Smart Talk February 22nd – 28th, 2020

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we head to Albany for the 12th Annual Long Island Lobby Day, review the Long-Term Natural Gas Capacity Report issued by National Grid, and more…

Smart Talk header

February 22nd – 28th, 2020


Mill Creek Residential

Mill Creek Residential develops, builds, acquires and operates high-quality apartment communities in desirable locations coast-to-coast. While they are a national company, they immerse themselves in chosen markets – living and working in the communities where they operate. They combine a deep understanding of each market with 30+ years of expertise and a fresh innovative approach to the apartment industry, to build relationships and places in which people thrive – creating real and enduring value for residents, investors and associates.

Since starting in 2011, they have developed more than 20,000 apartment homes across 90+ communities and acquired more than 2,500 apartment homes in some of the nation’s best apartment markets. They expect to deliver an additional 5,000+ homes to a growing portfolio. They are proud of their people, the places they build, and the relationships they have with stakeholders across the country.

“There are a great deal of competing interests represented in the halls of Albany and Long Island’s needs can differ dramatically from the rest of the state.  That’s why it’s so critical that we unite our voices and carry a clear message to our elected officials on critical issues for small businesses, sewer infrastructure needs, expanding solar, public transportation and more.” – Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment

“The Long Island Lobby coalition has reconvened to better the lives of working people throughout our region.  We have are once again returning to Albany with a robust agenda aimed at preserving, protecting, and enhancing the quality of life of all citizens on Long Island.”  Durso continued, “Including Nassau and Suffolk Counties in the Facilitated Child Care Enrollment initiative, continuing the state’s focus on expansion of the offshore wind industry, and making critical infrastructure investments, particularly around preserving water quality, are areas we believe collectively our elected officials must take action to move the region forward.” – John R. Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

icon Like us on Facebook

icon Follow us on Twitter

icon Watch us on YouTube

Join us on LinkedIn icon

View us on Instagram 

Visit our website icon

Long Island Lobby Coalition Hosts 12th Annual Lobby Day in Albany

A Diverse coalition of Long Island small businesses, civics, human services, downtown planners, labor, environment, and transportation advocates headed to Albany for the 12th annual Long Island Lobby Day this week.

The Long Island Lobby Coalition will traveled to Albany this past Tuesday, February 25th to meet with the LI Senate and Assembly delegations and the Governor’s office on the coalition’s legislative and budget priorities for 2020. Dozens of small business and community leaders urged state representatives to secure funding for important transportation, sewage and infrastructure projects, housing, human services, champion environmental programs and support legislation to benefit small business and encourage economic development.

The Long Island Lobby Coalition was founded in 2009 as a diverse alliance of organizations working together to advance meaningful improvements to Long Island’s quality of life and our economy.  Since its founding, 15 bills on the Coalitions agenda have been enacted into law, and nearly 20 budget and regulatory proposals were approved with key Long Island infrastructure projects funded.

This year’s agenda included: Transportation with funding for LI buses, pedestrian safety & commuter tax benefits; Economic development such as small business savings accounts, support for local manufacturing, small business tax cuts and funding for downtowns; Water, Energy & Environment concerns that included water quality, off shore wind, and solar energy; Housing & Human Services such as affordable housing, child care, childhood nutrition, veterans services & support for family caregivers.; and Ten Major Infrastructure projects for Long Island communities.

Meetings during the day included the LI Senate Majority Delegation including Hon. Monica Martinez, Hon. James Gaughran, Hon. Kevin Thomas, Hon. Anna Kaplan, Hon. John Brooks, and Hon. Todd Kaminsky. We also met with Senate Minority Leader Hon. John Flangan. The LI Assembly Delegation also met with our group, including Hon. Steve Engelbright, Hon. Phil Ramos, Hon. Chuck Lavine, Hon. Fred Thiele, Hon. Ed Ra, Hon. Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Hon. Michaelle Solages, Hon. Michael Montesano, Hon. Judy Griffin, Hon. John Mikulin, and Hon. Steve Stern. To close the day the coalition met with Governor Cuomo’s policy team, which included representatives from the legislative office, transportation, environment, and budget staff.

