Smart Talk May 11th – 17th, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we join the ribbon cutting for a rehabilitated historic building in Roslyn, look in on the latest proposal for a hotel in downtown Huntington, attend the latest public information meeting in Westbury, and more…

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May 11th – 17th, 2019


The Engel Burman Group

A tireless energy and entrepreneurial spirit is what drives The Engel Burman Group, and has for over 50 years. Building on a solid foundation that includes some of the area’s most known and respected development brands — notably, The Bristal Assisted Living & The Seasons Active Adult Communities — The Engel Burman Group continues to extend its reach, expanding even further on a national scale. Over the last several years, Engel Burman has been broadening its scope, seeing rapid growth and portfolio diversity; developing new and innovative projects, with more on the horizon.

Whether it’s developing, building and managing next-generation housing for first-time homebuyers, creating exceptional yet affordable living solutions for independent active adults, or trailblazing ongoing innovation in senior care and senior living, The Engel Burman Group continues to anticipate, adapt and advance — challenging, rethinking and redefining what’s possible.

“The Roslyn Landmark Society is happy to support the restoration project of the former Senior Citizen building, the redevelopment of this property will benefit Roslyn as well as add to the ambiance of the Historic District.” – Jennifer Lister, director of the Roslyn Landmark Society, speaking on the rehabilitation of a historic, previously blighted building
“The support I received from both PSEG Long Island and National Grid was invaluable. Their funding made this extensive, carefully crafted renovation possible. It is an honor to be recognized by both organizations.” – Michael Puntillo, developer and owner of the historic Roslyn buliding
“We know the Long Island economy thrives on small businesses, which is why PSEG Long Island created the Main Street Revitalization and Vacant Space Revival Programs. These two programs help small business owners like Michael Puntillo get a head start toward a successful future in our downtowns. It is a win-win for all.” – John Keating, PSEG Long Island
“Through our Cinderella grant program, we are happy to support bridging the gap between what the local community wants and what the business community needs by maximizing existing infrastructure and revitalizing this building to add to the community. National Grid is proud to work with Michael Puntillo on this important project in the Village of Roslyn.”. – Kathy Wisnewski, National Grid

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Please Join us for the 18th Annual
Long Island Smart Growth Awards!

Friday, June 14th, 2019
11:00 AM to 2:00 pm
Crest Hollow Country Club






You can view a PDF copy of the flyer here.

Historic Roslyn Building Rehabilitated to Downtown Office Space

Vision Board and staff were out Friday in downtown Roslyn in support of new office space rehabilitating a historic building in disrepair.

It was heartening to see a historic part of the local community revived through the efforts of National Grid and PSEG Long Island, as well as an assist from the Village of Roslyn.  The historic building had sat blighted and dormant for years before two separate grants of $26,000 or more from PSEG and National Grid were awarded.  Developer & owner Michael Puntillo celebrated the building’s official ribbon cutting ceremony Friday with officials from both utilities, the Village of Roslyn and local business groups. The grants were part of PSEG Long Island’s new Main Street Revitalization program and National Grid’s Cinderella Program.

“PSEG Long Island is proud to support our local communities,” said John Keating, manager of economic development for PSEG Long Island.

“We know the Long Island economy thrives on small businesses, which is why PSEG Long Island created the Main Street Revitalization and Vacant Space Revival Programs. These two programs help small business owners like Michael Puntillo get a head start toward a successful future in our downtowns. It is a win-win for all.”

“Through our Cinderella grant program, we are happy to support bridging the gap between what the local community wants and what the business community needs by maximizing existing infrastructure and revitalizing this building to add to the community. National Grid is proud to work with Michael Puntillo on this important project in the Village of Roslyn,” said Kathy Wisnewski, manager of Community and Customer, National Grid.

The two-story brick building was built in the early 20th century, serving at various times as the Nassau County Police Department’s Sixth Precinct Station House and the Lillian M. Pierce Senior Center. It remained vacant for years until Mr. Puntillo brought some luster back to the historic structure. He renovated the space with a new sprinkler system, installed energy efficient windows, and will be installing state-of-the-art HVAC equipment, to create a welcoming, modern environment for new businesses to occupy.

“The Roslyn Landmark Society is happy to support the restoration project of the former Senior Citizen building, the redevelopment of this property will benefit Roslyn as well as add to the ambiance of the Historic District,” said Jennifer Lister, director of the Roslyn Landmark Society.

