Smart Talk May 25th – 31st, 2019

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we support the passage of Commercial PACE legislation in Nassau County, follow the progress of accessory apartments in Huntington, look in on new affordable units in Garden City, and more…

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May 25th – 31st, 2019


Rivkin Radler

Through three offices and 160 lawyers, Rivkin Radler consistently delivers focused and effective legal services. They are committed to best practices, requirements that go beyond professional and ethical standards. Many clients have been placing their trust in them for more than 25 years. Unwavering commitment to total client satisfaction is the driving force behind the firm.

They are the advisors-of-choice to successful individuals, middle-market companies and large corporations. Rivkin Radler’s attorneys are leaders in legal, business and political arenas. Many attorneys have received Martindale Hubbell’s AV Preeminent® ranking, signifying that “a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.” Their attorneys are recognized as leaders by peer-review programs including Best Lawyers/U.S. News & World Report and Super Lawyers. The Firm is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

Their attorneys and professional staff occupy leadership roles in many organizations. They have been named among the Top 100 Private Companies on Long Island by Newsday, and are consistently ranked among the New York Law Journal’s 100 Largest Law Firms in New York.  The Firm is proud to have received Advancement for Commerce, Industry & Technology’s Commitment to Excellence and Leadership award.

“It is nice to see this legislation passed in a bipartisan way with broad support. There is no down side to this because there is no risk or cost to the taxpayer, simply a mechanism that the County will use to allow businesses to opt in. This is designed to finance projects of significant size and should lead to new economic development for large projects. It will also create regional jobs as companies need workers to go up on the roof.” – Neal Lewis, Executive Director of the Sustainability Insititute at Molloy, speaking on the recently passed Commercial PACE legislation in Nassau County

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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.

Nassau County Legislature Authorizes new Commercial PACE Program

The local law to authorize the Commercial PACE program in Nassau County was passed unanimously by the Nassau Legislature this past week. This action will help to advance the clean energy economy and boost local businesses in the County.

New York State’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) public benefit statute Article 5-L, facilitates the financing of upfront costs of authorized energy-related building improvements to eligible buildings in counties where local laws are passed to opt into the program. Commercial PACE financing represents a tremendous opportunity to help businesses in Nassau and Suffolk counties to save money on reduced energy bills, while bringing in capital that can spur millions in investments by local businesses in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

This increased investment will provide a significant economic development on Long Island, creating local jobs and the energy savings that are produced represent dollars that will remain in our local economy, not leave Long Island to pay for fossil fuels.

This is not a new policy, both county legislatures and county executives have supported this program as a non-partisan initiative that enjoys broad support. However, as result of changes at the State level in the structure of the program, new public hearings and votes will be needed in each county in order to re-authorize Commercial PACE under the newly constituted rules. There is a sense of urgency for many solar companies and the businesses looking to put solar on their roofs this year, as the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit will be reduced at the end of 2019.

This important legislation would not have happened without the leadership of Neal Lewis and the Sustainability Institute who has been a leader on clean energy initiatives for many years. Vision was among the 15+ organizations in support since the beginning of this more than two-year effort.

“It is nice to see this legislation passed in a bipartisan way with broad support,” said Mr. Lewis. “There is no down side to this because there is no risk or cost to the taxpayer, simply a mechanism that the County will use to allow businesses to opt in. This is designed to finance projects of significant size and should lead to new economic development for large projects. It will also create regional jobs as companies need workers to go up on the roof.”

Thank you to the Nassau County Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello and his team, and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and her team.

Long Island Receives $24.8 Million in Funding for Affordable Housing

Vision was happy to see a recent announcement from the Governor’s office that Long Island will receive its fair share of NYS funding for green affordable housing opportunities for local communities

The funding is comprised of $24.8 million that will go to three adffordable housing developments in order to preserve or create 175 affordable homes.  This is part of $175.4 million pledged to a statewide initiative aimed at growing the pool of affordable housing in New York.  The awards on Long Island will achieve the State’s housing goal of providing affordable housing and housing with support services for homeless adults, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities, as well as housing in close proximity to public transit.

