in Village elections once again elect Mayors and Trustees who are supportive of downtown revitalization efforts. This year’s tally showed revitalization supporters win in all 6 of the 6 communities contested.

In Freeport, Trustee Deputy Mayor and Jorge Martinez was re-elected and Trustee candidate Christopher Squeri was elected.  This comes as Freeport has plans for North Main Street, and had approved a TOD development adjacent to its train station.  The Village also are working to improve pedestrian safety on North Main Street.

In Hempstead, Trustee Jeff Daniels was re-elected and former trustee Waylon Hobbs was elected.  The Village currently has three pending TOD projects that have been part of past revitalization plans awaiting approval.

Lynbrook saw incumbent Mayor Alan Beach overwhelmingly re-elected along with Trustees Robert Bocchio and Ann Marie Reardon.  The Village has been working on a new movie theatre, downtown restaurants, and both a small and large TOD development.  Unfortunately, issues in this election were fueled by toxic social media and divisive reporting, but the results were radically different, showing a support among residents for the continued revitalization.

In Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare and other incumbents are ahead by nearly 500 votes, with absentee ballots left to be counted.  Valley Stream has been very active in approving TOD projects and most recently moving a municipal building downtown.

Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino was re-elected as well.  Babylon has started to approve smaller TOD projects, and has a downtown theatre while maintaining a robust business district.

Northport saw Trustee Mercy Smith elected over a surprise write-in challenge from a former candidate. Northport has recently approved a controversial downtown hotel and large scale restaurant.

Local Village officials and elections are important because they help keep attention focused on local Main Streets.  Their success is critical to the prospects of healthy downtown business districts.   Incorporated Villages and community minded Towns are the few places in our public life where residents can trust and collaborate together across party lines on local issues.  Vision urges everyone to take an interest in the politics of their own neighborhood and participate in local elections.

Congratulations and well wishes to all the Mayors and Trustees for their election or reelection to one of the most critical positions in Long Island government.

Nassau County calls for NYS Review of Belmont Project

Nassau County officials have made an official request to New York State that they take another look at the impact of the Belmont Park arena project.

In a 13-page letter to commissioner of Empire State Development (ESD) Howard Zemsky, Nassau laid out a number of concerns about the project and its impact on the surrounding community.  The letter came in response to the County examining the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which Nassau determined didn’t fully address the neighborhood’s concerns.  Specifically, the letter noted deficiencies in the DEIS’s analysis when it came to traffic impact.

Areas of contention included the DEIS using the subway as a form of transportation when there is no existing subway station in the area.  The report also suggests the formation of a “multi-faceted” ride sharing service for the area as well as a shuttle service for surrounding LIRR stations, but does not say who would be responsible for running and maintaining such services.  Nassau also found the estimated 11,700 patrons number too low to use as a design criteria.

The ESD is currently in the process of reviewing the request by the County as well as the comments recently received in the extended public comment period.  That period produced a record number of comments from the surrounding community and has already delayed the start of construction.  Originally slated to begin in April, construction was pushed back to accommodate the extended public comment period and is now estimated to begin in August.

ESD Spokesman Jack Sterne noted that all concerns will be addressed in the final environmental impact study (FEIS), as is standard in the SEQRA process.

In the meantime some have called for Nassau County to step in and create an independent review of their own for the area.  Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has said she won’t make such a move just yet, preferring to work with the ESD for now while they await its response.

“We really want to work constructively with ESD,” Curran said. “We want to be helpful in this. You know, we’re very excited about the opportunity here, economic development, the jobs, construction jobs, long-term jobs and of course keeping our beloved Islanders in Nassau County. So we’re going to work constructively.”

You can read more here.

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine Delivers State of the Town Address

Last week saw Supervisor Ed Romaine deliver the Brookhaven State of the Town Address, which focused on repairing deteriorating roads and addressing environmental concerns.

He would call for the state to continue funding the $1.8 million Aid and Incentives for Municipality (AIM) program, which the governor’s proposed 2019-20 budget would cut.  He also spoke on Brookhaven’s IDA, which has closed on 15 projects.

Supervisor Romaine noted that the Town has increased fiscal responsibility and energy efficiency before talking at length about the need to improve local roads.  He talked about how the Town has repeatedly asked for funding from the state and will need to move forward to ensure the needed infrastructure remains.

He would also talk about environmental concerns and how it was becoming necessary to monitor groundwater to document human effects on it.  The Supervisor noted that Brookhaven has begun to create a comprehensive management for protecting groundwater as well as a free seedling program that has helped to plant over 10,000 trees.

“We should document the effects of human activities on groundwater, track pollution trends, promote water conservation and develop plans to reduce saltwater intrusion,” Mr. Romaine said.

You can read more here, and Brookhaven’s official press release here.

Central Islip Reveals Potential Finalists for $10M Central Islip DRI Grant

The Town of Islip has taken another step forward in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant process and revealed potential finalists for the $10 million state grant.

