Smart Talk March 23rd – 29th, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we cover the Complete Streets Summit, look at the success of the Suffolk County plastic bag law, check out what’s going on with the Northport Hotel, and more…

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March 23rd – 29th, 2019


Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.

Established in 1966, Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. (GPI) is a consulting engineering, planning, survey, mapping, and construction management and inspection firm that specializes in the innovative development, design and construction of infrastructure and building systems. Originally founded by A. Beecher Greenman and Herbert M. Pedersen, GPI has grown from a two-person endeavor to a consulting firm included among ENR’s top 100 national design firms.

GPI provides services to a wide variety of government agencies, municipalities, institutions, industries, architects and developers. They attribute their long-lasting relationships with their clients to the talented, responsive, service-oriented professionals employed throughout the GPI organization.

They take pride in the many projects they have successfully completed and enjoy the challenge of new and difficult engineering issues requiring innovative, yet practical, cost- effective solutions. The firm’s commitment to provide quality engineering services and to work as a team with their clients is the reason those clients continue to turn to GPI for engineering solutions.

While codifying an ambitious target is essential, we also know that the devil is always in the details – especially when it comes to policy making. That’s why I’m calling for specific provisions that will kick-start New York’s million rooftop initiative. We need to start by unlocking market forces through market-based electricity pricing; pricing externalities like carbon and other emissions so that polluters pay their fair share; reducing red tape such as permitting costs and adding solar requirements into building codes. – David Scheiren, CEO of EmPower Solar, speaking on the improtance of solar policy in NYS

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Complete Streets Summit presented solutions to improve the safety of Long Island’s roadways

Over 100 local civics, engineers, small businesses and government officials joined the annual Long Island Complete Streets Summit at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in East Farmingdale

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran spotlighted a range of improvement projects the County is undertaking including downtown Baldwin and Hicksville.    Glenn Murrell from NYS DOT will updated the group on the status of project improvements for the LI region.  We are pleased to see that the NYS has over $50 million of Complete Streets, traffic calming, bicycle and pedestrian improvements underway.   This is the highest amount charted in over 20 years of tracking.

Last year the Coalition released the top most dangerous roadways for pedestrians and bicyclists generated from recent crash data focusing on our downtown and commercial corridors – essentially areas where people are encouraged to walk and bike.  Those 30 roadways spotlighted have had nearly 600 pedestrian and bicycle crashes in recent years.   This year preliminary data from 2018 was presented and a range of solutions and traffic calming projects was presented from multiple communities.

The program included a panel on Fixing Long Island’s Dangerous Roadways featuring: Hon. Carrie Solages, Nassau County, Hon. Jorge Martinez, Village of Freeport, Sylvia Silberger LI Transportation Alliance, Bernard Macias, AARP NY, Pattie Bourne, City of Long Beach, Dan Flanzig, Village of Sea Cliff, Frank Wefering from Greenman Pedersen, Elissa Kyle, Vision Long Island, Sean Sallie, Nassau County DPW, Jonathan Keyes, Suffolk County, Marwa Farwaz, VHB, and Michael Levine, Town of North Hempstead.

The areas that the panel will cover included:  Baldwin, Hicksville, Lindenhurst, Sea Cliff, Long Beach, Elmont, Freeport and others.

Vision staff will be releasing notes and quotes in next weeks Smart Talk newsletter.  For summaries and event details post Summit, visit

Preliminary coverage includes Fios 1 News and News 12 that focused on Baldwin Grand Ave improvements here:

Suffolk County Releases Report on Effectiveness of Plastic Bag Law

A comprehensive report on the progress of the Suffolk County carryout bag law has been released.  The report shows that the law has been effective, resulting in 1.1 billion less bags used in a year.

The report shows how the law has helped to reduce the number of bags being used by consumers thanks to a law requiring businesses to charge 5 cents for each plastic bag a customer uses.  The result has been customers more willing to carry reusable bags into the stores instead of purchasing new bags that end up in the garbage.

“Plastic pollution is a global issue that we are confronting locally with successful results. We have made a difference in Suffolk County, and I believe we can make a difference around the world. I’m thankful to all the stakeholders who helped make this happen, particularly the residents,” stated Legislator William R. Spencer. 

