year end from dreamweaver


Vision Long Island Smart Growth News

 

 

Smart Growth On Long Island: 2014 A Year In Review

A Message from Vision……

On behalf of the Board and Staff of Vision Long Island we want to wish you are Merry Christmas, Happy Hannakah and Happy Kwanzaa for you and your community this holiday season.  Of course we encourage folks to do their last minute shopping where possible at their Main Street small business. 

We also wanted to take a minute to thank you for being a support to the Smart Growth movement over the last year.  Please consider donating to Vision in your end of year giving!

Reflecting on this year’s Smart Growth Summit, the one thing folks keep telling us over and over was the positive and optimistic nature and can-do attitude of all the varying attendees.

We had about 1,100 folks coming and going all day – 550 in the morning, a sold out lunch of 850 along with 24 workshops featuring 160 speakers, a well-attended youth summit and over 70 elected officials joining us. All attended with the goal to redevelop Long Island’s downtowns and strengthen our infrastructure.  As you know our Board, staff and community partners have acted as a catalyst and provided support for Smart Growth projects and policies for many years.

This year had many bright spots highlights, some of which include:

1) Progress on Transit-Oriented Developments:

Approval of over 1800 more transit-oriented development units to bring a total of more than 9.500 units over the last eight years. Notable successes include projects in Farmingdale, Westbury, Great Neck Plaza, Hempstead and the Ronkonkoma HUB.

2) Investments in infrastructure post-Sandy: 

Vision continues to be a leader in expanding public and private support for wastewater, transportation and energy infrastructure for our region. Most notable is the unprecedented Federal investment of $820 million in the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant that services 540,000 Nassau residents which is the largest funding for a wastewater infrastructure project in Long Island’s history. In Suffolk County, unprecedented County State and Federal funding totaling $200 million has gone to create a sewage treatment system in Mastic and Shirley.  Small increases in bus funding in Nassau and Suffolk County were partial victories as well.

3) Supporting Main Street businesses and downtown growth:

Vision has been successful in working with small business to support for Smart Growth solutions including local business groups, chambers of commerce and other leaders.  Main Street promotion, project support and lobbying for public funds have all been part of our efforts.   $16 million in NYS support for downtown projects came through this year and an exponentially higher number of private investment.   The introduction on the Federal and State level of Small Business Savings Accounts legislation will help small businesses under 49 employees grow and invest in Main Street.  The energy in many of our downtowns has increased with lower vacancy rates, increased amount of events, arts and music venues, bars, restaurants and niche retail.  Lastly we are seeing young entrepreuners and other companies seek space downtown.

4) Redesigning our roadways safely:   

Progress on this issue included the implementation of Complete Streets legislation with funding streams in Nassau and Suffolk County and NYS for traffic calming.  Vision has made progress pushing for New York State to change high-accident roadways like Sunrise Highway in Nassau County towards safer roadway designs.  The newly formed LI Complete Streets Coalition is in place to help guide these projects forward.

5) Premier leadership and events: 

The LI Smart Growth Summit and Smart Growth Awards continue to be LI’s premier planning events that bring our leaders together. This year was another one of record turnouts, excellent honorees, speakers and the development of new ideas and projects for our region.  We have expanded our events to include the LI Smart Growth Working Group, Friends of Long Island, LI Lobby Coalition, LI Business Council and the Complete Streets Summit.  For more on the many events please read the full write up here!

For 2015 we have much more work to do –

1) Priority Infrastructure investments:

Federal and State resources that will come to LI for infrastructure and rebuilding need to reach the communities they are intended with an emphasis on redesigning our neighborhoods to be more resilient.   There is a healthy list of infrastructure projects that are planned and ready to go that we are pushing for in these coming legislative sessions.

2) Many of the downtown projects that can grow our economy are still awaiting approval:

Despite many victories in recent years, over 13,000 units of housing are being considered in over 20 pending Smart Growth projects across Long Island. Work will be needed to achieve local consensus toward approval and implementation.

3) Coordinated bottom up planning:

Local officials, small business leaders and community organizations need to continue to shape the decisions of our neighborhoods while planning collaboratively with the numerous regional authorities and plans forming.  Vision has to continue to work in this area and bridge the gap between our communities and these ongoing regional plans.

