Smart Talk – May 14th-20th

Check out this week’s Smart Talk with Lt. Gov. Hochul visiting Westbury, highlights of Suffolk County’s State of the County address, notice of an important public meeting next week in Hicksville, and more…

 

Smart Talk header

May 14th – May 20th, 2017

Regional Updates

Molloy College

Molloy College, an independent, Catholic college rooted in the Dominican tradition of study, spirituality, service and community, is committed to academic excellence with respect for each person. Through transformative education, Molloy promotes a lifelong search for truth and the development of ethical leadership.

“We all know the impact of strip malls and other trends that pulled the economic activity out of our downtowns… In New York State, we thought about how we can laser-focus in on the needs of local communities. We want to bring resources back to our downtowns like Westbury… these priorities came from the community – note the resources are from Albany – but the decision making is local as it should be.” -Hon. Kathy Hochul, NYS Lt. Governor

“In order to meet today’s challenges, we need to re-think and reinvent (county) government, to make it more efficient and cost-effective, and ultimately create a leaner operational structure… Whether it is championing the most aggressive water quality program across the State or strengthening public integrity, we will tackle the important issues head on to do what is right by those who elected us to serve.” -Hon. Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive

“This is our first development project in Farmingdale Village and we are thrilled to be a part of the transformation and great momentum happening in the Village.” -Andrew Zucaro, Zucaro Construction

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Please Join Us for the 2017 Long Island Smart Growth Awards!

Congratulations to this year’s honorees:

Regional Leadership


John Cameron, Long Island Regional Planning Council

 

Community Leadership


Delano Stewart, Point of View (Posthumously)

 

Next Generation Award


Ryan Stanton

Long Island Federation of Labor

 

Transportation Choices


C.L.I.M.B.
Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists

 

Housing Choices


Peconic Crossing, Riverhead
Town of Riverhead & Conifer Realty

Revitalizing Communities


Baldwin Revitalization
Nassau County & Town of Hempstead

 

Mix of Uses


Middle Island Revitalization
Longwood Library, Concern Middle Island, & Gail Lynch Bailey

 

Housing Choices


LGBT Housing, Bay Shore
David Kilmnick, LGBT Network, and D&F Development

 

Certainty


TOD Zoning, Great Neck Plaza
Village of Great Neck Plaza & Nemat Development

 

Clean Energy


South Fork Offshore Wind Farm
LIPA & Deepwater Wind

 

Transit Oriented Development


Modera, Hudson House, Searing Ave, Mineola

Village of Mineola & Mill Creek Residential

Revitalizing Communities


The Villas at Glen Cove
Livingston Development Group

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

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Projects Announced for $10 Million Westbury Downtown Revitalization Grant: Lt. Governor Announces New Round of Funding

Vision was out this week in downtown Westbury with Village officials, residents, business owners and the NYS Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul to announce completion of the planning phase of the New York State DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative). Westbury was one of ten awardees for the first round of the program, which will give those downtowns throughout the state $10 million each towards revitalization efforts.

Westbury is one of the most diverse and well-located communities on Long Island. Westbury’s revived downtown, prime location, affordable housing options, walkability and arts/culture activities provide a strong basis for the Village’s continued growth. The Space at Westbury is the only downtown performing arts theater in central Nassau County which brings a new energy and cultural focus to the community. Under the DRI, Westbury is well positioned to advance its existing smart growth and transit-oriented development initiatives while increasing the vibrancy of the downtown area with enhanced arts, culture, and dining opportunities.

Lt. Governer Hochul started off by defining the rationale for the program. “We all know the impact of strip malls and other trends that pulled the economic activity out of our downtowns,” said Hochul. “In New York State, we thought about how we can laser-focus in on the needs of local communities. We want to bring resources back to our downtowns like Westbury.”