To investigate the effectiveness, the report detailed shoppers’ bag choices, beach clean-up statistics, and bag purchases made by retailers both before and after the law went into effect.   The numbers added up to an 80% reduction of the waste generated by plastic bags in the County.  Other big takeaways include the fact that 62.6% of consumers are now bringing their own bag or opting for no bag, a reduction of the number of single-use bags being used per visit, and 41% less plastic bags being found on local beaches.

“Suffolk County should be proud of this significant reduction of 1 billion plastic bags per year.  This is an exciting and meaningful reduction of our plastic waste.   As more and more evidence mounts about the dangers of plastic pollution it is critical that we change our behavior and reduce our use of plastics and that’s exactly what Suffolk County has achieved.  Kudos to Legislator Spencer on the success of this legislation,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

The legislation that created the bag law also included the creation of a working group that will work to educate the public while measuring the effectiveness of the policy.  A report from that group is expected out in 2021 while a second one covering the three years after the implementation is expected in 2021.  That will strive to track the impact of the policy while ensuring credibility.

You can read the full report on the progress of the single-use bag law here.

LIBN hosts Real Estate Awards

Vision Board and staff were happy to be out with over 300 folks at the LI Business News Real Estate Awards.
It was great to see Smart Growth supporter (and former Vision Board member) Robert Scheiner from H2M Architects + Engineers, and Michael Dubb, from the Beechwood Organization, win the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Georgica Green Ventures won the top Smart Growth Project Award for their project in downtown Riverhead, which is a previous Smart Growth Award winner.

Sabre Realty won for top multifamily leasing for Hawthorne Apartments in Valley Stream, also a Smart Growth Award winning project.

Other Smart Growth Supporters that won included the Nassau County IDA, Suffolk County IDA, Engel Burman, Five Points Real Estate, and Forchelli Deegan Terrana Law.

Congratulations to LIBN Publisher Joe Giametta and his entire team for putting together another fantastic event.

Northport Hotel Wins Final Approval and Tax Breaks

A final site plan for a hotel in downtown Northport has received approval from the Village Board as well as $1.3 million in tax breaks from the Suffolk County IDA.

The plans show 24 rooms for the hotel portion of the project with a 124-seat restaurant and a further 51 seats located at a bar.  The restaurant will be located on the ground floor and is currently planned as an Italian Steakhouse.  There have been concerns among local residents that the development will put stress on the already limited parking in the village.  However the owners, who also own the John W. Engeman Theater across the street, have pledged to add 150 spaces of parking behind the building and a valet service.

“We’re feverishly working toward the next step of the project,” said the prospective hotel owner Kevin O’Neill, who is partial owner with Richard Dolce. “It’s great to have the site plan approval completed, and now we’re moving forward with the appropriate demolition plans.”

The site plan approved came unanimously and will move the long-discussed boutique hotel one step closer to construction on Main Street in the small village.  This comes a few weeks after the approval of a package of tax exemptions and mortgage taxes from the Suffolk County IDA that will total around $1.3 million.  The package is said to be offsetting the approximate cost of building the new parking lot behind the hotel.

Construction will generate around 55 jobs according to the IDA’s economic impact analysis, with $87,000 in taxes being generated in the first year of business.  The $87,000 number is about $20,000 more than the site would generate if it were to remain empty, according to the IDA.

You can read more here.

New York must Charge Forward on Solar Energy

The following op-ed is written by David Schieren, who is CEO of SunPower by EmPower Solar and a Vision Long Island Board Member

Gov. Cuomo’s recent call for a Green New Deal to boost reliance on solar power and other renewable energy is a good first step that can help create jobs, economic growth, and environmental action that tackles climate change.

It’s also heartening that the Legislature is working on its own plan, indicating that New York’s environmental and economic future is a top priority for key state officials.

While pursuing these goals, it is important for the governor’s team and the Legislature to work hard with key stakeholders to turn these announcements into aggressive action plans. That means codifying into law goals to double our state’s solar resources by 2025, along with accountability measures and funding needed to put a comprehensive plan in place.

With those actions, state legislators have the opportunity to usher in a 21st-century clean energy economy that creates jobs from Buffalo to the Bronx to Montauk.

