Smart Talk November 17th – December 21st, 2018

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we applaud the unanimous vote to amend the Nassau HUB lease agreement, check out funding from NYS for local revitalization & infrastructure projects, review the proposed project in North Bellport, and more…

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November 17th – December 21st, 2018


REGIONAL UPDATES

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“Today’s unanimous vote on the HUB Development signifies Nassau County is ready for the land around the Nassau Coliseum to become a destination. The Legislature and I can celebrate this historic vote as we work together to make live-work-play development a reality in this County.” – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran
“This is a win, win, win for the county and we are looking for a successful conclusion in this process.” – Nassau County Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello
“For [the communities] that I represent, this is something that truly, if done right and properly, will help transform those areas and integrate them into what’s going on at the HUB.” – Nassau County Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams

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Nassau HUB Amendments Receive Unanimous Approval

Vision Long Island testified in support of amendments to the lease agreement for the Nassau HUB at the Nassau Legislature.

The project is being spearheaded by BSE Global and RXR Realty, who are working to create 500 units of housing and a 600,000 square feet of research and office spave on the site. There will also be two hotels as well as 200,000 square feet of entertainment and retail as part of the current plan.

The amendments, which were passed in a 19-0 unanimous vote, include a requirement for the developers to enter into a project labor agreement with local building trades council as well as quarterly progress reports. This also includes regular public meetings to keep residents informed of issues and benefits the project can provide. The agreement will also allow for the legislature to confirm project-related agreements as well as the establishment of an advisory committee. A compliance monitor will be recommended by the CBA Advisory Committee.

“Today’s unanimous vote on the HUB Development signifies Nassau County is ready for the land around the Nassau Coliseum to become a destination,” said Nassau County Executive Laura. “The Legislature and I can celebrate this historic vote as we work together to make live-work-play development a reality in this County.”

“This is a win, win, win for the county and we are looking for a successful conclusion in this process,” said Presiding Officer Nicolello.

“For [the communities] that I represent, this is something that truly, if done right and properly, will help transform those areas and integrate them into what’s going on at the HUB,” said Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams.

“Congratulations to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and team for advancing this project forward. Kudos to Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams for negotiating the framework for a community benefits agreement and advisory committee comprised of people from the Nassau County Administration and Legislature, Town of Hempstead, and the developer.Special acknowledgement for the leadership of Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello in organizing a unanimous vote in a bipartisan fashion and working with local impacted communities. Finally, support for local labor, apprenticeship programs, and potential for jobs for community residents is a big win for local residents.” said Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island

Work will continue in the coming months such as financial analysis, and what the project labor agreements and community benefits will look like and coordination with the Town of Hempstead. It is also critical to pull in local chambers and civics from surrounding communities in the planning which will intensify in the New Year.

Stay tuned for further updates….

NYS Economic Development Funding for Local Downtown Revitalization & Infrastructure Projects

The NYS Regional Economic Council has announced awards for projects across the state in this year’s round of funding across the state.  It was encouraging to see Long Island’s portion of funding will go to a number of downtown and infrastructure projects this year.

Projects worth noting include support for mixed-use housing in Hempstead, parking in Patchogue & Lynbrook, planning support for the downtowns in New Cassel, Brightwaters, Riverhead and Huntington Station. A slew of energy, wastewater and other infrastructure projects were also granted to local municipalities.

Of course, the projects listed are not as exhaustive as some folks were hoping for, but the funding is a significant resource that will help to move projects along in a number of communities.

You can check out the entire list, comprised of over $68 million of investment, on page 125 of the document announcing the awards here.

Nassau Council of Chambers sends Message to Shop Local

The Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce (NCCC) is urging consumers to spend time in their downtowns in support of local business.

Nassau County officials joined with the NCCC to support this message, as they have for the years since the Shop Local movement started.  This important initiative is one that will help to keep local dollars in the economy and feed into the prosperity of the region.  Shopping online drains those resources from Mom & Pop stores that help to create jobs and wealth for our local downtowns.  It also has a spill-over effect as people who come to shop for presents tend to stay for a bite to eat in the local area.

“From Long Beach to Locust Valley, Hicksville to New Hyde Park and all our neighborhoods in-between. You live here – your future is here – invest in it by shopping local,” said NCCC President Francesca Carlow.
“The ‘shop local’ effort is at the forefront of ensuring a positive future for Nassau County’s businesses and communities,” said Nassau County IDA Chairman Richard Kessel.