And as most folks know we have to end this message with a proud pitch for your continued support:

Vision operates very lean with hardly any overhead – no highly paid consultants, nice offices, or layers and layers of bureaucracy. Support for Vision has and will always go directly to our mission which advances the Smart Growth movement each day to better our downtowns and grow our regions infrastructure.

The folks who have supported us throughout the years know our work and collective accomplishments. For friends that are new to us – and have questions on our goals and activities please call us directly at 631-804-9128 and we would be glad to bring you up to date.

To grow the Smart Growth movement, we need both your guidance and financial support as we wrap up this year and plan our next steps into 2015.

We continue to be honored to serve this important movement which is driven by local businesses, civic and local governments and supportive regional leaders but most importantly you. Local polls show an increase in support for Smart Growth projects thanks to all of our efforts.

Please think of us this year and we look forward to working with you in 2015.

See you downtown!

Best,

Eric Alexander

Vision Long Island

Please donate today online, by email or by mailing in the donation form below.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Vision Long Island at 631-261-0242 or info@visionlongisland.org.

Sincerely,

The Board and staff of Vision Long Island

Thank you for supporting Smart Growth this holiday season!

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(Make checks out to Vision Long Island and mail to 24 Woodbine Avenue, Suite 2, Northport, NY 11768)

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January

Better! Cities & Towns: Why Walkable Places Are Preferred

This article was originally published in Better! Cities & Towns.

Just over half of Americans (52 percent), say they want a detached house with a large yard — compared to a house with a small yard or no yard at all, according to the latest poll of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), released in October.

Does that mean that Americans want more of what the housing industry has been providing for the better part of three generations—spread-out subdivisions with drive-to shopping centers and office parks? The desire for the house with the big yard has fueled suburban growth since the end of World War II and was a major force behind the American suburban dream of the last half of the 20th Century.

But the statistic could be compared to your favorite ice cream. Question: Would you like a single scoop or a two-gallon tub of your favorite ice cream? A yard is appealing. A big yard is more appealing. Put that way, I’ll take the big yard and the two-gallon tub.

Click here to view full article.

Friends Of Long Island Join Forces To Rebuild Home Amid Snow, Cold

A special delivery left Gina Bonner in tears arrived with a house full of guests.

Volunteers from Friends of Long Island were in the midst of restoring the Babylon house damaged more than a year ago by Superstorm Sandy on Saturday when an envelope from New York Rising arrived. It wasn’t the jackpot Bonner and her boyfriend Bob Coffey were hoping for, but it did hold a check for the few reimbursements they filed.

“I can beat up the insurance company. I can do what I’m supposed to be doing,” she said, her eyes red and body in the arms of Neighbors Supporting Neighbors President Theresa DiPietto.

But it was the two dozen volunteers carrying pink fiberglass into the house and screwing white boards of sheetrock into place who created the badly-needed progress. Coffey, who had been slowly working on the house while they lived in it, said they saved him a year of work.

“This will allow us to put Sandy behind us,” he added.

The historic storm flooded the home with three feet of water in October 2012; Bonner, Coffey and their nephew were living in the house. Neighbors Supporting Neighbors Executive Director Kim Skillen met Bonner a few days later, providing some immediate aid. They’ve continued to provide support, even though Neighbors Supporting Neighbors does not do construction.

Click here to view full article.

Economy, Schools, Weather Top Governor Cuomo’s State Of The State Address; Long Island Lobby Coalition Delegation visits lawmakers

Job growth, education and disaster recovery were three key parts of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday. Speaking to thousands in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center up in Albany and thousands more online, Cuomo said 2014 would be a “banner year” his fourth annual speech.

The governor introduced a three-prong strategy to improve job growth in New York. The first step is to further reduce taxes; that includes spending $2 billion in state funds. He also proposed cutting the corporate tax rate from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent and making it the lowest since 1968. He also suggested a renter’s tax credit and circuit breaker tax credit – designed to cover a homeowner’s tax bills that exceed a certain percentage.