“Seeing new office space arise out of a rehabilitated historic building will bring jobs while preserving the character of a historic downtown. Kudos to PSEG Long Island and National Grid for their partnership in assisting this important project,” said Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island.

PSEG Long Island’s Main Street Revitalization Program is designed to support the economic vitality of a business district and to optimize the use of existing electric infrastructure. This program offers grants for projects that are expected to improve the economic stability and growth of a local business district. Eligible projects include: interior renovations; facade improvements; streetscape improvements; and other investments that would enhance the economic viability/vibrancy of the business district.

The National Grid Cinderella Program provides matching grants up to $250,000 for eligible costs to municipal, non-profit development corporations and private developers to offset a portion of the costs of redeveloping and revitalizing vacant buildings in critical downtown districts and main street corridors. This program is designed to assist communities in the redevelopment of those underutilized assets. To help improve their economic viability, attract new investment, and capitalize on their distinct development potential.

Mr. Puntillo stated, “The support I received from both PSEG Long Island and National Grid was invaluable. Their funding made this extensive, carefully crafted renovation possible. It is an honor to be recognized by both organizations.”

Huntington sets Hearing Date for Hotel Expansion

Plans are underway to turn the old Town Hall in Huntington Village into an 80-room hotel, which is up from the original 55 proposed.

The proposed hotel is on the docket for a town board hearing scheduled to take place in June.  That town hearing will determine whether or not to extend the Historic Building Overlay zoning district to include a parcel of land east of the old Town Hall for the hotel expansion.   That parcel was included in recent plans of the hotel.

The hotel, which was originally proposed by Huntington-based Old Town Hall Operating Co., will preserve the original Town Hall building as the lobby, lounge, and meeting rooms for the new hotel.  The new wing being proposed in the plans will serve as the guest wing for the hotel.  Expansion of the overlay district will be needed in order to allow for use of the original building for purposes other than those permitted as-of-right in the zoning district it’s currently in.

The original plans for the hotel were approved when they were submitted in 2013.  However, the developer did not obtain a valid building permit for the project before a five-year deadline expired.  The developers are now in talks with Huntington Village Hotel Partners to purchase the site, who is the company that submitted the new, expanded plans for the hotel.

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci has pushed for the hotel, stating that it represents a chance to bring new life to the historic landmark while boosting the local economy.  “Huntington village has always been a destination and the idea of a boutique hotel that pays homage to the building’s past life as the former Town Hall will achieve those goals while bringing the added convenience and comfort of an overnight stay,” Lupinacci said.

“Vision Long Island testified in support of the 2013 version of this hotel,” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander. “Downton hotels are an important complementary use for our main street business distrcts. We hope this expanded version of the project moves forward without delay.”

The public hearing to approve the overlay district expansion will take place at 7 pm on June 18th at Town Hall.
You can read more here.

Westbury holds Public Input Session on TOD Rezoning

Vision was out in the Village of Westbury this week for another public input session on the rezoning of the train station area.

The proposed zoning will give incentives to projects that increase available workforce-priced housing or have a preference for seniors and veterans.  If a project meets that criteria, it can increase building height up to five stories with a larger density bonus.

Dubbed the Maple Union’s Transit-Oriented Development Zone, the new code would also streamline the process for applicants within that area.  They will be able to appear before the board of trustees for all necessary approvals, which should help to keep the time to 6 weeks or less.  The zoning is a product of funding that came from the NYS Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant, which awarded the village $10 million to enact changes in its downtown in a revitalization effort. 

It was good to see resident participation as there was great feedback in the area of design, school district connections and density.

Congratulations to the Mayor, Village Board, and the local organizations in support for keeping this project on schedule.

Rockville Centre hosts Friday Night Bites Food Truck Festival

The first “Friday Night Bites” monthly festival will be held in downtown Rockville Centre on Maple Avenue’s Village Green this Friday, May 17th, from 6 to 9 pm.

The event will feature local food trucks serving a variety of food and was organized business partners Lucia and Tim Petrone, and Marc Derkatch, who all co-own Neapolitan Express Long Island, and Rockville Centre’s Deputy Mayor Kahy Baxley. 

“Food trucks are really big right now,” Derkatch said. “We thought it was a great idea to bring people together on a Friday night. It’s something the community needed.”