Compared to much of the country, New York is already ahead of the curve when it comes to solar power. Existing state policies and commitments have led to growth in solar energy production last year and an 8 percent jump in industry jobs, ranking 4th in solar job growth in the country. Jobs in New York are increasing despite a nationwide solar workforce decline to President Trump’s tariffs on solar panels. However, if the state truly wants to be a national leader on the issue, there is much more to do. While New York currently has over 1,500 MW of solar energy installed, we have a long way to go to reach our goals. Our neighbors in New Jersey and Massachusetts have produced more solar energy and created more industry jobs than New York.

I’m proud to employ a small segment of New York’s nearly 10,000 solar workers. For 15 years, EmPower Solar has helped build the Empire State’s renewable industry and deliver on the climate and clean energy goals set forth by state leaders. Our team of engineers, developers, and installers are responsible for over 30 MW of solar and pumping clean, local energy into New York’s power grid.

As part of his promise to fully decarbonize the state’s power sector by 2040, Governor Cuomo has committed over the next five years to doubling the amount of distributed solar in New York to generate enough to power one million New Yorkers.

It’s important that we codify that target into law, so that it can’t be changed on a whim by future administrations, along with near-term policies to grow the market.

Efforts to accelerate deployment of renewables are backed by leading environmental organizations, academic institutions, social justice organizations, solar energy advocates, and the renewable energy industry.

Local solar companies across the state help strengthen our most vulnerable communities, creating new well-paying jobs, reducing energy bills for those who need it most, and encouraging community ownership of clean energy. To achieve this, the state must require that 20 percent of residential solar energy benefits low-to-middle-income communities.

While codifying an ambitious target is essential, we also know that the devil is always in the details – especially when it comes to policy making. That’s why I’m calling for specific provisions that will kick-start New York’s million rooftop initiative. We need to start by unlocking market forces through market-based electricity pricing; pricing externalities like carbon and other emissions so that polluters pay their fair share; reducing red tape such as permitting costs and adding solar requirements into building codes.

Beyond the immediate economic and environmental benefits of a clean energy economy, there’s another reason to take action: climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. As the federal government continues to roll back progress on clean energy and climate, it’s more important than ever that states, the private sector and local communities lead the way.

New York has the opportunity to double down on a future that shines bright for all New Yorkers. I applaud the governor for committing to a green economy. Now it’s time to get to work.

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

Round 17 of Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Now Available

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone and the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel are pleased to announce the availability of the Downtown Revitalization Round 17 Grant Applications. Eligible applicants must partnet with a local municipality (town of village). That application incorporates the Panel’s intent to support projects that will have an important and sustainable impact on downtowns. All applications will be reviewed and scored via a merit based grading system. Applications are due by 4:30pm on Friday, May 24, 2019

You can read the guidelines for the grants here.

You can download the application here.

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.

Opportunity Open for Public Transit Technology and Innovation Program

Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 3914, seeks proposals to develop and demonstrate innovative public transportation technologies and strategies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and associated energy consumption of the existing bus, rail, and connected intermodal transit systems in New York State (NYS).

Proposals should focus on new or underutilized solutions that can help transit agencies make tangible improvements to their operations while achieving real energy savings, especially in bus efficiency and electrified rail. Proposals should demonstrate a feasible path to economic viability and be replicable and relevant to transit agencies in NYS. The goal of this program is to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies and operational approaches that are required for New York’s public transportation systems, while contributing to the State’s energy and GHG reduction goals. : Concept papers will now be accepted on a rolling basis through November 20, 2019 or until all funds are committed. Additional minor changes are summarized in the Summary of Revisions.

For additional details and associated documents visit: PON 3914 Solicitation Detail Page

Questions and comments can be sent to or call (212) 971-5342 x3476.

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.

“Plastic pollution is a global issue that we are confronting locally with successful results. We have made a difference in Suffolk County, and I believe we can make a difference around the world. I’m thankful to all the stakeholders who helped make this happen, particularly the residents.” – Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer
“Suffolk County should be proud of this significant reduction of 1 billion plastic bags per year.  This is an exciting and meaningful reduction of our plastic waste.   As more and more evidence mounts about the dangers of plastic pollution it is critical that we change our behavior and reduce our use of plastics and that’s exactly what Suffolk County has achieved.  Kudos to Legislator Spencer on the success of this legislation,” – Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment




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

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