Property tax is a serious problem in New York, Cuomo said, and the highest in country. Last year, residents paid $41 billion in income tax compared to $51 billion in property tax, which goes to local municipalities and districts. All those government, fire, school and other local districts – 10,500 across the state – duplicate services and add more burden to taxpayers. “We have too many local governments and we’ve had them for too long,” the governor said.

Consolidating districts would reduce that financial burden. However, Cuomo said just two districts have consolidated since his time as attorney general. He recommended linking $715 million in financial assistance to consolidation.

Click here to view full article.

Post-Sandy forum held with LI Storm Recovery Czar Jon Kaiman

On Thursday, January 9th, a community focused event sponsored by Friends of Long Island, including Neighbors Supporting Neighbors and Adopt a House, was held with recently appointed Long Island Storm Recovery Czar Jon Kaiman in order to address concerns about when resources will be received by those who need them.

In response to a sense of overwhelming frustration on the part of homeowners who have seen numerous delays and red tape when trying to rebuild. Mr. Kaiman promised the that money to pay for future work will be delivered “Hopefully, within a matter of weeks. The money is going to start flowing, and you will be getting money now directly for the reconstruction.”

Click here to view full article.

Protestors Call For Transit-Oriented Development In Baldwin

A Baldwin neighborhood deemed blighted has a reputation for questionable characters and vacant, run-down buildings. And neighbors aren’t happy with plans to revive the area.

Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Baldwin) and Legislator Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) joined about 100 residents, business owners and community leaders took to Grand Avenue on Saturday, protesting against Breslin Realty Development Corporation’s plans to build a drive-through CVS pharmacy on the 5-acre property.

“We’ve been trying to get it developed for at least 15 years,” Baldwin Civic Association President David Viana said.

Currently, the area near Grand Avenue and Merrick Road consists of ground-level retail with 52 second-story apartments. A fire destroyed two buildings, which remain boarded up. The Town of Hempstead gave the neighborhood a blight designation in 2006, which prompted landlords to stop maintaining buildings and chased away others.

Click here to view full article.

Cuomo Drives $67 Million Towards NYS Transportation Projects

$30 million. That’s how much municipalities across New York anticipated would be available in state transportation funding when they applied last summer.

But on Wednesday, Cuomo surprised everyone by awarding $67 million from the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP).

“We applaud Governor Cuomo for heeding the call of New Yorkers to increase funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure with a 50 percent increase in TEP funds.  This additional funding can be used by towns and municipalities to meet the soaring demand for safe, walkable, bikable, economically vibrant streets. It’s a significant step forward in the spirit of the state’s Complete Streets law,” Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC) Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool said.

The governor awarded $67 million for 63 projects across the state. Long Island took home $5.1 million – compared to $14.8 million for New York City and $3.3 million for the Southern Tier.

Click here to view full article.

Storm Prep, Jobs Center Of LI Rendition Of Cuomo’s State Of State

Vision Long Island and Long Island Business Council hosted Ken Adams, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development Thursday at Dowling College, where he presented the Governor’s State of the State address.

Adams focused on the main points of this year’s speech, mostly on ways to drive economic development. Among the topics were improving and investing in education, public health and safety in local communities, emergency preparedness, continuing job growth strategies, reducing property taxes and fixing dysfunction in Albany to regain public trust.

Adams highlighted the most important and relevant aspects of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s speech to fit Long Island’s local and regional issues. The commissioner briefly discussed the launch of fourth round of the Regional Economic Development Council awards, which will specifically focus on creating jobs and attracting international investment, citing Long Island as the top performer in previous years. He also talked about the new tourism push, “Get Outta Town,” to get people to visit outside of the city. For the Long Island region, it would mean focusing on the successful food and wine industry which is continually growing. He also mentioned the governor’s Start Up NY program, which would create tax free zones and incentives for certain school programs, especially in math and science fields.

Click here to view full article.

Taubman Sells Cerro Wire Land, Smart Growth In Plans

Taubman Centers is no longer trying to build a luxury mall on the former site of an Oyster Bay factory against the wishes of the community.

The Michigan-based developer announced Friday they sold the 39-acre former Cerro Wire property to rival Simon Property Group. The site was part of a 19-year battle between the two developers to build a mall.

