Smart Talk March 9th – 15th, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we attend the 2019 Nassau State of the County Address, hear from Governor Cuomo on the 2% tax cap, look in on the latest development on Dutch Broadway in Elmont, and more…

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March 9th – 15th, 2019


Zucaro Construction

Founded in 1978, Zucaro Construction has grown to become one of the most respected and competitive General Contractors in the Long Island and the Metropolitan Area. Its founder, Andrew Zucaro, formed his company with the traditional values and attention to details that have guided him throughout his professional career.

With field experience and an extensive background in commercial, industrial and high-end residential construction management,coupled with “old school” business ethics as his foundation, it is not surprising to find Andrew Zucaro on site, managing each project in detail from beginning to end, ensuring satisfaction every step of the way.

Over the last 32 years, specializing in General Contracting and Construction Management, Zucaro Construction has paid great focus in compiling a lineup of seasoned and polished sub-contractors that meet Andrew Zucaro’s very high standards of workmanship and reliability. When combined with Zucaro Construction’s in-house crew, the result is a powerhouse team.

“Our young people want a different neighborhood vibe. They are attracted to walkable downtowns with apartments, restaurants, and entertainment.  Our seniors want affordable housing options to stay in Nassau County, but without the responsibilities of single-family home ownership.

Many villages and local communities are meeting the challenge of retaining our young people and growing the tax base.  They have already recognized that the suburbs of the past don’t adequately address the needs of future genrations.  [Villages] have focused on developing transit oriented housing and retail options in vibrant, walkable downtowns.  With greater building density where it makes sense, and proximity to the LIRR stations for easy commutes, apartments are rapidly filling up, with waiting lists.  So to Mayors Ralph Ekstrand, Peter Cavallaro, Scott Strauss, Fran Murray, and Jean Celender: Congratulations on your vision and the courage to implement it.”

” – Nassau County Exectuive Laura Curran speaking at the State of the County Address

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Mike Maroni

Vision Long Island was saddened to hear about the loss of Mike Maroni who passed suddenly. He was our neighbor at our Northport office, a Village mainstay, and a dear friend. 

We will miss most his personality that would really light up the room no matter what you were doing or feeling. His humor, directness, unique way of looking at the world, and his business sense was unparalleled.  During long nights before our big events Mike would stop in with meatballs for our staff and volunteers – just because he was that type of guy – very giving – and while the food was off the charts awesome, so was his spirit.

Prayers go out to his wife Maria, his family, and the entire team at Maroni’s. He will be missed

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran delivers State of the County Address

Vision Board and staff were out at Nassau Coliseum for the State of the County address from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

The County Executive’s speech provided updates on the Nassau HUB redevelopment and a pledge to invest $1.5 billion in the project in an effort to revitalize the area and Nassau as a whole.  As part of that, she reiterated support for a live, work and play agenda that includes housing, employment and quality of life.  She highlighted the forward-thinking development of the plan and how it would create a community in the heart of the County that would serve a multitude of services.

“The reimagining of the HUB,” said Ms. Curran, “and its proposed transformation from a sea of pavement into an innovative community not only signifies forward-thinking development but also a new era in Nassau County.”

Executive Curran highlighted young people who are looking for a different lifestyle as well as an older generation looking to stay on Long Island.  She cited the HUB as a new model for a different kind of suburbia that checks these boxes.  This was all part of her ongoing support for downtowns and transit-oriented development in the County.

“Our young people want a different neighborhood vibe,” she said in her speech.  “They are attracted to walkable downtowns with apartments, restaurants, and entertainment.  Our seniors want affordable housing options to stay in Nassau County, but without the responsibilities of single-family home ownership.”

She would also take the time to thank the many local Village Mayors who have been approving Main Street projects, many of whom Vision has worked with over the last decade.  These efforts have served to move forward with the revitalization of many local communities.

“Many villages and local communities are meeting the challenge of retaining our young people and growing the tax base,” she said.  “They have already recognized that the suburbs of the past don’t adequately address the needs of future genrations.  [Villages] have focused on developing transit oriented housing and retail options in vibrant, walkable downtowns.  With greater building density where it makes sense, and proximity to the LIRR stations for easy commutes, apartments are rapidly filling up, with waiting lists.  So to Mayors Ralph Ekstrand, Peter Cavallaro, Scott Strauss, Fran Murray, and Jean Celender: Congratulations on your vision and the courage to implement it.”