“There are a great deal of competing interests represented in the halls of Albany and Long Island’s needs can differ dramatically from the rest of the state.  That’s why it’s so critical that we unite our voices and carry a clear message to our elected officials on critical issues for small businesses, sewer infrastructure needs, expanding solar, public transportation and more” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

John R. Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO said, “The Long Island Lobby coalition has reconvened to better the lives of working people throughout our region.  We have are once again returning to Albany with a robust agenda aimed at preserving, protecting, and enhancing the quality of life of all citizens on Long Island.”  Durso continued, “Including Nassau and Suffolk Counties in the Facilitated Child Care Enrollment initiative, continuing the state’s focus on expansion of the offshore wind industry, and making critical infrastructure investments, particularly around preserving water quality, are areas we believe collectively our elected officials must take action to move the region forward.”

“Bringing resources back from Albany to our local communities has been a theme of our collective work and the best voices to deliver that message are the community and small business leaders themselves.   We look forward to a dialogue with our elected representatives in the NYS Senate , Assembly and the Governor’s team to make the unique needs of our many communities get their fair share of resources,” said Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island & LI Main Street Alliance

This year is the coalition’s 12th year with over 100 organizations in support and 40 of the groups represented at the Lobby Day. Stay tuned for a full summary on Vision Long Island’s Facebook page. You can read a preliminary report from Long Island Business News here.

National Grid Issues Long-Term Natural Gas Capacity Report

National Grid issued a Long-term Natural Gas Capacity report earlier this week, which fulfills one of the provisions that the company made with New York State as part of its November 2019 agreement.

The report is meant to be a comprehensive, impartial analysis of the natural gas capacity constraints in downstate New York along with reasonably available options for addressing those constraints.  It also includes a forecast for natural gas demand through 2035, accounting for anticipated energy efficiency, demand response, heat electrification, and renewable gas use.  There is also a description for options available for expanding natural gas capacity and further reducing demand to close the gap between customers’ natural gas demand and available capacity in downstate New York.

Some of the findings in the report include the fact that demand for natural gas in downstate New York is predicted to rise but at a slower rate than initially thought, that the current natural gas supply is stretched to meet today’s demand and is not sufficient to meet forecasts, that low-carbon opportunities should be explored to close the gap, and that National Grid is looking into such opportunities.

These findings are not surprising as National Grid has talked about rising demand, which has been steady over the last ten years.  There have been a number of efforts to increase capacity through infrastructure and help with efficiency, but they have not been able to keep pace with growth, according to the company.

National Grid will be holding a number of public information meetings in the coming month, the final one of which will be on March 31st.  They will take feedback from local customers and stakeholders on what can be done to improve the situation.  There is also an online survey, which will be available through April 2nd.  A supplemental report will follow that will encompass all of these, and National Grid will then work with NYS to come up with long-term solutions to this issue by June of this year.

The following is the most current information session schedule:

  • March 09, 6-8pm: Hicksville Community Center, 28 W. Carl Street, Hicksville, NY
  • March 12, 6-8pm: YMCA, 89-25 Parsons Blvd., Jamaica, NY
  • March 23, 6-8pm: Brentwood Public Library, 34 Second Ave., Brentwood, NY
  • March 24, 6-8pm: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Downtown Brooklyn, NY
  • March 25, 6-8pm: Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd, Brooklyn, NY
  • March 31, 6-8pm: Riverhead Fire Department, 540 Roanoke, Riverhead, NY

You can read more on this issue here, and read the full report here.

MTA Announces 2020-24 Capital Program Projects Scheduled for 2020

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced some of the projects that will be awarded funding in 2020 as part of the $54.8 billion 2020-24 Capital Program.  The projects that will receive funding will include critical priorities aimed at advancing accessibility, modern resignaling work and system expansion.  The new MTA Construction and Development department will tackle these projects using a new approach that includes bundling work, streamlining processes, and simplifying designs. 

While a majority of the projects announced to date include MTA locations in Manhattan and the New York Metropolitan area, two Long Island Rail Road locations have also been put on the slate for improvement.  The LIRR expansion approved for 2020 will begin in the first quarter and include signal modernization from Babylon to Patchogue and the replacement of two bridges.