The event is centered around the idea of a community gathering on the village green with good eats.  There will also be live music and residents will have the chance to enjoy time outdoors while eating tasty local cuisine.  It also helps out local small business with many of the owners of the food trucks being based on Long Island.

“People love to come out and sample all different types of food,” said Lucia Petrone. “It inspires street food of different nationalities and cultures coming together.  People may choose that night for their family fun or entertainment, instead of staying in or going to a restaurant, to come and sample foods, listen to the music and be with other people.”

After this Friday’s inaugural event, there are two more scheduled nights on June 7th, and August 2nd.

You can read more here.

Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce Hosts 40th Annual Networking Event

Many Vision Board members and staff joined our friends from local chambers at the Nassau Council of Chambers 40th Anniversary networking event.

It was fun to see the crowd of 300, so many of whom we have worked with side by side for many years.  It was especially encouraging to see so many turn out in support of the Council, which has worked tirelessly for decades to improve conditions for local business and the region as a whole.

Kudos to the Board of the Council and the vendors that made the event happen.

Happy to see Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Nassau Legislator Arnie Drucker, NYS Senator Anna Kaplan and Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen out in support.

This event serves as just one more reminder that folks should support their downtown small businesses and shop local.

APA Breakfast focuses on Job Development in Local Communities

Vision Board and staff were out at the APA Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarship Breakfast, which focused on economic development in the New York metropolitan region last Friday.

The event began with the awarding of scholarships that were given to four young planners who were able to attend the National APA conference in San Francisco earlier this spring.  The four scholarship winners presented highlights of what they learned at the conference.  Following those remarks, Carolyn Grossman Meagher from the NYC Department of Regional Planning presented the keynote speech focusing on the excellent “Geography of Jobs” report, which analyzes employment trends in the NYC metro region over the past decade. 

Following her presentation, Vision’s Director Eric Alexander appeared on a panel with Paul Trapani from LISTNet, Jen Gravel from NYC Dept of Planning and Larisa Ortiz focusing on prospects for job development and office space in our downtowns. The panel agreed that these opportunities exist with projects underway but the process of working with local communities is crucial.

Congratulations to chapter President Sean Sallie and his team for putting together a successful event.

SUNY Old Westbury Foundation honors Calvin Butts, Lionel Chitty

Vision Board and staff were happy to be out last week at the SUNY Old Westbury College Foundation’s gala honoring Rev. Calvin Butts and Hicksville Chambers Lionel Chitty.

The event is meant to honor distinguished college alumni as well as local civilians who enrich the local community in distinctive ways.  Honorees will benefit their area economically, scientifically, culturally, intellectually, and socially with efforts that helping to transform the Long Island Region.

Great turnout for deserving nominees!

Public Input Needed for Hiking and Biking Trails in Suffolk

Suffolk County recently launched a new website,, for the public to provide input on the County’s Hike and Bike Master Plan. The site is an interactive map that allows users to make specific comments or recommend routes or improvements to the network of hiking and biking trails in Suffolk County.

Using this new public input tool, residents can ‘drop a pin’ to comment on a specific location, or ‘draw a path’ to connect two points they would like to see better connected.  Comments and recommendations will be collected through May 19th, 2019.

Empire State Development to Hold Town Halls for CFA Assistance Beginning May 20th & 30th

Governor Cuomo launched the ninth round of Regional Economic Development Council Competition, which will award more than $750 million across the 10 REDC regions in New York State. Through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), which opened to applicants on May 1st, businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public can apply for assistance from dozen of state programs for job-creation and community development projects.

To increase public awareness of the CFA, the Long Island team from Empire State Development will be hosting town hall meetings. These town halls give business owners, not-for-profits, and community development organizations the opportunity to learn more about CFA and ask questions. Interested parties can RSVP to Annmarie Proscia at with their location choice.

The Meetings are as follows:

Monday, May 20th
9:00 – 10:30am Town of Smithtown, Town Hall, 2nd Floor 99 W Main St, Smithtown, NY 11787
11:00 – 12:30pm Town of Huntington, Town Hall, 100 Main St, Huntington, NY 11743
1:00 – 2:30pm Town of Oyster Bay, Walter P Bennett Community Center, 28 W Carl St, Hicksville, NY 11801

Thursday, May 30th
9:00 – 10:30am Town of North Hempstead, Town Hall, 220 Plandome Road, Manhasset, NY 11030
11:00 – 12:30pm City of Glen Cove, 9 Glen Cove Street, 2nd Floor, Glen Cove, NY 11542

Please refer to this link for additional information:

LIBN to host Corporate Citizenship Awards on June 5th

Join LIBN on Wednesday, June 5, as they salute professionals and companies that go above and beyond to support the communities they serve.

