Check out this week’s Smart Talk with updates on Hicksville, Baldwin, Glen Cove, and more…
November 13th – November 19th, 2016
PSEG Long Island
PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of $10.4 billion and operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a 12-year contract.
They pledge to build a Long Island utility with PSEG’s same record of service, reliability and customer satisfaction. It will take some time to make all the improvements they’re planning, but in the end, they plan to create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud. Keeping the lights on isn’t just a job: It’s a mission.
“We want to see downtown Hicksville revitalized and are glad to hear feedback from the residents and local businesses.” – Oyster Bay Town Councilman Anthony Macagnone speaking on plans to revitalize downtown Hicksville
“We need a destination, we need a downtown. We need people to come spend time, live, work and play in that area.”– Lionel Chitty, Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, speaking on plans to revitalize downtown Hicksville
“The community is ready for it. We need housing for young people. We’ve got this amazing opportunity.” – Town of Oyster Bay Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia speaking on plans to revitalize downtown Hicksville
“Restoring the waterfront to productive use for the community will bring a much needed economic boost to the Glen Cove community in the form of jobs, tax revenue to the city, and hundreds of millions in spending by new residents.” – RXR CEO Scott Rechler speaking on the imminent goundbreaking of Garvies Point
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Town of Oyster Bay Reveals Proposed Zoning Revisions for Hicksville
Last night the Town of Oyster Bay revealed their proposed zoning revision concepts for downtown Hicksville. Easily twice as many residents attended the presentation as were expected, close to 500 filled the bleachers in the high school gym. Vision Director Eric Alexander and Hicksville Chamber of Commerce President Lionel Chitty kicked of the event and gave some background on what work has been done so far. Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia and Councilman Tony Macagnone addressed the crowd stating their commitment to moving forward a revitalization that the residents wish to see and Legislator Rose Walker also showed support for revitalization and bringing back the downtown that so many remember. John Ellsworth of Cashin Spinelli & Ferretti, the town’s planning consultant, presented the proposed zoning changes which were inspired by the zoning recommendations in the Downtown Hicksville Revitalization Action Plan.
The proposed zoning splits the current Central Business District zone into two zones, a mixed use downtown zone which allows for retail and restaurants as well as multi family housing, and a transit zone centered around the train station that allows for office and employment opportunities as well as a special permit for multi family residential development. The mixed use zone would lower the allowable building height from 60 feet to 40 feet and allow three stories and the transit zone would allow 50 foot tall, four story buildings.
Feedback during the question and answer period showed support for the overall concept, but concerns about traffic, parking, school and tax impacts. There was also a desire to include design guidelines or an architectural review board to ensure that any new development raised the aesthetic of the area to make it attractive to shoppers. Some local businesses also showed concern that they would be forced out, so it was clarified that no eminent domain would be used to force anyone off of their property. Finally some expressed a lack of trust in the Town to move the project forward based on past projects that did not move forward and also potential changes in leadership.
Moving forward the town will post the presentation on their website and continue to accept written comments. They will review the many written comments that were submitted and further refine the proposed zoning. Before any changes to the zoning take place, a formal SEQRA review will analyze the potential traffic, infrastructure and other impacts of a change in zoning. The Hicksville Downtown Revitalization committee will also meet to review the changes in more detail with new members who have expressed interest in helping out.
You can read Newsday’s coverage of the event here.
You can also look at the plan in it’s entirety on Oyster Bay’s website here.
First Meeting Held for the Baldwin Downtown and Commercial Corridor Resiliency
This Wednesday, the first public meeting for the Baldwin Downtown and Commercial Corridor Resiliency study was held at the high school. Close to 200 residents attended the open house style meeting to share their thoughts on the future of Baldwin. The study, which funded through New York Rising Community Reconstruction and being conducted by Nassau County, focuses on improving the storm resiliency, economic resiliency and transportation options to help the community better weather future conditions. Legislator Laura Curran and Nassau County Planning Division Supervisor Sean Sallie kicked off the meeting. The planning team for the study is led by VHB and includes Kevin Dwarka Land Use & Economic Consulting, Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc., LiRo Engineers, Traffic Databank, and Vision Long Island.