You can read more here.

North Bellport Residents Eye Revitalization with New Development

North Bellport residents have been waiting years for revitalization to come to their corner of Long Island and a new project signals that the first steps might be underway.

D&F Development Group has proposed a 70-unit apartment complex on 7 acres of property just a short distance away from the Bellport LIRR station. The plan, which would bring jobs and affordable housing to region, is culmination of years of effort that include zone changes and cleaning up abandoned and decaying houses. Code enforcement has been increased in recent years as well and local businesses have been taking steps to improve their facades.

The developer, D&F, has experience with affordable housing in the region and is hoping to bring that formula to the area. Monthly rents are estimated to be in the $900 to $1,700 range depending on number of bedrooms and size of the unit.

“I think Long Island lags way behind our cousins to the north — Westchester, Connecticut, New Jersey — in terms of the percentage of rental housing and certainly affordable housing,” said D&F principal and Vision Long Island board member Peter Florey. “I think this is going to spur additional investment. Everywhere we’ve built development, and this includes places like Hempstead, we’ve found after we have built, there has been investment in the surrounding community.”

The project has the support of a community that is hoping to jump-start a long overdue revitalization to the area. Visioning projects aimed at drawing a consensus from the community have been going on since 2006, and residents have been encouraged by Mr. Florey’s efforts to reach out to residents as D&F planned the project.

“There’s a lot of vested people in this community who deserve this type of project,” said Vision Long Island Assistant Director Tawaun Weber. “They’re literally building the community’s dream.”

Vision Long Island was out in support of the project at the Town of Brookhaven along with local residents and business owners who all testified in favor.

You can read more here.

Town of Islip Holds First Community Meeting on the NYS DRI in Central Islip

Vision Long Island was out in support of the first Central Islip community meeting to gather public feedback on the recently awarded $10 million DRI grant.

The meeting was attended by almost 200 residents and business leaders as well as by town council members, Suffolk County legislators, state officials, and Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. Hopes for the development’s future as well as concerns on issues that could be raised were discussed in depth by the attendees.

The grant was awarded to Central Islip to help enhance the downtown and revitalize a community that has been seeing improvements in all its neighbors but not itself. The process will be spearheaded by a 17-person committee selected specifically for the task. Projects that will be eligible for funding include public improvements, new development, rehabilitation of existing structures and public amenities that may include but will not be limited to retail, dining, arts and culture, and traffic safety measures.

The funding includes a structured timetable for when projects need to be proposed to the state, and will become part of a Strategic Development Plan being constructed. The Plan will need to be completed and submitted in March, but suggestions can be submitted to DRI@islipny.gov through January 17th. The next public meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 9th, from 6 to 8 pm at the Central Islip High School Cafeteria.

You can read more about the DRI grant here.

Forge River Watershed Sewer Project Holds Public Meeting

Vision staff supported an open house session for the proposed Forge River Watershed Sewer project. The construction of the plant will be funded 100% through federal grants, and is scalable, allowing adjacent properties to connect to the facility in time.

The idea of creating a new sewer district has gained steam due to a number of ongoing concerns surrounding nitrogen pollution and aging infrastructure. The creation of the new district will try and mitigate failures of conventional septic systems in the area that have been brought on by heavy rain and tidal flooding in the region. Sewering of the area not only promotes resilience, but will help break down barriers towards proper economic development of the Mastics-Shirley area.

Residents at the meeting were able to learn more about estimated annual cost reductions as well as having questions answered regarding the project. Frequently asked community questions include the basics such as why a sewer system is needed and what sort of benefit will the proved to the local business community. There’s also financial and property related concerns for individual taxpayers as well as where initial funding will come from. Sewers for the Forge River have been advocated by the communities of Mastic and Shirley and Vision for many years as part of the Montauk Highway Project and more recently the Tri-Community Hamlet Plan.

There will be an additional open house session on January 8th at the Mastic Fire Department prior for those in the proposed district voting on the referendum on January 22nd.

More information on the project can be found here.

Huntington Township Housing Coalition Hosts Housing Summit

Vision Board and staff recently co-sponsored the Huntington Township Housing Coalition Community Conversations Housing Summit.