Long Island thrives on community service. LIBN’s Corporate Citizenship Award honorees consistently prove that true community stewardship evolves through building strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations and others that strive to meet the critical needs of our community.  LIBN’s Corporate Citizenship Awards recognizes companies and individuals who believe that by being a good corporate citizen we contribute to the economic and social well-being of our employees, businesses and the community. 

Honorees include Vision Long Island Board Member Brandon Ray of AT&T for Leadership Excellence, PSEG Long Island for Corporate Citizen of the Year (Large Business), and Jim McCann of 1800 Flowers and George Tsunis of Nassau University Medical Center for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The event will take place from 8 AM to 10 PM at the Crest Hollow Country Club, located at 8325 Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, NY. to Hold 7th Annual Event on June 10th

Join PinkTie for its 7th Annual Event on Monday June 10th, 6-11p, at The Carltun at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow NY, benefiting Stony Brook Children’s 501(c)(3). This is the MUST-ATTEND EVENT of the year, hosted by the largest and fastest-growing charitable networking organization on Long Island.

What began as a small business-networking effort with a charitable bent has become the backbone of Long Island’s fastest-growing philanthropy movement – a collaborative “Go-Giving”.  The annual Event, which has grown from an inaugural event with about 350 attendees is now Long Island’s must-attend fundraiser seeing over 2,500 attendees and raising over $500,000.

Event sponsors enjoy unparalleled branding opportunities prior to and throughout the event, including prominent logo placement during the event and coverage by, News 12, Newsday and Innovate Long Island. Sponsors are also mentioned by name in event previews on radio spots, digital, print, social media and other regional media outlets.

You can see more information and purchase tickets and sponsorships here.

Inaugural Battleground Games to take place at Heckscher State Park on June 8th

The first in what is hoping to be an annual tournament of lawn games is set to take place on June 8th at Heckscher State Park in East Islip.  The tournament will feature popular backyard games such as Cornhole and KanJam as well as cash prizes ranging from $75 to $1,000.

The tournament will go all day and feature eight different games as teams seek to qualify for a single-elimination playoff to determine the Champion.  There will also be prizes, music, food, and drinks.  Games being played will include Bottle Bash, Paddle Zlam, TriCrosse, Cornhole, Kubb, KanJam, Rampshot, and QB54.

There are spots for only 96 teams and anyone interested in competing can register for the event here.

Governor Cuomo Announces New Round of Funding for Downtown Revitalization

For the fourth straight year the Governor and the Legislature have approved $100 million towards downtown initiatives across NYS.  This item in the NYS budget was on the agenda for the 100 organization LI Lobby Coalition in Albany.

On Long Island, the three past winners include Village of Westbury, Town of Oyster Bay for Hicksville, and the Town of Islip for Central Islip.  Now a new downtown on Long Island will receive $10 million in funding again this year.  The winner is selected from, on average, about 20 applications have been submitted over the last three years.

The program provides $10 million in funding to a downtown in each of the 10 economic regions in the state.  The goal is to quickly boost local economies and to help foster vibrant neighborhoods with a higher quality of life.  The winning applicant is selected by the local Regional Economic Development Council, who will thoroughly evaluate the potential of each downtown that applies.

This year the proposals are due by 4 p.m. on May 31, 2019. 

Criteria for applicants include:

  • The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
  • The downtown is able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas;
  • There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
  • The downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers;
  • The municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes and parking standards, complete streets plans, energy efficient projects, green jobs and transit-oriented development;
  • The municipality should have conducted an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a DRI strategic investment plan; and
  • The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.

Once selected, a local planning committee is selected that is comprised of local leaders, stakeholders, and key government officials.  This group will overs the development of a strategic plan for the downtown and recommend funding opportunities for the grant money.  It is expected that the funds provided will supplement local investment and build upon itself once the process is concluded.

You can read more about the DRI process and apply here.

Round 17 of Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization still 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.