The Lieutenant Governor discussed the program further, announcing the projects that will be funded through the $10 million DRI grant that the Village of Westbury won last year. These projects include:

1) Updated downtown rezoning;
2) A facade improvement program including a loan and grant fund to help businesses with upgrades;
3) A focus on getting a craft brewery in town;
4) Streetscape improvements, including bike racks, trees, lighting, and expanded sidewalks to make the community more walkable;
5) Acquisition of land by the Village for public space and redevelopment;
6) A venue for ArtSpace and a permanent location for the Westbury Council for the Arts;
7) Recreation center upgrades;
8) Various intersection improvements.

The Lieutenant Governor reminded the group that “these priorities came from the community – note the resources are from Albany – but the decision making is local as it should be.” The Planning Committee for the project includes Village elected officials, planning board members, residents, businesses owners and civic members. 

Vision was on the DRI planning committee and prepared a design and marketing plan early last year for the Village. While it was originally unclear how half of our recommendations from that plan would be funded, almost all of them can now advance through this process.

Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro closed with a number of thank-yous, saying that he is “gratified that this process has lifted off. While we have spent time planning, we are at the starting gate of physical improvements. Thanks to all involved who helped us get to this point.”

Funding for the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative was included in this year’s budget and the competition round is open with proposals from local municipalities having a due date of June 14th. Over 20 municipalities applied last year with many excellent action plans. Vision encourages the 40 downtowns actively approving Main Street projects to apply this year. You can find more information about this year’s round of DRI funding here, and access the application here.

ATTN: Hicksville Residents, Businesses and Property Owners – Upcoming Town Public Meeting on Downtown Revitalization

The Town of Oyster Bay will hold another public meeting on its proposed re-zoning of downtown Hicksville at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 25 at Hicksville High School.  The meeting will provide an overview of the town’s draft proposal for zoning changes designed to pave the way for new development of the downtown area surrounding the Hicksville LIRR station.   The Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Committee and Vision Long Island will be out to assist the effort.  

In June 2016, Oyster Bay Town Board members Rebecca Alesia and Anthony Macagnone proposed new zoning districts that will allow for a mix of multifamily housing, offices and a variety of retail uses in downtown Hicksville.   The first public meeting had nearly 500 residents, businesses and property owners.   Local residents were largely in support while some interests outside the community were concerned on how to proceed.  

More than 14,000 commuters a day use the Hicksville LIRR station, which is undergoing a $121 million renovation, and there are about 58,000 vehicles driving on the four-lane section of Routes 106 and 107 daily.   Members of the Downtown Hicksville Revitalization Committee have met with officials of the NYS Department of Transportation to recommend traffic-calming measures to make the area more walkable and safer for shoppers and pedestrians, which would be another important component in the downtown makeover.

At the urging of the local community the LIRR has made a $121 million investment in train station upgrades and will be at the meeting to update residents on progress.   The LIRR has also advanced a yet unfunded 3rd Track expansion project that has garnered preliminary community support with the promise of parking improvements.     There have been a preliminary proposal for the Sears property that is outside the proposed zoning district that has been met with some opposition from local residents and is not a subject of the revitalization meeting.  

After the meeting, the Town seeks to move forward with a formal SEQRA  process for the zoning district that will allow additional public input.    A booth for Downtown Revitalization will be at the Hicksville Chamber’s Street Fair on Sunday June 4th as well seeking additional input.   Stay tuned for updates on the Town of Oyster Bay website, Vision and the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce Facebook pages.     

Read the advance notice in LI Business News here.

Leasing for Robinelle Gardens Opens in Farmingdale

Leasing begins this weekend at a new 60-residence apartment complex in Farmingdale.

The project, dubbed Robinelle Gardens, transformed a formerly dilapidated 2.3-acre commercial site at 168 Fulton St. into a mix of 39 one-bedroom and 21 two-bedroom apartments. The development is located about a half-mile from Farmingdale’s Main Street and Long Island Rail Road station.