The 2020-24 Capital Improvement plan was approved on January 2nd and will invest billions into the region’s transportation infrastructure.  This will include subways, buses, railroads, and vehicular bridges and tunnels.  The investment is planned over the course of the next five years and will institutionalize and build on the progress from the Subway Action Plan.  The goal is to create a faster, more accessible, and more reliable public transportation system.  It will be that largest infrastructure investment in the history of the MTA.

You can read a full list of the projects approved for the first quarter here.

NYS Senator Kaplan Declares Asian American Establishments “Open for Business”

This past Saturday Ny State Senator Anna Kaplan brought together a number of important officials, stakeholders, and members of Asian-owned businesses in a show of solidarity.

As fears of the coronavirus spread throughout the region, locally owned businesses began to see a decline in business in spite of zero confirmed cases in New York.  Senator Kaplan, as the Chair of the NYS Senate Committee on Commerce, Small Business, and Economic Development, decided it was important to show that residents have nothing to fear of their local businesses and downtowns.

The meeting included the Senator herself, Huang Ping, Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China in New York, Town of North Hempstead Clerk Wayne Wink, Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey, Great Neck Plaza Deputy Mayor Ted Rosen, leadership from local Chinese American Civic Organizations, School and Library Board Members, and local small business owners.  The purpose was to declare Asian-American small businesses and restaurants open for business and to urge local residents to not ignore these communities, which are critical to the success of our local downtowns.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and right now, many small businesses owned by our Asian-American neighbors are suffering due to unfounded fears of the coronavirus,” said Senator Kaplan.  “These businesses are part of the fabric of our downtowns, and if they’re forced to lay-off staff or close their doors, it would be a huge loss for everyone. That’s why I’m urging all Long Islanders to step up and show their support for these local businesses during their time of need, and asking people to shop local, eat local, and spread the word that it’s safe to do so.”

The group in attendance enjoyed some traditional Chinese cuisine at the New Fu Run Restaurant before visiting the Creative Beauty Studio.  They also spent time meeting with the owners and employees at both locations.

Despite zero confirmed cases of Coronavirus in New York, local businesses and restaurants have seen a downturn of 40% to 70% of business.  This can be devastating for small businesses that often operate on small margins, and threatens the economic health of local Long Island downtowns.  Please keep in mind that Asian-American owned establishments are still “Open for Business!”

John Cameron, Hon. Angie Carpenter Keynote LIBDC Dinner

Identifying taxes and a lack of affordable housing as the biggest challenges facing Long Island, John Cameron Jr., P.E., chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council, told the Feb 4 meeting of the Long Island Business Development Council that if officials fail to smartly address and prioritize the issues, the region’s future viability and sustainability are at risk.

“Long island, we can all agree, is a pretty good place to live, work, play and to raise a family. All that said, it’s a tough place for a lot of people to afford to live here.   For all that makes Long island great, it has its challenges,” Cameron, who also is the founder and managing partner of Woodbury-based Cameron Engineering & Associates LLP, told more than 100 guests attending the gathering at The Irish Coffee Pub in East Islip.

He noted that the planning council, which is devoted to the well-being and economic development of Long Island, 10 years ago issued a 25-year sustainability plan that identified high taxes and the lack of rental housing as “the two major impediments to Long Island’s future viability and sustainability.”

Cameron noted that only 20 percent of the region’s housing stock is rental housing, about half that of other suburban New York City communities. The result, he said, is higher-priced rental housing because demand outstrips supply.

The planning agency executive said another chief complaint of residents is traffic and noted that while the region has a well-designed network of highways, their capacity hasn’t been increased significantly since their initial construction, when the region’s population was a fraction of what it is today. He also said the current Long Island Rail Road Third Track project is the LIRR’s first significant expansion since commuters got to rail stations by horse and buggy more than 150 years ago, a time when the Island’s population was about 50,000.

Other challenges that need to be addressed, he said, include a safe, clean and adequate drinking water supply; a healthy natural environment; and a resiliency to withstand the inevitability of future major storms such as Super storm Sandy, or even worse.

