Smart Talk March 17th – 23rd, 2018

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we look in on how Smart Growth priorities did in local elections, check out progress on the NY Secure Choice Program, attend a meeting concerning the Belmont Park Plan, and more…

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March 17th – 23rd, 2018


REGIONAL UPDATES

Jobco Incorporated

For over a half century, Jobco Incorporated has developed buildings, which have made a major impact on peoples’ lives. Today, they continue a mission of enriching lives through better building. From apartment buildings to hospitals to office complexes, their buildings represent decades of excellent workmanship and expertise in construction and property development. Through quality construction, responsive management, timely renovation and cost-effective project completion – including the use of sustainable materials and energy-saving techniques to reduce overall operational costs and promote healthier living and working environments – they build a place individuals and families can be proud to work and live in.

“The flood prevention and resiliency plans that we are unveiling … are blueprints for a brighter future as we deal with climate change. By building stronger and smarter, we will help protect thousands of additional homes and businesses from storm surges and tidal flooding in South Valley Stream.” – Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen

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Supporters of Downtown Revitalization Fare Well in Village Elections

Several villages across Long Island held elections for mayor and/or trustees this week, with those who were favorable to transit oriented development, downtown redevelopment and infrastructure improvements faring well.

Incumbent mayors and trustees in the Villages of Amityville, Lindenhurst, and Mineola, will be returning to their elected positions, with a trustee-candidate in Hempstead who supports downtown redevelopment winning a post as well.

In Nassau:

Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss and Trustees Dennis Walsh and George Dunham won handily, fighting back candidates who challenged their transit oriented development work.

Village of Hempstead Trustee-candidate Jeffery Daniels soundly won and ran on a platform of support for downtown redevelopment.

In Suffolk:

Village of Amityville Trustee Tom Whalen is also a supporter of their revitalization work and won.

Village of Lindenhurst Trustees, Maryann Weckerle and Patrick Pichichero, both supportive of their downtown efforts, also won.
We hear often from folks off Long Island tell us about local opposition to change but we continually see more support at public hearings and at the ballot box for downtown revitalization programs.

Congrats to the winners and we look forward to working with them as they advance their downtown programs with the support of the local community. You can all of Long Island’s recent village election results here.

AARP NY Calls for Secure Choice Program in 2018-19 NYS Budget

AARP NY recently held a rally to call for the inclusion of the Secure Choice Program in the final 2018-19 New York State budget.
The Secure Choice Program is a workplace retirement savings account option for employees who do not have such an option through their work.  The program would install a public-private partnership between the state and a professional financial institution to create these accounts.  The aim is to help the more than 50% of workers between the ages of 18 to 64 who work in the private sector without a retirement plan.  74% of such workers make less than $40,000 a year, which makes it particularly difficult to save for the future.

“Tens of thousands of New Yorkers do not have savings sufficient to allow them to retire in dignity. We need to do something,” said State Senator Diane Savino, who is sponsoring the bill in the upper chamber. “As the sponsor of the New York Secure Choice Savings Program, I was very pleased to see the Governor include the plan in his budget proposal and look forward to seeing it cross the finish line.”

The rally itself had more than 100 AARP volunteers from across the state as well and was attended by Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who also voiced support.  The Lt. Governor noted that women in particular would benefit from the program.

“Women are particularly vulnerable because over their lifetimes they are paid less than men, and by retirement, many slip into poverty,” Hochul said. “In our state, we believe that the Secure Choice ‎payroll deduction will create savings that will protect our seniors after a lifetime of work. We truly appreciate the advocacy of the AARP to help the governor and I get this passed.”

Versions of the bill creating the program is currently in the Senate Ways and Means committee and the Assembly Finance committee.

This piece of legislation has been a platform item for the Long Island Lobby Coalition for the past two years.

You can read more here.

Local Community Expresses Opposition to Belmont Park Plan

Vision Long Island was in Elmont this week and was asked to weigh in on preliminary plans for redevelopment of Belmont Park.