Robinelle Gardens, named after Zucaro Construction’s President Andrew’s daughters Robin and Michelle, and wife Elena; will be a three story elevator property with a courtyard in between the two buildings, the west building “Robin” and the east building “Michelle”.

“The layouts of the rental apartments are spacious, all units will have a washer and dryer, and the two bedroom units have two bathrooms and are set-up like two bedroom suites,” said Zucaro.  “This is Zucaro Construction’s first development project in Farmingdale Village and we are thrilled to be a part of the transformation and great momentum happening in the Village.” The rental residences feature gourmet kitchens with quartz countertops, and wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances that include microwave ovens and dishwashers. The pet-friendly complex also allows cats and small dogs.

The one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments at Robinelle Gardens are priced at $2,250 a month and the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments are priced at $2,950 a month.

For more information visit about Robinelle Gardens, click here.

Molloy’s Energeia Program Takes a Tour of Downtown Farmingdale

This week Vision’s board and staff headed out to Main Street in downtown Farmingdalefor a tour for members of  the Molloy’s Energeia Program. The Energeia Program brings together a diverse group of ethical leaders from Long Island’s public, private and not-for-profit sectors to help address this region’s most complex issues: education, institutional racism, poverty and the working poor, land use, energy, transportation, healthcare and media/social networking.

Energeia Alumni and Vision Director Eric Alexander also took part in led the group to some of Farmingdale’s newest eateries, craft beer and coffee shops, and mixed use development all near the local train station.  The group toured one of the multifamily developments led by builder Anthony Bartone.

Special thanks to  Energeia Alumni and Vision Board member Neal Lewis for coordinating the tour and Village of Farmingdale Trustees Pat Christiansen, Cheryl Parisi and Village Administrator Brian Harty for hosting the group. Those attending were able to get a feel of what a revitalized downtown has to offer for those living there and visiting.

Suffolk County Executive Bellone Delivers 6th State of the County Address

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone presented his sixth State of the County Address this week at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood to a crowd of over 300 elected officials and community leaders. He outlined an ambitious set of proposals including efforts to reinvent government, strengthen ethics and public integrity, continued emphasis on revitalization of communities, and to continue to work on the water quality crisis on Long Island. 

“In order to meet today’s challenges, we need to re-think and reinvent government, to make it more efficient and cost-effective, and ultimately create a leaner operational structure,” said County Executive Bellone. “Whether it is championing the most aggressive water quality program across the State or strengthening public integrity, we will tackle the important issues head on to do what is right by those who elected us to serve.”

Since the Great Recession, the County has made significant progress in its recovery.  The current unemployment rate remains at a ten year low and down nearly 50 percent since the recession.  Vacancy rates for office and industrial space for the first quarter of this year are the lowest they have been in five years.  The median home price in Suffolk County has increased by more than 12% since 2011, with home sales surging by 160% since March 2012.

Although the deficit is down from $500 million from when he first stepped into office, the workforce is reduced by more than one thousand positions, and health centers have been shifted to the private sector, the County continues to face challenges financially. Bellone cautioned against relying on the county’s sales tax revenues as a stable revenue source while continuing to stay under the 2% property tax cap. “Relying on steady growth in sales tax is a dicey strategy,” said Bellone, as he discussed ways to reform county government.

County Executive Bellone spoke of expanding job opportunities and creating vibrant downtowns, allowing Suffolk County to be able to attract and retain young talent and grow our tax base, highlighting the Ronkonkoma Hub project as the type of collaborative approach that includes town officials, community residents and innovative developers all working together to rebuild a once blighted area.  These local investments have paid dividends and leveraged $50 million in infrastructure funding through New York State.