“These critical investments will strengthen communities in every corner of the state by creating and preserving affordable homes for families, veterans, seniors and some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Governor Cuomo said. “By strategically revitalizing neighborhoods throughout New York, we can breathe new life into these communities, making them more vibrant places to live for generations to come.”

One of the projects includes $9.2 million for Gleneagle Green at Bellport in the Town of Brookhaven, creating 70 affordable homes, 11 of which will serve persons with disabilities, in a transit oriented development.  This project is one of the honorees at the annual LI Smart Growth Awards in June.

The other two winners include Concern Southampton in the Town of Southampton, which is creating 60 affordable units and supportive housing, and Bergen Place in Freeport Village, which will create 45 senior and supportive homes. 

You can read the Governor’s full announcement on funding here.

Town of Huntington seeks Feedback on Accessory Apartment Amendments

Vision was out yesterday providing testimony at the Town of Huntington in support of their proposed amendments to the Accessory Apartment legislation. The ability to legalize existing illegal apartments and bring them up to code along with the creation of new more affordable housing options is worth supporting.

Vision’s Placemaking Director, Elissa Kyle testified in support along with the majority of speakers.  This week, of the Town of Huntington’s proposed amendments to their accessory apartment legislation.  The proposed amendments are to eliminate the restriction on accessory apartments on properties less than 75 feet wide and to allow homeowners with accessory apartments to live in either the accessory unit or the main portion of the house. 

These amendments improve the current legislation by permitting accessory apartments on smaller lots which tend to be located in areas surrounding historic downtowns.  This gives residents the opportunity to live closer to shops, services and transit, reducing their need to drive for every trip.  It can also provide the ability for owners of illegal apartments in Huntington Station and other neighborhoods with smaller lot sizes to legalize the apartments and bring them up to code.

The other amendment which allows homeowners to live in the accessory unit and rent the main house provides flexibility so that families can find housing that fits their needs.  Seniors may need the income of the larger unit more than they need the extra living space and first time homebuyer may be able to afford a house if they can live in the accessory unit until they need the additional space.
Most speakers at the hearing were in support of the changes with only a few opposed.  However, concerns were raised about the Town’s Code Enforcement Department’s ability to handle additional apartments requiring inspection.

Town officials left the public comment period open.

You can read more here.

Nassau IDA Approves Incentives for Affordable Garden City Apartments

The Nassau County IDA has approved a series of tax incentives for developers Southern Land Company to build 150 units in Garden City, including the first 17 affordable units in decades.

Under the agreement Southern Land will pay land-value for the four-acre site in the first three years, around $133,000, and then $22 million for the next 20.  The developers claim the project will produce $19 million in new tax revenue once complete while the currently vacant site only produces $3.1 million annually.  Southern Land will also be exempt from $4.4 million in taxes on construction material purchases as well as another $478,981 on mortgage recording.

“Not only is this an important project for the community. It’s the gateway to Garden City,” said Nassau IDA chairman Richard Kessel. “When you look at what this property would generate undeveloped and what it will now generate, it is a huge win for the community, taxpayers, the village and the school district.”

According to Southern Land, they can begin development of the site within 6 months of approval, which will create approximately 400 construction jobs.  The four-story building will also include 87 one-bedroom apartments, 53 two-bedrooms, and 13 three-bedrooms.  They are hoping to draw mostely from empty nesters and workforce millennials to fill the units.

The new affordable units represent the first type of housing in 50 years for Garden City.  The village is currently under a 2014 consent decree that 10% of all new units be affordable for low-income residents.  This came after a severe lack of such units in the village led to a housing discrimination lawsuit against the municipality.

You can read more here.

Riverhead Holds 23rd Annual Community Mosaic Street Festival

East End Arts has once more transformed Riverhead’s downtown into a canvas for the community’s artistic creativity with another successful Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival.