Several nodes along the Grand Avenue corridor were the primary focus of the meeting, though all of the commercial corridors are included in the study including Sunrise Highway, Merrick Road, Milburn Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. Residents were asked to vote on ideas for what they would or would not like to see in these locations. Ideas included housing, diverse retail, green infrastructure and improved parking as well as others. The focus areas included the northern gateway into Baldwin near the Fairway Shopping Center, the commercial area close to the high school and the area surrounding the train station. Votes are still being counted, but a variety of shops and restaurants seemed to be one of the most popular ideas proposed.
Residents were also asked to contribute any suggestions that may not have been covered in the focus areas. Many residents expressed a need for a grocery store in the northern part of Baldwin since the Pathmark closed, there was also a desire for a community center and pool. Many wanted tax positive development to offset their property taxes.
The next step for this study is review all of the input gathered from the public as well as the existing conditions data that has been collected and see what types of changes and improvements are feasible. The planning team will identify a series of recommendation that can be implemented and analyze the potential impacts of those recommendations with regards to taxes, traffic and other factors. The recommendations will be presented to the public in the spring of 2017. For more information or to submit ideas, please visit the study website at: http://www.baldwindccrstudy.com/
Garvies Point Mixed-Use Development Groundbreaking Scheduled for Next Month
The developers of the $1 billion Garvies Point mixed-use project in Glen Cove will hold a groundbreaking ceremony next month on Tuesday, Dec 6 at 10 a.m. at the Glen Cove Ferry Terminal, after lawsuits, longer than anticipated site remediation, and poor market conditions slowed progress on the project.
More than 13 years after the project was first pitched, development partners Uniondale-based RXR Realty and Farmingdale-based Posillico along with City of Glen Cove opened the complex’s welcoming center in May. The Garvies Point redevelopment will eventually bring 555 rental apartments, 555 for-sale condos, about 75,000 square feet of retail and office space and 28 acres of waterfront esplanades and parks to the site formerly occupied by heavy industry and junkyards. Construction will begin next month on the project’s first phase, which includes six buildings of four, five and six stories on the eastern portion of the property that will contain the rental apartments and about 25,000 square feet of retail.
Manhattan-based Pizzarotti-IBC is the project’s construction manager and Joseph Roussine, a Glen Cove resident and the company’s vice president of construction will oversee building at the 56-acre redevelopment on Glen Cove Creek. RXR recently completed its $125 million bond sale for Garvies Point. Bids for the bonds exceeded the total available by more than 500 percent, according to an RXR statement.
Scott Rechler, RXR CEO, said the success of the bond sale “speaks volumes about the strength of this project” and its investor confidence. “Restoring the waterfront to productive use for the community will bring a much needed economic boost to the Glen Cove community in the form of jobs, tax revenue to the city, and hundreds of millions in spending by new residents,” Rechler said in the statement.
The two lawsuits by neighboring communities were dismissed in August by some residents of Sea Cliff and several area residents who opposed the plan due to the height of the buildings and obstruction of views of the waterfront and sunsets. You can read more about the groundbreaking of the long-anticipated project in Long Island Business News.
Study Finds School Districts Responsible for Tax Increases, Not Green Acres Mall PILOT
After residents in three school districts, community leaders and elected officials were up in arms over PILOTs and tax incentives that were granted by the Town of Hempstead IDA in 2014 to help rehabilitate and expand Valley Stream’s Green Acres Mall, six out of 7 IDA board members have resigned their position this week.
In December of 2014, the town’s IDA had granted the mall’s owner a sales tax exemption of $6 million, a mortgage recording tax exemption, and a $14 million PILOT over 10 years, with an option to extend it for five more years. The tax break will shrink the mall’s tax payments by about $6 million annually for the 10-15 year period starting this year, with the financial burden being shifted over to Valley Stream properties. The first round of tax bills that were affected by the increase just came out; on average, October’s tax bills increased between $322 and $758 in school districts 13, 24 and 30.