Kings Park was highlighted as an example of proper community planning in revitalization after stalled efforts. “All of that changed 2 years ago when the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce and Kings Park Civic Association joined forces to led a community-based visioning and planning process. Working together with Vision Long Island, the Chamber and Civic engaged the community, and urged their neighbors to becoming involved in the process in planning the future of the place that they love.” Bellone said that this community-based planning effort caught the eye of Governor Cuomo and New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to include $20 million in the state budget for sewer infrastructure money for Kings Park’s business district. “This success story is the result of a strategic investment in design and community-based planning,” said Bellone, who went further to highlight other community-based planning efforts underway in Amityville, East Farmingdale and other areas. 

Nearly four years ago, County Executive Bellone declared a water quality crisis on Long Island.  In order to address the issue that has manifested itself over decades, the County Executive launched the “Reclaim Our Water” initiative – a multi-faceted effort that will begin to reverse the decades of nitrogen pollution while also creating local jobs and new industries.  This includes connecting parcels to sewers where it is practical and economically viable, and using new individual active treatment systems in situations where connecting to sewers is not feasible.
 
The County Legislature voted to authorize the Reclaim Our Water: Septic Improvement Program this week, a pilot that will provide grants of up to $11,000 using funds from the County’s Drinking Water Protection Program, which will effectively cut the cost of purchasing the systems by more than half.  Residents who opt to participate will be able to finance the remaining cost of the systems, up to $10,000 over 15 years, at a low fixed interest rate.  Altogether, the grant and loan program could eliminate the initial out-of-pocket cost of a system costing nearly $18,000 to less than $650 per year, or $54 per month.  The program sets an initial goal of replacing 200 systems per year over the first two years of the program.

The County has also begun design work for sewering other projects. These include the industrial area surrounding MacArthur Airport and an extension of a sewer main to Sayville.  Design work is also underway on the four projects that make up the Suffolk County Coastal Resiliency Initiative, which will use $388 million dollars from post-Superstorm Sandy resiliency funding to connect nearly 10,000 parcels along the Carlls, Connetquot, Patchogue, and Forge Rivers to active treatment.

The blight in communities caused by zombie homes was also discussed, with Bellone saying that the Suffolk County Landbank will be a key mechanism in turning zombie homes over to first-time homebuyers and back on tax rolls. The newly-established Landbank will leverage a  $2.63 million in grant funding from New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  In the past, contaminated properties would sit for long periods of time, as cleanup costs would be the burden of taxpayers. Cleanup costs would be funded by the developer, and future property uses would be in line with town land use plans. Over the next two years, the Landbank Corporation will partner with Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and the Town of Brookhaven to expand its efforts by focusing attention on North Bellport – a community hard-hit by the mortgage crisis that currently has 108 homes in foreclosure. 

2017 LIBN Real Estate Awards Held in Woodbury

Vision Board and staff were out this week at the Long Island Business News Real Estate Awards at Crest Hollow Country Club.

The annual awards recognize Long Island’s top professionals in the commercial and residential business community. The awardees are some of the most dynamic and successful business people in the region, including commercial and residential brokers, developers and economic development officials. Long Island Business News’ David Winzelberg kicked off the event by noting growth in downtown and transit oriented development with over 2,000 units produced in the last year.

Former Long Island Smart Growth Award winning projects including The Beechwood Organization’s “Marina Pointe” in the Village of East Rockaway and the Gitto Group’s “The Hills” in the Village of Port Jefferson were among this year’s winners. Best Public-Private Partnership went to Renaissance Downtowns in the Village of Hempstead. All three of these projects that were awarded broke ground in the last year. The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, who has supported a number of downtown transit oriented development projects, also won.

Vision Board members in attendance included Renaissance Downtown’s Don Monti; Forchelli, Curto & Deegan’s Judy Simoncic, and Long Island Business News’ Scott Schoen, who was also the evening’s host. Other supporters of Smart Growth projects out as well were Sabre Real Estate and Cushman & Wakefield.

Transportation Secretary Chao Speaks at Infrastructure Week in Washington D.C.