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci provided the welcome and there was great dialogue on the topics of accessory apartments, housing financing, intergenerational housing options and the impacts of rental housing. Sponsors included People’s United Bank, Realty Connect among others.

The Housing Summit provided a chance for the Town of Huntington officials to gather ideas on how to address its affordable housing issues. This comes at a time when Huntington is asking for feedback on proposed housing legislation. Supervisor Lupinacci noted at the time that the issue has become increasingly obvious. In spite of regulations passed in 2016 to increase affordable units, the Town is over 2,000 units short of an estimated 2,798 that will be needed by 2020.

The conversation also included accessory apartments and the impact of new housing. There was also talk about what could be done to improve project implementation, and how a lot of issues could have been avoided with community input.

“When the projects are planned with the local community, and there’s real local support, projects get approved, things get built, and people are generally happy with them,” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander, who was a panelist.

Vision’s Placemaking Director Elissa Kyle and Co-Chair Trudy Fitzimmons spoke on the Intergenerational Housing panel outlining successful models of housing for all ages. Congratulations to Roger Weaving and his team at the Housing Coalition for putting together a thoughtful and meaningful discussion.

You can read more here.

The costs involved in drawing Amazon to the region

The following op-ed was written by Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallarfo and originally appeared in Long Island Business News here.

There’s been almost unanimous lamentation for decades about the brain drain in New York and the losing of corporate jobs etc. Now, when one of the most dynamic and prosperous companies of this era wants to bring upwards of 25,000 new high-paying jobs to New York, and possibly reverse the trend of companies leaving, both right and left find a reason to be critical.

To be sure, it would be better to attract these kinds of companies and jobs by cutting taxes and regulations. But, the fact is that New York is (and will remain) a high-cost, high-tax state. The reason that the incentives from New York were higher than Virginia and elsewhere is because they had to be. This was a highly competitive “contest” and to be competitive, New York had to give substantial incentives. Otherwise, Amazon could have just gone to one of the other hundreds of communities that wanted them.

Only in New York would you have such grousing over such a hugely economically impactful development. The impact of those 25,000 jobs, over time, will be many, many billions of dollars of accretive value to the New York economy, not to say anything of the people who will fill those jobs, some of whom will be New York natives. As someone who, at a very low level, thinks about and is worried about the sustainability of one community, this is a home run.

In the final analysis, the cost of drawing them here was very substantial. But the cost of not drawing them here was bigger. New York has to start being competitive in terms of drawing these kinds of jobs and companies. More important than housing, job creation is the number one need. Bring the jobs and the housing and young professionals etc. will follow.

To me, the reaction just shows that every issue or development here is politicized. It just so happens that each side (right and left) in this case has their own reasons for opposing this. That rarely happens, but the reasons that they oppose are political, not substantive and, also, a philosophical ivory tower. The reality is that we should embrace, even at the high cost, this development. It will be a net positive, despite the issues that it creates. But, in New York, nothing that is self-evident is ever self-evident.

In my limited experience in government, at the lowest level, it is apparent to me that you need to deal in realities and not in theoretical exercises, and the reality is that New York will always be a high tax/cost state, so if you want to compete for these kinds of opportunities, if you consider it that, you need to play the game. If you don’t want to compete in this kind of environment, then the reality is that New York will continue to lose jobs and the only people left here will be the poor and those who can’t afford to go elsewhere.

It is a double-edged sword, but to do nothing and just knee-jerk say ‘no’ to this sort of thing, hoping for the paradigm to shift is to see New York doomed for ultimate failure. I guess in my old age I have become less tolerant of the ivory tower, philosophical boxes we put ourselves in, that, I believe, make people take sides and politicize everything just for the sake of ideological purity. That’s OK for college classes and debate teams, but I’d rather get things done.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Vision Long Island!

As we close in on Santa’s big day, Vision Long Island would like to take this opportunity to say Merry Christmas and wish you a happy holiday as well as a joyous New Year.  Thank you for all your support in 2018, and we look forward to even bigger and grander things in 2019!

Also, as a reminder, if you still have any last minute shopping to do please consider heading down to your local downtown and supporting the great businesses that help drive our local economy!

Smart Talk

Editor:
Eric Alexander, Director

Contributors:
Christopher Kyle, Communications 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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