Residents that are now realizing the increase say that they were not aware of the impact that the tax breaks would have on their taxes, and were not given proper notice of the meeting to speak out against the decision. After over 500 residents met last month angered over the increases, a study was conducted to analyze the PILOT to see why taxes increased so greatly.
The study, conducted by Camoin Associates, noted that there will be 1,003 new jobs created in the Town following the completion of the project, including the 820 direct new on-site jobs above what would have existed at the Green Acres Mall and Commons if the project didn’t occur. A total of $266 million will be paid by the mall’s owners over the 15-years of the PILOT, resulting in $12.8 million more to be paid compared to what the property tax payments would have been. The study did find that the most recent school tax bill did increase between $324 and $758 (depending on which of the three affected school districts that the house is located), however, did not agree that some of the tax increases were directly caused by the PILOT. It was found that “both the CHSD and SD30 intentionally undercounted the amount of PILOT revenue that each would receive from the project by over $3 million”, causing more of a tax levy to their residents. Budget increases of 1 to 2 percent also played a role in the increases; both of those factors combined accounted for a total of $222, $173 and $342 of the tax increases, or nearly or more than half of some of the increases in the three school districts.
“After accounting for the above two effects, we are left with the balance of $103, $149 and $415 of impact for the typical Class 1
Six new IDA board members were appointed this week, with the once member that did not resign staying on since he arrived to the board after the PILOT was approved. The new board says that it is too early to tell if the PILOT will be modified or rescinded in any way. You can read more about the changes to the IDA board in Newsday, and view the full report here
Long Island Business Hall of Fame Inductees Awarded
Vision Board and staff were out last week for the Long Island Business News’ “LI Business Hall of Fame” Awards at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
The event includes the most distinguished leaders in our business community. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor for those who demonstrate a commitment to excellence; past, present and future. Attendees also had the opportunity to network with these influential leaders and learn about their secrets to success. Inductees were selected by a committee of the top business leaders across Long Island.
Long Island Federation of Labor’s (and Vision Long Island board member) John Durso and Island Harvest’s Director Randi Dresner were inducted along with the Crest Hollow Country Club’s Rich Monti, Spectronic’s Chairperson’s Jon Cooper, Hofstra’s Gail Prudenti, Congressman Peter King, Sal Ferro of Alure Home Improvements, and Dr. Bruce Stillman from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Kudos to Long Island Business News’ Scott Schoen and his team for recognizing the years of hard work for Long Island from the many deserving honorees.
“Discover Long Island” Brand Launched to Increase Regional Tourism
The Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau & Sports Commission welcomed hundreds at the Patchogue Theater earlier this month for their annual meeting and a rebranding.
Although a long, confusing name will lose a lot of syllables, Discover Long Island, as it will now be called, will continue to grow the tourism industry on Long Island. “It was long overdue,” said Discover Long Island President Kristen Jarnagin, who joined the organization last year. “It’s a national trend that other destination marketing organizations have embarked upon: to choose a name and identity that not only reflects the destination appropriately, but that also connects our name with our mission. It’s a call to action: We want people to discover Long Island.”
According to Discover Long Island, 234 million travelers visited New York State in 2015, bringing $102 billion in total economic impact — a nearly 26 percent increase from 2010. The Long Island tourism region has seen a 3 percent increase in traveler spending in one year, up to nearly $5.5 billion last year, while supporting over 100,000 local jobs. That number is expected to continue to grow, which is why Discover Long Island is revving up an international ad campaign to encourage travel to our island.
Discover Long Island’s enhanced website gives plenty of ideas for visitors, highlights special offers and events, and gives visitors a glimpse of what Long Island has to offer. From part of the efforts of the former LICVB, the New York State Tourism Industry Association recognized the campaign with the Cultural Tourism Award, marking the first time that the Long Island region has received such recognition.
Sign the Petition: Add LIRR Shuttle for Roslyn/Port Washington
The Long Island Bus Riders’ Union is asking Long Islanders to help Amsterdam at Harborside as well as other destinations push for added NICE bus service along West Shore Road in Port Washington and Roslyn.