Nearly 400 Elmont and Floral Park residents were in attendance at two sessions with roughly 50 speakers. The overwhelming majority of attendees were opposed to the process to determine a plan for redevelopment as well as raise questions and concerns about potential impacts.  Some of the issues raised included parking, traffic, economic impact to local businesses, wisdom of planning more large scale retail, the need for a 24 story hotel and a power plant on the site. Others questioned why an arena at Belmont is needed when there is one in Uniondale.

The benefits that could come from a project of this scope should include development that compliments and benefits local businesses, jobs for community residents, at the least a functioning train line, which currently isn’t in the existing MTA capital plan, and a community benefits package.

Like most planning on Long Island decision of this type need to come from the local community. In addition large scale government agencies aren’t often not equipped to do land use planning.  The big issue that came up again and again was the lack of process involving the community and seeming to favor Islanders fans.

“People in my community aren’t concerned about how quickly they can get to an Islanders game. Formation of a planning committee after the fact is an insult to Elmont residents. Decisions have already been made.” said Aubrey Phillips, spokesperson for the Belmont Park Community Coalition

Check out coverage of the hearing in LI Business News and Fios1 News. There will also be another community meeting to answer resident’s concerns on April 24th.

Valley Stream Unveils Flood Prevention Program

Valley Stream has officially unveiled a plan to prevent chronic flooding that has been ongoing since Hurricane Sandy hit the region.
The plan will include installing a vinyl bulkhead to extend the life of the seawall, funding the installation of a tidal wetland, and elevating berms and check valves.  The plan will also include the installation of a new nature walk at Brook Road Park.  A Request for Proposal has been issued for the projects and officials are hoping to award the winning bid in April.  Construction is expected to take six months and would begin soon after the RFP process is concluded.

“The flood prevention and resiliency plans that we are unveiling … are blueprints for a brighter future as we deal with climate change,” according to Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen. “By building stronger and smarter, we will help protect thousands of additional homes and businesses from storm surges and tidal flooding in South Valley Stream.”

The plan stems from the New York Rising Program and will use $3.7 million in funds from the program.  This project is just one part of a larger $60 million in investments aimed at controlling flooding and helping the area to recover from Sandy.  As part of the process, a local committee worked with State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, Supervisor Gillen and Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman to create a plan for submission.

“This project grew directly from community engagement,” said Laura Munafo, deputy director of New York Rising Community for Long Island. “This is what Gov. Andrew Cuomo envisioned when he created the community reconstruction process. We will never forget what Sandy did to us, and each time the wind and waves pick up, as they have twice in the past two weeks, we are reminded of the work we need to finish.”

You can read more here.

Hicksville Holds Downtown Revitalization Meetings

Vision Long Island attended two meetings last week in Hicksville in order to help local residents review the downtown revitalization process and to help plan for future development.

The first meeting was a presentation to the Hicksville Rotary Club to keep local business informed on some of the changes tied to the upcoming zoning plans for the downtown area.  The group had excellent questions, but did express concerns about the proposed Sears redevelopment.

The second meeting was the final meeting of the NYS DRI planning for the expenditure of $10 million in grant funds.  The state planners also presented some of their design concepts that complement the downtown zoning plan.  Unfortunately, the State continues to push a concept with 5 story buildings that has met with significant resistance from local residents and officials through several meetings.  

Legislator Rose Walker questioned the shift in the State’s presentation from four to five story buildings.   However, that concept is a suggestion with the Town in control the local zoning.  Oyster Bay has made it clear that four story buildings will be the maximum height.

The next step will be to complete the downtown rezoning process at the right scale.  Keep an eye on future newsletters for updates on this important project.

Mixed Use Apartments Planned for Huntington Village

The Huntington Town Board is currently considering a proposal for a 14-unit mixed-use apartment building in the heart of downtown Huntington Village.

The plan proposes to construct a new building at 71 New Street, which is currently home to a 2.5 story funeral home, which will be demolished.  The new building will sport 12 apartments evenly divided between the top two floors with each maxing out at either 845 or 981 square feet.  There will also be one bedroom and studio apartments available for rent.