NYS DEC Providing Funding for Environmental Justice Grants

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) will provide state assistance funding through the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant program to community-based organizations for projects that address exposure of communities to multiple environmental harms and risks (“projects”).

Approximately $4,375,929 is available. Applicants may be awarded up to $100,000 each until funding has been exhausted.

All projects must have defined objectives, tasks, and deliverables accounted for in performance measures that can be completed and invoiced within a 36-month contract period/term. Applicants should not begin their projects or incur costs until a Master Contract for Grants (MCG) has been fully approved by DEC, and if applicable approved by the Attorney General and the State Comptroller.  Applicants should not submit an application if they do not anticipate their project can be completed within the specified contract term.

Applicants may submit up to three applications, however, only one application per applicant may be funded. Multiple applications may not be for the same project or projection location.

Projects must serve an EJ community, as defined in DEC Commissioner Policy 29, Environmental Justice and Permitting (available on DEC’s website at:

To apply for this opportunity and for more information surrounding this grant, please go here.

Round IX open for Regional Economic Development Council Competition

Announcing funding for Round IX of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, officially kicking off the 2019 competition for more than $750 million in state economic development resources. The Consolidated Funding Application is now open, enabling businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public to begin applying for assistance from dozens of state programs, through a single application, for job-creation and community development projects.

The Regional Councils will compete in 2019 for up to $150 million in capital funds and $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits for projects identified by the Regional Councils as priorities in their regions. All ten regions will be competing this year for designation as a Top Performer. Five top performing regions will be awarded a share of $100 million in ESD Capital grants. The remaining five regions will be awarded a share of $50 million in ESD Capital grants. Each region will also be awarded a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.

In addition, each region will once again receive $10 million to implement projects identified through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and projects from all 10 regions submitted through the CFA will be eligible for over $525 million in other state agency funds.

The 2019 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources will be accessible at deadline for applications is Friday, July 26 at 4 p.m. For applicants, the CFA is available at

#MadeToMove Grant Program Underway

The #MadeToMove Grant Program from Unilever’s Degree Deodorant and Blue Zones – a competitive funding opportunity to assist communities in advancing active transportation through local project development, implementation and supporting policies – is officially underway!

Communities throughout the United States now realize that growing a program in active transportation is an essential way to help all citizens live fuller, healthier, longer lives. The program is a competitive funding opportunity created to assist communities in advancing active transportation through local project development, implementation and supporting policies. With the ultimate goal of promoting more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly environments for all ages, incomes and abilities, this funding opportunity will be awarded to five mid-sized communities in the United States. Each community will receive $100,000 plus technical assistance from the Blue Zones, LLC, built environment team.

The link to apply can be found here:

A Message from Vision Long Island on the Natural Gas Moratorium…

In a surprise to actually no one watching this issue National Grid, like Con Ed in Westchester, has stopped accepting new applications for natural gas service to heat new residential or commercial development.

Regular folks that were impacted did not engage on this but lots of others did.

Sadly proponents of the pipeline led with the industry argument instead of presenting real people to explain what the impact would be.

More extreme environmental arguments simply said we shouldn’t use more fossil fuels – period. Regardless of economic impact.

In a war of extremes – everybody loses.

An alternate to the message of simply “ build it it is good for you” would be to have: Real business owners that can’t open, real downtown apartment buildings that won’t open and folks attempting to move into a home and resort to home heating oil.

Another case that could be made was to look at the economic impact of a moratorium on planned development in our downtowns, new affordable housing and small businesses looking to open.

In the short term this should be a boon to the home heating oil companies. 

In theory the renewable energy industry also has a tremendous opportunity.

Are they ready to deliver in a cost effective manner? Of course there are massive questions and concerns but the opportunity is in front of them. I hope they take it and help solve this manufactured problem.

The Vision Long Island Board supported the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project as a transition to a renewable future. 

We encourage future growth to be driven without carbon emissions – but not by economically harming local businesses, renters and homeowners.

Some folks were joyfully hostile to that decision. I also guarantee there will be an equal level of hostility to folks caught in a moratorium or who have to pay radically more for heating their business or home.

We need to take a look at how some of these regional planning decisions impact real people.

We will be working in the coming months to sort out how renewable technologies can be employed to heat the next wave of new community supported downtown redevelopment. 

For coverage from Newsday, check here.

To join National Grid in taking action here.

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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