The address would go on to spotlight the Western Bays Water Quality Initiative, improvements to parks, health services at NUMC, improving public safety, and repairing and repaving roads.  She would make sure to highlight property taxes as too high, and noted that her administration is making efforts to bring them down so as not to saddle future generations with undue burdens.  She also talked about her support for the Belmont Park Redevelopment project.

Lastly, the County Executive spoke of increased transparency at the Nassau IDA that hasn’t stopped the progress of 4300 Jobs and 78 million in net benefit from these developments to the County.  Executive Curran has pledged a new era of transparency across her administration going forward.

“Economic benefits, when used properly, are beneficial to the County,” she said.

Governor Cuomo calls for Permanent 2% Tax Cap

Vision Board and staff were out earlier this week hearing from Governor Cuomo in downtown Hicksville.

The Governor presented his plan for a continuation of the tax cap and a middle class tax cut.  Mr. Cuomo has long pushed for a permanent 2% tax cap on income taxes and launched a campaign in recent months to make that a reality.  His campaign was in response to federal tax laws that will cap state and local tax deductions.  In addition to the tax cap, Governor Cuomo is also calling for reduced income tax for middle-class families.

“If we do not have the permanent property tax cap in that state budget, this hand will never sign that state budget until it’s in there,” said Cuomo at the event.

The campaign follows a law that was implemented in 2011 that capped the property taxes at 2%.  Without the law, average Long Islanders would have paid in approximately $4,000 more in taxes per year.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone were there in support of the move as well.

Great to be out with Vision Board member and Hicksville Chambers Lionel Chitty, Nassau Chambers Francesca Carlow, East Meadow Chamber’s Frank Camerano, Huntington Station’s Jim McGoldrick​​ and Greenlawn’s Ken Johnson.

Hempstead Officials Approve Lower Speed Limit on Dangerous Elmont Road, goes to State Officials Next

Town of Hempstead and New York State officials have announced that they will seek a lower speed limit on Dutch Broadway, a dangerous road located in Elmont.

The road was the site of a four-car crash just this past Halloween that injured four teenagers as they were walking on the sidewalk.  Another crash occurred in December, injuring one person.  The thoroughfare runs through the heart of the community and right past the junior-senior high school as well as an elementary school.

“You have to wonder what took so long,” said Gabrielle White, who was severely injured as a 16-year-old on the road. “Looking back, I can’t believe I’m here today.”

The Town passed a resolution this past Tuesday lowering the speed limit to 20 mph by extending the school zone on the road an additional 1,500 feet.  That resolution will now be referred to the state Department of Transportation for final approval.  Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages has already stated that she will seek to expedite the process.

You can read more here.

NYIT to sell most of Remaining Central Islip Campus

The New York Institute of Technology has announced its intent to sell off most of its abandoned college campus in Central Islip.

Located near the federal court complex and the Long Island Ducks baseball stadium, the boarded-up campus had long been considered an eyesore in the surrounding region.  Previously a state hospital, the site has sat unused for 15 years since NYIT closed the college.  Now they will look to sell off 100 acres of the property, which residents are hopeful can lead to a revitalization of the area.

“There’s been some redevelopment at the site, there has been housing and some commercial space, some retail space also,” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander. “Now these remaining acres can be housing, some public space, maybe some job development, but coordinated with the local community and with the town.”

Local residents have expressed a desire to see a community-oriented development on the unused land.  Some have expressed a desire for an indoor-outdoor facility focused on children.  “These buildings, they are an eyesore,” said local resident Leigh-Ann Romain. “They are also a golden opportunity to make something better for Central Islip.”

The site has seen some use since the closing of the campus, with a Family Health Care Center and a dedicated 100+ acre plot used by the Central Islip Union Free School District.  However NYIT, which is a nonprofit, is hoping to sell the land to credible developers who will create buildings to benefit the local community.  The institution is currently in contract with developers for 106 acres on the site who have pledged to do just that.