This was the 23rd straight year for the festival where the community is encouraged to come to the downtown, grab a piece of chalk, and make some art for everyone to enjoy.  Residents would draw any family friendly message they wished and many created tributes to local heroes, landmarks, or just have fun creating!

The downtown festival also included live music from East End Arts musician and activities for families in attendance. 

You can read more and see more pictures here.

Take Action: Help Stop Moratorium on New Heating and Gas Services

As a result of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) recent decision to deny “without prejudice” a water permit for Williams’ Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project, National Grid has stopped processing all applications for new or expanded gas service in Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island.

National Grid will continue to receive applications for new and expanded firm natural gas service from residential, commercial and industrial customers, but none will be processed until the permits are received and the project is allowed to proceed.

This project is important because it creates needed infrastructure for planned downtown projects and new small businesses in local communities.  Without the ability to adequately heat projects, development would slow to an unacceptable rate and progress will stall in many of our downtowns. Vision Long Island board has written letters and provided testimony in support of this progect.

The opportunity is available to write a letter in support of this project.  Head to the Take Action page here to send your message of support.

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.

NYREJ to hold 2019 Long Island State of Market on June 6th

On Thursday, June 6, the New York Real Estate Journal will be hosting a discussion on the 2019 Long Island State of the Market.  The event will take place at the Holiday Inn located at 215 Sunnyside Boulevard in Plainview.

The event will begin at 8 am with an hour of networking followed by two hour-long panels and then another hour of networking with speakers.

Speakers include Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander, Michael Sahn from Sahn Ward Coschigno, PLLC, Pamela Michaels from Asset Preservation, David Hunt from Hunt Commercial Real Estate and Construction, Jennifer Cary from JLC Environmental Consultants, ancy Colella from NYS Sustainable Corp, Christopher Capece from Avalon Bay, and Kenneth Schuckman from Schuckman Realty.

You can register for the event here. 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.

Attendees will enjoy a big party with over 2,000 attendees to help raise money for local charities, unlimited food, drink, networking, & relationship building, no sit-down dinners or speeches, and a chance to hang with athletes and celebrities.  Past guests have included Hulk Hogan, Walt Clyde Frazier, John Starks, Ron Duguay, Doc Gooden, Jimmy Leyritz, Bernie Williams, Scott Stapp from Creed, Big Shot, County Executives, Long Island’s Corporate Elite, and many more

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.

They’re also looking for volunteers! On Saturday, June 1st, a group of volunteers will be gathering for lunch, fun, and to put together a ton of gift baskets for our silent auction. You can also donate anything that can be added to a basket.  (i.e. gift card, liquor bottles, lottery tickets, event tickets, etc.)

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.

LIBN to host Commercial Solar Panel on June 18th

Long Island Business News will host a breakfast and panel discussion titled Why Commercial Solar Right Now on June 18th, from 8 to 10:30 am.  The event will take place at the Heritage Club at Bethpage, located at 99 Quaker Meeting House Road in Farmingdale. 

Listen to an expert panel share all aspects about the potential of solar projects, including: time frame, legal, finance, accounting, permitting, roofing, engineering, construction, use of energy, and interconnection.

Panelists will include moderator Kyle Strober, Executive Director of ABLI, and panelists Bob Burwasser, Carlisle Roof Foam and Coatings, Jeffrey Cohen, Grassi & Co., John T. DeCelle, Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union, Michael Faltischek, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, David Schieren, EmPower Solar, and Michael J. Hults, Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP.

You can register for the event 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:

Firefly Artists hold Grand Reopening in Northport

Vision Board and staff were out in downtown Northport recently at the grand reopening of Firefly Artists space. Expanded gallery and what looks like great event space as well. Awesome work from Katie Thomas Laible​​ and others aiding this Main Street location. Folks should check it out this little piece of artistic culture in a great downtown!

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; 
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

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 for consideration.

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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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