The first floor of the building will feature 3,000 square feet of commercial space and a parking cantilever of approximately equal size.  The plan is under consideration as it will require several parking variances in order to proceed.

This project comes as downtown Huntington has had a number of apartments recently, helpoing to bring local customers to local businesses.

You can read more here.

Please Join us for the 2018 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, April 5th

The Long Island Complete Streets Coalition will be holding the 2018 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, April 5th. The event will feature a robust agenda of speakers and discussion on how to create streets that are not just safe, but also attractive, interesting, and built for people, can help improve our well-being and quality of life.

While last year’s summit focused on the top five roads that are “hot spots” for crashes, this year we are widening our net to look at locations all across Long Island that are dangerous for those on foot or on a bicycle. Whether it is an entire stretch of road, or just a specific intersection, we will draw attention to places around the island that need to be improved in order to make our streets safe for all users. Currently we aren’t even reaching the most basic level of safety in many places which is the most fundamental aspect of walkability. Beyond basic levels of safety, many of our streets in and around our downtowns have the potential to be so much more than they are. Streets make up the majority of publicly owned space in many communities. Creating streets that are also places, streets with “Walk Appeal,” can add value to communities for both businesses and residents.

Please contact us at 631-261-0242 for more information. You can register for the event here.

Sustainability Institute to Screen The Age of Consequences on Wednesday, April 11th

The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College is proud to announce and invite you to our 23rd Sustainable Living Film Series screening on Wednesday April 11th, 2018 from 6:00 – 9:30pm. ***The film series is typically hosted on Thursdays, but please note that this screening is being held on a Wednesday***

RSVP REQUIRED before event day.

$10 admission in advance. $15 at the door. Purchase tickets here. Admission includes the film, buffet dinner, and discussion following the film. All are welcome, so share this event and invite friends and family.

Long Island Business Council to Hold Meeting Thursday, April 12th

The Long Island Business Council will hold a meeting on Thursday, April 12th to discuss important prorgams and initiatives in both Counties. The meeting will feature Presiding Officers Richard Nicolello of the Nassau County Legislature and DuWayne Gregory of Suffolk County Legislature. John Keating of PSEG Long Island will also speak on the new energy company’s new Vacant Properties and Main Street Revitalization programs. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran will give welcoming remarks at the event as well.

To RSVP or for more information you can download a flyer here, call 877-811-7471, or email ck@visionlongisland.org.

Car-Less Long Island to Host 3rd Annual Bike-to-Work Parade on Saturday, April 28th

On April 28th, Car-Less Long Island will be hosting its 3rd Annual Bike-to-Work Parade along a 6.5 mile loop around Eisenhower Park that will begin and end at Hofstra’s North Campus.  There will be a police escort for safe riding. (See the map of bike route here and map of Hofstra here). There is a 1.9-mile walking route for those who want to see a more walk-able and bike-able Long Island, but do not want to bike themselves or are not ready to bike a 6.5 mile loop. There is also a short cut to a 1.5-mile route. (See a map of the full and short walking routes here. You can also see it on the Hofstra campus map here).  After the parade will be the bike to work festival with music, speakers, prizes, and fun for the whole family!

For more information on how to register, a flyer for the event, instructions on how to volunteer, and more, you can visit here.

Brookings Scholar Highlights the Power of Local Leadership

Check out the message from Bruce Katz from the Brookings Institution and author of the book the New Localism. His talk covered the multi functionality and bottom up systems that local leadership provide as opposed to the highly specialized, bureaucratic and top down systems that have been built over the last century.

We are looking forward to checking out the book but this new reality of local leadership has needed to be magnified for quite some time. Glad to see Mr. Katz step forward in this area. Kudos to our friends over at New Jersey Future for having Mr. Katz share his message.

You can check out a full summary here.

Smart Talk

Editor:
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; 
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

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.

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.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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