Infrastructure week kicked up in Washington D.C. this week, with a packed agenda discussing the challenges failing infrastructure poses to our jobs and businesses, and the policies, technologies, and projects that will define our infrastructure future.

This year’s theme was Time to Rebuild, with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao opening up Infrastructure Week with the keynote address. Secretary Chao defined infrastructure as “the backbone of our world-class economy… It is a key factor in productivity and economic growth, which has provided millions of hand-working Americans with a standard of living that is truly the envy of the world.” Secretary Chao lauded President Trump’s plans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, saying that “he has made revitalizing, repairing and rebuilding our county’s infrastructure one of his top priorities,” adding that the Administration will be releasing details on the proposed infrastructure plan in the next several weeks. 16 government agencies collaborated to work towards a plan to implement infrastructure improvements, along with private sector stakeholders, and state and local elected officials. Chao said that $200 billion dollars of federal infrastructure funding will be made available in order to leverage $1 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next 10 years.

Regulatory changes to speed up the process of approving projects was discussed, with the FHA already reducing some of the “regulatory burden”. The I-85 bridge in Atlanta that collapsed on March 31st, 2017 was highlighted as a project that went right, with the bridge being replaced in just 49 days after collapse. Within 12 hours, the Department of Transportation released $10 million in emergency funding to help replace the bridge, along with expedited, and a supply chain within 2 hours of the site was identified.

The Secretary said that there is much room for improvement as new reforms are implemented, and will “shift the focus beyond what is being built, to how projects are being funded and financed.” She said that states and localities that have secured funding will be given priority, with federal funding used more as of an incentive to get state, local, and private funding for projects. “This approach is in line with studies that shows that federal spending often substitutes rather than augments state and local funding in infrastructure”. The Secretary said that currently, less than one fifth of infrastructure spending is federal, with the rest coming from state, local, and private funding. “A few special projects that are not candidates for private investments will likely be identified and funded directly,” said Chao. “Candidates for the special category may include projects that have the potential to significantly increase GDP growth or to lift the American spirit.”

The Secretary spoke of well-paying jobs and vocational training in high schools and trade unions to help job growth for infrastructure projects, while utilizing innovation and technology to get the infrastructure projects complete.

Vision has been a co-sponsor for Infrastructure Week since its inception and was in DC to support the initiative as well as help weigh in on changes to DOT, HUD and other Federal policy priorities.  

Other topics of Infrastructure Week included increasing innovation and technology, collaboration between all levels of government, the future of Smart Cities, resilient water management, the importance of broadband in Smart Communities, public-private partnerships, and more. You can check out more on Infrastructure Week’s website.

Brett’s Bicycle Recycle Safety Event to be Held on May 20th

Brett’s Bicycle Recycle Safety Event is an annual event with lots of bicycle safety giveaways and three awesome bicycles that will be raffled off to anyone attending! There will also be food, cupcakes, shirts and donated items that will be raffled off. Come check out DJ Adam Boyer while getting educated about bicycle riding safety and bicycle equipment safety!

The event will take place at the Tri-Community and Youth Agency at 310 West Hills Road in South Huntington on May 20th from 11 am to 2 pm.  You can view the event page on Facebook here.

2017 Healthy Kids Day at Wyandanch Station Plaza on May 20th

Wyandanch Station Plaza will be featuring the 2017 Healthy Kids Day this Saturday, May 20th from 11am-2pm. The event was previously postponed due to weather concerns.

Healthy Kids Day is all about building on the “wow” factor inside every kid. This free event will be filled with fun, healthy activities, games, arts & crafts, giveaways, and more! Kids can enjoy rockwall climbing, family dance classes, obstacle course, scavenger hunt, bouncy houses, facepainting, basketball, and more. Healthy snacks and refreshments will be available.

The event will be held at Station Plaza, 40 Station Drive in Wyandanch.

For more information, click here.