Public bus service on West Shore Road, Port Washington/Roslyn can be accomplished by a shuttle from Roslyn LIRR station to North Hempstead Beach Park. Alternatively the present NICE N23 bus route could be extended north on West Shore Road to the North Hempstead Beach Park.
Public bus transportation will provide service to:
You can sign the petition to help add bus service to these locations and share via email and social media by clicking here.
Upcoming Huntington Community Summit on Rental Housing
The Huntington Township Housing Coalition and the League of Women Voters of Huntington will be hosting a Community Summit on Rental Housing on Saturday, November 19th from 8:30AM-12PM.
Keeping Our Young People in Huntington: The Need for Affordable Rental Housing and Downtown Revitalization will continue the Town-wide conversation on the need for affordable rental housing that began with Ruland Road and then the HTHC public education campaign, raise awareness and strategize next steps to secure Town Board support.
The Opening Plenary, Cool Downtowns Are Needed and Possible, will feature Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri as the Keynote Speaker, describing the success Patchogue’s revitalization with its emphasis on affordable housing. The Reaction Panel, moderated my Dr. Richard Koubek of the Suffolk County Welfare to Work Commission, will include Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone, Peter Elkowitz of LIHP, Mitch Pally of LIBI, Russell Albanese of the Albanese Organization, and Elissa Kyle from Vision Long Island.
Three breakout sessions (Youth Flight from Huntington, Political and Decision-making Resources for Creating Affordable Rental Housing, and Density and Multifamily Housing: Coping with Sewage, Traffic and Water Conservation) will take place before the Closing Plenary.
Admission to this event, which will take place at the Cinema Arts Centre, is free.
For more information or to register, please click here.
Support Small Business Saturday November 26th
Seven years ago, American Express created Small Business Saturday in response to small business owners’ most pressing need – getting more customers during the busy holiday shopping season.
Last year, 95 million consumers shopped small on Small Business Saturday, up 8.2 percent from 2014. In addition, U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent $16.2 billion at local and independent businesses on the day. President Obama and elected officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have championed Small Business Saturday in their local communities. “It’s grown into a national movement,” said Amy Marino, a vice president for American Express who heads up Small Business Saturday for the New York-based financial company. “The foundation is definitely set to make this Small Business Saturday the best one yet.”
This year Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26. Even more consumers and communities are coming together to show their love for all types of small businesses (from retail shops and restaurants to fitness studios and record stores) on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year. Small business owners can register their business, download and print marketing materials for the event, and see examples of what some communities are doing to give Small Business Saturday a push. Consumers can view participating businesses on an interactive map, as well as see where they can double “rewards points” and receive other benefits besides helping their local business.
You can learn more about participating businesses for Small Business Saturday, and see ways to support your local businesses by clicking here.
21st Annual Port Jefferson Village Dickens Festival
The Village of Port Jefferson, in conjunction with the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, will be presenting the 21st Annual Charles Dickens Festival on December 3rd and 4th throughout the Village of Port Jefferson.
The Village of Port Jefferson will magically transform into the Dickensian era with streets filled with roaming characters such as Father Christmas, Dickens Mayor, Scrooge, the Town Crier and the beloved chimney sweeps.
The events are open to the public and most attractions are free of charge, so everyone- from the very young to the young at heart can join in the fun. The festivities will feature many returning favorites; ice skating at the Village Center, acapella performances by choirs and harmony groups, Nutcracker performances, magic shows by The Great Wizard of the North, and many fine musical performances by area musicians. In addition, this year’s festival will feature Theater Three’s 33rd Annual production of a Christmas Carol.
Down Payment Assistance Program Extended for Suffolk County
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined by Legislator Kara Hahn and Community Development officials to announce the extension of the Suffolk County Down Payment Assistance Program this week. The financial program assists first time homebuyers with down payment funds in order to obtain homeownership.
“Having access to homeownership can be critical to the long-term stability of families and helps strengthen communities,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Yet, for many first time homebuyers, coming up with down payment funds is an insurmountable obstacle that can deny them the chance to own a home. This program helps to address that issue.”