He said Long Islanders need to be concerned with changing energy supplies to renewable modes, disposal of solid waste and recyclables, the shift to Internet-based commerce and the growing influx of non-English-speaking immigrants.

 “If we do not continue to grow our economy, our chances at effectively addressing all these other critical challenges will be severely diminished,” Cameron said, noting that creation of good-paying jobs as well as affordable housing for young workers and empty-nesters are essential to economic growth in the region.

He said attaining growth requires “capitalizing on our transportation assets as well as our environmental infrastructure, namely sanitary sewers. Without sewers there can be no density. Without density, considering the cost of land, taxes and services on Long Island, there can be no affordability.”

Cameron added that it’s essential to develop around LIRR transit hubs in order to not overwork the region’s roadways and to fully engage the qualified, emerging educated workforce by providing housing that will enable young people to stay on Long Island.

Noting that many downtown, waterfront and other major projects are in various stages of development he predicted, “Developments that will be the most successful here on Long Island will be the ones which most fully capitalize on our assets and meet the challenges they will face head on. It is in our collective interest that we hope for success for all the meritorious projects. The ones which fail to be smartly developed will meet a less glorious fate.”

The meeting, sponsored by the Town of Islip Industrial Development Agency, also heard from Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter, who announced that William Mannix, executive director of the town IDA, will be retiring in a few months after 39 years on the job. “His work really is legendary. Not many people can get that said about them,” Carpenter said. “Bill Mannix has done an incredible job in the field of economic development.”

Carpenter added, “We have had unprecedented growth in the town of Islip.  In the last four years, we closed 55 projects, representing $400 million in private investment with about 5,300 jobs either created or retained. That’s really remarkable in that short span of time.”

She said some of the town’s downtown areas “have made an incredible resurgence.”  Bay Shore has been the poster child, she said, noting that Bay Shore was at its worst 25 years ago when she first got involved in government. Now, with the Bay Shore YMCA anchoring one end of the downtown along with Southside Hospital, which has seen a $500 million investment, residents and visitors alike are seeing a real difference in downtown Bay Shore. Carpenter said a 30,000-square-foot office building in Bay Shore was fully leased before a shovel was out into the ground. “We do have opportunities for redevelopment. You just have to know the spots.”

You can view a full gallery of photos from the event here.

Greenport Considers Moratorium on New Restaurants and Bars

At a recent work session of the Village Board, members of Greenport’s local government considered the possibility of a moratorium on new restaurants and bars in the business district.

The idea was brought up by Trustee Peter Clark, who said that a moratorium should be considered until the village can complete proposed zoning and a strategy to handle parking as well as a long-term comprehensive plan.  The time of a moratorium, which was proposed at no longer than 12 months, would also be used to better study how the growth is affecting Greenport.

This concern is partially due to a changing Main Street which has seen a shift away from retail towards restaurants and bars in recent years.  Parking was a particular issue as the Village has seen a rise in tourists while their parking situation hasn’t changed much in years.  There was also talk about how other popular Long Island downtowns such as Patchogue has seen a loss of community in the rise of their downtowns. 

The session also featured some talk about metered parking that would encourage residents to park outside of the downtown area while generating revenue.  A previous metered parking system was tested a decade ago, though, and did not meet with success.  There was also a discussion about creating a resident-only parking lot for apartment dwellers who live in the downtown.

Though no solutions were found at this work session, there did seem to be some agreement on the fact that the village needed to look into solutions going forward.  There was also a suggestion that the board host a meeting with the Zoning Board of Appeals in order to gather different perspectives.

You can read more at the Suffolk Times.

Town of Huntington Approves Funding for Spray Park and Field Work

Huntington Station will get a long-awaited spray park and improved fields at Manor Park thanks to over half a million in funding approved at a recent Town Hall meeting.

The funding includes $750,000 for the brand new spray park, which will also be located at Manor Field, as well as $800,000 for replace synthetic fields.  This new spray park will be the second one in the Town of Huntington after Elwood Park opened in July of 2018.  That park has proven to be a popular attraction among residents, and a local one has long been anticipated by the Huntington Station community.