The Town of Islip has yet to receive application from any developers and the parcel is partially zoned for education purposes.  Any other use would need to be approved by the Town before a project could move forward.

You can read more here.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell Delivers State of the Town

Scott Russel delivered the State of the Town for Southold last Wednesday, touching on a variety of subjects that included the need for affordable housing.

One of the Supervisor’s major goals covered in the speech included the need for affordable housing on the East End and how he would work to create at least 50 new units within the next three years.  He cited the Vineyard View, a new development expected to break ground later this year, as a step in the right direction, but also talked about the need to expand on that.  He talked about future initiatives and how he would work to accomplish the 50-new-units goal.

“We should have no illusions. Fifty apartments is not a lot,” he said, but it is a start to an ongoing issue for the Town. He also noted that fifty more units combined with the Vineyard View project will only address a small portion of the critical need for housing.

Supervisor Russell also talked about how town officials had recently met with the Empire State Development group to discuss beneficial programs to fund grants to help with startup costs for new business, expand small businesses, and other needs.  He also stated that he hoped to streamline the process for small businesses through changes to the permitting process.

The Supervisor would also touch on land use and planning, pointing out a 10-acre parcel on Carroll Avenue that he was hoping could be developed for community recreation.  The Town is also working on a comprehensive plan that they’re hoping to release later this year as well as the results of a traffic study that will hope to create a path forward for development.

The address also included a variety of other subjects such as tourism and its effects on the local wuality of life, agriculture, environmental issues, and capital projects.

You can read more here.

Huntington Village Building looking to Add Third Story Apartments

A building at the corner of New York Avenue and Elm Street in Huntington Village is hoping add a third story and nine apartments to the bustling downtown.

The two-story building currently features a NEFCU bank branch on the first floor and will look to convert the second story from office space into apartments and add a third story with additional units.  The construction of the third story and conversion of office space into apartments was previously approved by the zoning board in 2017. 

The change would not require any new parking in the downtown as the current 40 stalls is more than what is needed for the apartments.  A variance for increase to gross square footage would be necessary for the project as well.

The plan was reviewed by the Huntington Planning board last week as they looked to see if the proposed architecture matched the character of the downtown.  Some of the planning board members expressed concern about the exterior of the NEFCU branch on the first floor, noting that the brick should be consistent across all three floors.The board did not come to a consensus concerning the building, but stated that there would most likely be some necessary revisions before final approval.

You can read more here.

Hempstead to Vote on Franklin Square Theater Landmark Status

The Town of Hempstead Landmarks Preservation Commission has unanimously voted to recommend Franklin Square Theater for landmark status.

The theater was originally opened in 1933 and is one of the few remaining art-deco buildings left in Hempstead.  The vote came after a group of local residents pushed to name the theater a landmark in response to a proposal by the owner to build a three-story self-storage unit right next to it.  This spurred residents into action due to fears that the theater would be torn down after its lease with Bow Tie Cinemas ended in a few years.

The final factor that caused the commission to recommend landmark status was the building’s architectural style, which is readily apparent as being from the 1920’s and 30’s. 

The Hempstead Town Board will take up the matter next and vote on whether or not to grant the building landmark status at a future board meeting.

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.

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.

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

Nassau County OHCD Accepting Applications for Funding under HOME Program

Nassau County’s Office of Housing and Community Development is currently accepting applications for funding under its federal HUD HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program.

The HUD HOME Program can provide incentives to develop and support affordable rental and homeownership housing through:

New Construction

HOME funds can be targeted to affordable units in mixed-income developments to lower the overall development costs associated with the production of affordable housing.  Nassau County OHCD particularly encourages applications for the development of new rental housing in “high opportunity areas” in close proximity to public transportation options and in areas with high performing school districts.

Additional information on income and rent limitations can be found in the “Library Tab” of their on-line application.  The link also incudes a copy of the County’s HOME Program Guidelines, a list of Funding Priorities and other Program-related forms. 

Be sure to complete the Pre-Application by March 22nd to ensure your application is considered this funding round!

Follow the link to our On-Line ZOOM Grants HOME Program Funding 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.

“The trust of a city street is formed over time from many, many little public sidewalk contacts… Most of it is ostensibly trivial but the sum is not trivial at all.” – Jane Jacobs

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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