Assistance will provide up to $10,000 in grant funding to eligible first time home buyers – helping an additional 35 Suffolk County families. A first-time homebuyer is defined by HUD as a person or persons who have not owned a home in the past three years. Since the program’s inception, Suffolk County has helped more than 1,700 families with down payments on their first homes. The area, known as the consortium area, includes all of Suffolk County, with the exception of Babylon and Islip Townships.
“It is important that we have young people stay here in Suffolk County, to work here, to live and recreate,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. ” I’d like to thank the folks from Community Development to make this a reality for individuals to stay. And it’s great to see that our residents are utilizing of this program.”
Some of the eligibility requirements outside of the “first-time homebuyer” provision include having an income of 80% or less than the area median income, having at least $3000 cash at the time of their application, a documented minimum income of at least $30,000 a year, and being able to qualify for a mortgage. The maximum purchase price for a single-family home, co-op or condominium for the program is $356,000.
Applications for the program are being accepted through November 30, 2016. Residents inside of the consortium area can download the application and view eligibility criteria and other information about the program through the Community Development tab on the County’s website, www.suffolkcountyny.gov. Applications will be accepted by mail only and can also be requested from the Community Development Office at (631) 853–5705. You can also check out News 12 for media coverage regarding the announcement.
Park & Trail Partnership Program
Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, are pleased to announce the second round of competitive grants through the NYS Park and Trail Partnership Program. This program is open to Friends organizations that support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites and is administered by PTNY, in partnership with OPRHP.
The Park and Trail Partnership Program is a $500,000 capacity-building matching grants program funded through the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. The program is designed to enhance the preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and promotion of New York State parks, trails and state historic sites; increase the sustainability, effectiveness, productivity, and volunteer and fundraising capabilities of not-for-profit organizations that promote, maintain, and support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites; and promote the tourism and economic development benefits of outdoor recreation through the growth and expansion of a connected statewide network of parks, trails and greenways.
Applications are due by December 2nd, 2016, and there is a 25% match for the grant. For more information and to apply, click here
$16 Million in Grant Money for Energy-Efficient Housing Construction
As a part of Governor Cuomo’s goal to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is offering $16 million dollars for the design and construction of energy-efficient housing. It has been projected that buildings that take advantage of this support will see yearly savings of 9 million dollars.
“Ensuring New York’s buildings are constructed to the highest standards of energy efficiency is crucial to both our long-term sustainability and prosperity of the state,” said Governor Cuomo. “Smart choices about efficiency can simultaneously save money and protect the environment. This investment promotes that principle in order to build healthy communities and save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Half of the 16 million dollars will be offered to builders of low-rise buildings, including single family homes, and the other half is meant for builders of mid- and high-rise buildings that consist of apartment units. Applications for this grant money will be accepted through December 29, 2017, or until funding runs out.
More information about the grant and the application process can be found on NYSERDA’s website.
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.
What’s happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
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Port Jefferson Historical Society
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From NorthJersey.com, this is a call to hold the new administration accountable for much needed infrastructure investment that was promised during the campaign. The writer is Joseph M. Sanzari, CEO of Joseph M. Sanzari Inc. in Hackensack:
Today, the United States does not even invest 2 percent of its GDP in infrastructure improvements. Europe invests 5 percent, and China even more. It’s no wonder we are falling behind. How can we spend so little when virtually all Americans depend on our infrastructure for their livelihood? It’s simple. For more than two decades Congress has chosen not to raise the gas tax, and since it is isn’t indexed to inflation, in real terms the funds it generates go down every year. The impact: In the 23 years since President Bill Clinton first took office, the tax has gone from 20 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas to about 7 percent. We see the results of this decline every day on overcrowded roads and trains. Fortunately, the incoming Trump administration recognizes the need to make a significant change to improve our transportation system, pledging one trillion dollars towards infrastructure improvements out of the nearly four trillion dollars that are needed for the nation’s roads, bridges, airports, and wastewater needs. Last month, the president-elect talked about the need to rebuild our roads and bridges. Hopefully, plans can go into action by making their way through Congress, and a realistic path can be paved towards much-needed infrastructure improvements.
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