“The Manor Field Spray Park is an exciting step in our plan to revitalize Huntington Station,” said Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.  “With simultaneous progress on the James D. Conte Community Center, and the South Side Sewer study moving along to promote economic development in the area, we have a lot in store in the upcoming year.”

The funding was approved by a 4-1 vote, with the lone dissent coming at the concern of costs for the project.  Bonds necessary for the funding were previously approved at another meeting of the Town Board.

You can read more at Huntington Now.

Long Island Smart Growth Awards Nominations due March 2nd

Vision Long Island is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Long Island Smart Growth Awards!

For almost two decades, Vision Long Island has been honoring the individuals and organizations that display
true Smart Growth leadership in advancing projects, policies, regulations and initiatives. Specific focus areas include mixed-use development, affordable housing, open space and historic preservation, environmental health and safety, traffic calming and pedestrian safety, transportation enhancements, clean energy, downtown revitalization, and community planning.

Award recipients stand out in their ability to demonstrate one or more of the following: Mix land uses; Take advantage of compact building design; Create housing choices for a range of household types, family sizes and incomes; Strengthen existing communities and achieve more balanced regional development; Encourage citizen and stakeholder participation in development decisions; Create walkable neighborhoods; Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place; Preserve open space, farmland, historic buildings and critical environmental areas; Provide a variety of transportation choices; Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective; Utilize clean energy and green building development.

If you would like to nominate someone or something who fills those criteria, please download and return a nomination form that you can find here.

Nassau County to Host Minority Business Networking Breakfast on March 3rd

In celebration of Black History Month, the Nassau County IDA, the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) and the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce (LIAACC) are hosting a Minority Business Networking Breakfast next Tuesday, March 3rd at The Carltun from 8:00 -10:00 am. Joining the event as a keynote speaker is Rafael Salaberrios, Senior Vice President of the Division of Small Business and Technology Development – Capital Access at NYS Empire State Development.
This event is designed to engage business owners to learn more about the Nassau County IDA financial incentives and NYS Empire State Developments Distressed Neighborhood Initiative which is aimed at generating economic activities in distressed communities throughout NY State.  Aside from Nassau County businesses, we encourage commercial realtors/brokers, investors, developers & accountants who do business in Nassau County to attend and will find value in understanding the financial incentives provided by the Nassau County IDA and NYS Empire State Development.

To RSVP or for more infotmation please contact Victoria Roberts at or Valerie Anderson Campbell at

LICH to hold Annual Vigil for the Homeless on March 17th

On March 17th, 2020, the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless will hold its Candlelight Vigil for the Homeless from 12 PM to 8 pm at Farmingdale State College.  Each year, LICH collects and distributes new winter coats, new/unused baby items, non-perishable food, cleaning supplies and toiletries to Long Island’s homeless and at-risk families. Last year, over 2,000 Long Islanders participated in this event. The participation of every person who cares will make a difference. Let us show that Long Islanders want to eradicate homelessness and hunger that exist in our affluent society. 

The Vigil brings together members of the community, folks who wish to raise awareness, and homeless/at risk Long Islanders and agencies who serve them.  In addition to information for persons in need, they will have FREE financial literacy sessions,  haircuts, face painting, story time, and other services available.  In addition, participants will enjoy the music from guest musicians, as well as presentations from local officials.  

An exciting feature of this event is that all items donated will be distributed at the end of the Vigil to those in need and agencies working with them. Refreshments will also be available at no cost to all participants (while supplies last).

Long Island Complete Streets Summit to be Held on April 1st

The Annual Complete Streets Summit will be held this coming April 1st at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale.  The event will take place from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

This year’s theme will be Health Benefits of Complete Streets and will include discussions on active transportation, incorporating physical activity into regular daily tasks, and more.

Early registration is open and can be completed here.  More information will be coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

East End Arts Now Accepting Vendor Applications for Mosaic Street Painting Festival on May 24th

East End Arts invites professional artists, artisans, and food/beverage vendors to participate in their popular Street Painting Festival. Artisans and food/beverage vendors are invited to submit photos of their work for consideration for the outdoor festival.

Vendors can apply here.

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.

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.

Home | Contact Us | Donate | About Us