NYMTC Regional Transportation Plan: Long Island Meetings to be Held May 23rd and 24th

NYMTC has announced an opportunity for the public to offer comments and attend various public review meetings for the draft of its new Regional Transportation Plan (Plan 2045), related Congestion Management Process (CMP) Status Report and the draft Transportation Conformity Determination for the Plan and the 2017 – 2021 Transportation Improvement Program.

Long Island events include a Suffolk Event on May 23rd at the Riverhead Legislative Auditorium at the Suffolk County Legislature, Evans K. Griffing Building, located at 300 Center Drive in Riverhead from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.  Also there will be a Nassau event on May 24th at the Nassau County Legislature Chamber located at 1550 Franklin Ave in Mineola from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

You can view a flyer for the events here. You can view the website for the plan here.

Taste of Patchogue Charity Event on May 25th

The annual “Taste of Patchogue” event will be held on Thursday, May 25th from 4:30-7:30 PM at New Village to Benefit the Patchogue Neighbor’s Inn.

Enjoy a night out to support a great cause. Relish in the tastes from a variety of local restaurants serving up savory eats and live music filling the air all night! Blue Point Brewery wil be on hand to pour us some delicious brews.  Crisis Crayons will be performing live throughout the event. Fishbat will be live streaming that day with Raffle Prizes.

Tickets are $10.00 each for food or $20.00 each for food and Blue Point Brewery (3 drink tickets). Tickets can be purchased at New Village office or on the day of the event, at the door.  All proceeds go towards the Patchogue Neighbors Inn, a local soup kitchen.

You can purchase tickets here.

Governor Cuomo Launches Seventh Round of Regional Economic Development Council Competition

We wanted to share the announcement from the Governor’s office regarding the seventh round of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs). Some important details to note:

The application process will start on Monday, May 1. As with prior REDC funding rounds, the application process is through the NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). Information related to the CFA can be found here. All 10 economic regionscan compete for designation as a “Top Performer,” there will be five winners that will receive awards of up to $20 million in grant funds, while the remaining five regions,identified as “Regional Awardees”, will receive up to $10 million in grant funds.

The application deadline is Friday, July 28 at 4:00 p.m.This years priorities include:Identify projects for the State Life Sciences Cluster; Support Downtown revitalization plans; Identify workforce development strategies and shrink the skills gap; Implementing strategies through the project pipeline; andMeasuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.

Resources:
The REDC 2017 Guide Book
2017 CFA Resource Manual
2017 Application Manual
2017 CFA Workshop Schedule (check this list often, as workshops are added frequently)

NYS Climate Smart Communities Grant Program Funding Available

Funding will be available for inventory, assessment, planning and implementation projects that advance the work of municipalities in addressing climate change. Priorities for the 2017 round include specific adaptation actions that reduce flood risk and increase preparedness for future extreme weather conditions, specific mitigation activities related to transportation and reduction of food waste, and specific Climate Smart Communities certification actions that advance municipal ability in the future to implement adaptation and mitigation projects in the identified implementation categories.

A municipal resolution from the lead applicant authorizing application submission and documenting the availability of local match in the event of grant award must be submitted at the time of application.

For general information and questions on the Climate Smart Communities Program, please contact the Office of Climate Change, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Climate Change, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, 518-402-8448, climatechange@dec.ny.gov

Help Wanted

Intern with Vision Long Island!

Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we “wear many hats,” and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.

During a presentation at CNU in Detroit, former Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joe Riley reflected on the role of the built environment: “We have citizens who, that’s all they’ve got. They aren’t going to go to Paris or Rome on vacation.”  So we should build places where, every day, even the least among us, “can clothe themselves with peace and beauty.

“There is no excuse for anything to ever be built that does not add to the beauty of a city.  Every investment in beauty yields an economic payoff. If you build beautiful places — whether they are parks, parking garages, or public housing — the land next to these places becomes more successful. They become catalytic agents to generate economic activity.”

Smart Talk

Editor:
Chris Kyle, Communications Director

Newsletter 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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