Community members gathered at Central Islip High School to hear from Supervisor Angie Carpenter as she revealed the projects that had made the cut.  Proposals being considered for a revitalized Central Islip corridor include a new community park, connections to sewers, and a historic trail.  There are also three mixed-use apartments among the finalists as well as plans for improved streetscapes. 

The applicants for the grant currently total a little less than $15 million, with a planning committee set to vote on the final list of proposals.  Once that list is finalized it will be included in a strategic investment plan during a meeting next Monday.  That list will got to State officials, who will give final approval on which projects to fund.

Some residents did bring up traffic concerns as well as overcrowding in schools, while others talked about how the community was missing an opportunity by not expanding access to the LIRR station.  There was also some disappointment at the boundaries of the project, with community members hoping to see the grants improving a wider area of the neighborhood.

You can read more here.

Vision Speaks with Riverhead Downtown Revitalization Committee

Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander was happy to talk with the Riverhead Downtown Revitalization Committee this week.

The event was a great cross section of local businesses, artists, architects, planners, property owners, walkability advocates, and municipal officials.

This diversity of stakeholders provided an excellent dialogue on a slew of issues including: proper mix of housing, potential for new commercial development, improved design standards, improving the multilayered development process, downtown promotion, engagement of residents in process, transportation infrastructure, and much more.

Though the dialogue continued for over an hour and could have gone even longer, building heights – which has been all over the regional press- was barely touched on.

It was great to also see representatives from multiple Smart Growth Award winners in the room: Summerwind Square, Peconic Crossing, Atlantis Marine World, and the previous director of East End Arts Pat Snyder and current one Diane Burke.

Special thanks to Atlantis Marine World’s Bryan DeLuca for the invitation, and to Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and Catherine Kent for their participation.

Nassau County Executive Curran Speaks to Hicksville Chamber of Commerce

Vision Board and staff were out at the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce luncheon featuring Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Nassau Legislator Rose Walker.

The County Executive touched on support for transit oriented development plans in Hicksville immediately surrounding the train station, complete streets policies, local traffic study and other issues.

Hicksville has come a long way in the past decade, working to improve the downtown area surrounding the LIRR station while prioritizing community involvement.  Hicksville is also a former winner of the NYS $10 million downtown revitalization initiative (DRI) grant, and is working to bring those plans to reality.

Vision was happy to see a good turnout of local business owners interested in downtown revitalization.

JPMorgan Announces $350 Million Global Investment in Future of Work

JPMorgan Chase has announced that it will invest $350 million into a Future of Work initiative.

Building on a $250 million program from 2013, the New Skills at Work initiative will focus on creating economic mobility and career pathways for underserved populations and help forecast emerging skillsets.  The initiative has a number of programs for people in underpaid positions who are looking for training and upward mobility.

“The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “Unfortunately, too many people are stuck in low-skill jobs that have no future and too many businesses cannot find the skilled workers they need. We must remove the stigma of a community college and career education, look for opportunities to upskill or reskill workers, and give those who have been left behind the chance to compete for well-paying careers today and tomorrow.”

The program will focus on creating economic opportunity and career mobility with $200 million or developing and piloting innovative new education and training programs, $125 million for strengthening existing education and training systems, and $25 million for support of the development and dissemination of accurate labor market data. 

Additionally, the company will work with a number of organizations to help identify key areas of improvement.  That includes MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy to help identify and predict future needed skills.  They will also team with PolicyLink and the National Fund for Workforce Soutions to create workforce data in 10 US cities.  This will all be used to target specific job training needed for certain areas.

You can read more here.

Complete Streets Summit to be held on March 29th

The 7th Annual Complete Streets Summit is scheduled to be held on Friday, March 29th from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College. 

The event is held annually by the Complete Streets Coalition in an effort to coordinate planning efforts, identify funding opportunities, act as a clearinghouse for information, and create a coherent message to help with lobbying efforts in Albany.  The event gathers experts from across the transportation world who will present and discuss what is currently underway as well as future efforts.

This year’s speakers include opening remarks by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Glenn Murrell from NYS Department of Transportation, Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, Village of Freeport Trustee Jorge Martinez, Sean Sallie from Nassau County’s Sean Sallie, Frank Wefering from GPI, Michael Levine from Town of Hempstead, Patricia Bourne from the City of Long Beach, Dan Flanzig from the Village of Sea cliff, Bernard Macias from AARP, Marwa Fawaz from VHB, Sylvia Silberger from the Long Island Transportation Alliance, Jonathan Keyes from Suffolk County, and Elissa Kyle from Vision Long Island.

Further details can be found here, and you can register online here.

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 to host Proposed Nicolls Road BRT Open House on April 2nd

On Tuesday, April 2nd, the Suffolk County Department of Public Works will hold a public informational meeting on the proposed Nicolls Road Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System.  The open house will run from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm in the Babylon Student Center at Suffolk Community College in Selden, located at 533 College Road, Selden, NY 11784.

The meeting will provide attendees with an opportunity to discover what is being envisioned for this “innovation corridor” and offer an opportunity for residents and commuters to share thoughts about the concept with the plan’s developers.

The transformation of Nicolls Road into a multimodal corridor will establish the first direct north/ south connection between three Long Island Railroad lines; linking Brookhaven National Lab to Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College; connecting our Patchogue and Ronkonkoma Hub downtowns to Long Island MacArthur Airport; and creating an extensive hiking/biking network.

For questions or comments, please email with the subject line “Nicolls Road BRT.” Please visit for more information.

St. Joseph’s College presents Affordable Housing seminar on April 5th

St. Joseph’s College Institute for Attainable Homes presents Affordable Housing and the Long Island Workforce on Friday, April 5th, at 11 am.  The event will be located at SJC Long Island Campus, at the McGann Conference Center, O’Connor Hall, 155 W. Roe Blvd., Patchogue, NY 11772

A networking session will immediately follow the event.

Panelists include Anne Shybunko-Moore, President of GSE Dynamics and Board Member of Hauppauge Industrial Association, John Durso,  President of Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and James Coughlin, Principal of Tritec Development Group

RSVP to Kara Felton at 631.687.2402 or mailto:kfelton@sjcny.e

Help Island Harvest Stamp Out Hunger on May 11th

The National ASSOC of Letter Carriers Food Drive is taking place on May 11th and is asking for your help in gathering non-perishable food items for the hungry.  All you need to do to participate is to leave a can of food or more at your mailbox on May 11th, and your postal carrier will pick it up for the drive.

This year they are looking for canned or dry beans, canned tuna, canned chicken, peanut butter (or other nut butters), nuts & seeds, canned fruit (in water or juice), canned vegetable (Low‑Sodium), low‑sodium pasta sauce, rolled oats, low‑sugar cereal, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta, popcorn (light butter or kernels), shelf‑stable milk, olive or canola oil, and low‑sodium soup or stew.

As part of this, Island Harvest is seeking volunteers to help out at their warehouse on May 11th through 15th.  You can register to volunteer at and help to #StampOutHunger.

Please help to get the word out about this important event! You can view a flyer for the event .

CBA Community Grant Funds now Available for Huntington Station

As per the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signed between the Town of Huntington and Renaissance Downtowns, one of the requirements is a fee per development that Renaissance Downtowns is involved in. The fee is calculated with a formula that is $1.35 per square foot of commercial + $825 per residential unit. Those funds are in escrow and to be disbursed to community groups for the betterment of Huntington Station.

Criteria for the funding applications are as follows:
• The idea fits the triple-bottom-line mission of social, economic and environmental responsibility.
• The idea needs to be feasible and implementable within 90 days of being selected. 
• The community is reasonably able to directly and immediately experience the benefits of what the grant is supporting.
• A detailed budget is needed for the applicant and full reporting of expenditures must be submitted in order to receive the reimbursement grant. 
• To allow more Huntington Station community groups to participate ideas and applicants who haven’t immediately received a prior grant will be prioritized.
• Funds may not be applied towards salaries or private/personal reasons.
• There is a maximum of $5,000 per award AND $5,000 per quarter. It is at the discretion of the Committee how the funds are to be allocated each quarter.

The first round of funding is now available and applications are due by April 1st, 2019.  If you are interested in applying, pleas head over to Source the Station’s website here.

If you have questions about anything, please email

GTSC Issues RFA for Federal Highway Safety Grants

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) is issuing a Request for Application (RFA) to solicit applications from state agencies, local governments and not-for-profit agencies for Federal Highway Safety grants. This proposal requires applicants to submit a narrative outline of the problem with supporting data, details of the proposed activities with milestones and an evaluation plan.

Proposals must address one of the program areas included in the state’s Highway Safety Strategic Plan, which can be found online here. Program areas considered for the general Highway Safety Grant funding include: occupant protection; traffic enforcement; motorcycle safety; traffic records; community programs; programs that impact our younger drivers or older drivers; pedestrian safety; roadway safety and impaired driving.

You can read more information on the grant here, and view the call letter for the grant here.

Local 66 Taking Applications for Apprenticeship Openings

The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of Local 66 of the General Building Laborers union will begin taking applications on Monday for 20 skilled construction craft laborer apprenticeships, officials said.

Applications can be obtained in person at the Local 66 office, 1600 Walt Whitman Rd. in Melville, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, excluding legal holidays. The forms must be completed in person. The recruitment period ends March 18, 2020.

Applicants should be 18 or older, have lived on Long Island for at least six months before applying, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, be physically able to do the work, have reliable transportation and a valid driver’s license, pass a written exam and drug test, be interviewed and become a union member.

More information is available by calling 631-454-2330.

Long Island Aquarium Looking for Funding to Transport Sea Lion

The Long Island Aquarium is looking for a little assistance in getting their newest family member to his new Riverhead home: a baby California sea lion.

The sea lion pup, which is a female, was abandoned by her mother and deemed unreleasable back to its native beaches in California.  After that, the Riverhead Aquarium was able to attain her and is now in the process of raising the needed $7,500 to get her to Long Island.  Once there she will join the aquarium’s other three sea lions.

You can read more here, and you can contribute to the aquarium’s GoFundMe page here.

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.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two 
Northport, NY 11768 
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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