“Despite our best efforts and continuing enthusiasm for the opportunity, it became apparent that we were not going to be able to move forward anytime soon in Syosset with development of The Mall at Oyster Bay,” Chief Executive Robert Taubman said. “Given the excellent progress we are making with a number of other properties in our development pipeline, we are pleased to be able to redirect our resources at this time.”

Simon purchased the Oyster Bay land and its competitor’s interest in an Arizona mall for $60 million cash and 555,150 partnership units in Simon Property Limited Group Partnership. Taubman will also be relieved of its $84 million piece of a $167 million loan against the Arizona mall, the final piece of the $230 million transaction.

Click here to view full article.

President Obama Advocates Clean Energy, Small Businesses, Infrastructure At 2014 State Of The Union Address

The leader of the free world touched on a number of topics in his optimistic State of the Union address on Tuesday, including energy and economic development.

Homegrown energy, President Barack Obama said, is essential to creating more jobs in America. The country is closer to energy independence than ever in recent history, he claimed, crediting natural gas as a “bridge fuel” that lowers carbon pollution. He pledged to cut bureaucracy for factories using natural gas and called on Congress to authorize fueling stations for cars and trucks.

Obama also referenced alternative energy, citing that an American home or business installs solar panels every four minutes. The solar industry even added 23,000 jobs in 2013, he added, with nearly half working as installers earning $23 per hour. He recommended changing tax policy in the wake of giving fossil fuel companies $4 billion in tax subsidies on top of their $118 billion in profits back in 2012.

In addition to energy production, the president covered energy consumption. Boasting how the federal government has partnered with businesses, builders and local communities, he said the United States reduced its total carbon pollution more than any other country in the last eight years. In the future, he wants to set higher fuel efficiency standards for trucks to reduce carbon pollution by 270 metric tons and further limit carbon emissions from power plants, which already account for almost 40 percent of domestic carbon pollution.

Click here to view full article.

February

Long Island Has 7 of Downstate’s 10 Most Deadly Roadways

Jericho Turnpike has supplanted Hempstead Turnpike as the most dangerous thoroughfare in downstate New York.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC) released their annual dangerous roads for pedestrians report, which revealed more pedestrians were killed on Route 25 in Suffolk County than Route 24 in Nassau County. According to their study, 16 died on Jericho from 2010-2012, half along an 11.5-mile stretch from Centereach to Ridge. Twelve were killed on Route 24.

The New York State DOT began improvements along six miles of Jericho Turnpike in Nassau County back in 2012. That included new turning lanes, improved turning radii at street corners, pavement markings, raised center medians, sidewalks, crosswalks and aesthetic landscaping.

“We applaud NYSDOT’s work on Jericho Turnpike in Nassau County, but we urge the state and we hope that the state to extend similar safety improvements into Suffolk County, where they are desperately needed,” TSTC Associate Director Ryan Lynch said.

Since Tri-State began their annual analysis in 2008, Jericho Turnpike has consistently sat among the most dangerous roads. But after being tied for second, it clinched the dubious title this go-around. US-130 in New Jersey jumped up to tie Hempstead Turnpike for second this year.

Click here to view full article.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, LIBC: Jobs, Infrastructure, Affordable Housing Hot Topics

With the state budget process underway since last month, New York Senator Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) spoke to the Long Island Business Council (LIBC) and guests about money and jobs.

The GOP Majority Leader was the guest speaker for Thursday’s meeting at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale. He began his discussion with jobs, identifying job creation as the top priority over his career. All community-level problems, like crime, connect to jobs.

“You are the people who create jobs. It shouldn’t be government creating the jobs. We shouldn’t be getting in your way,” Skelos said. “Our job is to make sure New York State is competitive with other states.”

While the Long Island legislator does believe Albany is moving in the right direction, it still has a hard time shaking a bad reputation that includes so many late budgets and high taxes. He advocated carefully cutting taxes to support small businesses and keep spending under control.

Fortunately, Skelos added, the state government is now working together.

Click here to view full article.

High ‘Scores’ For Communities Eschewing Cars

Not only do communities with walkable downtowns enjoy a great reputation, but they may be easier on residents’ budgets.

Nonprofit Walk Score released their 2014 best cities for public transit late last month. Comparing access to public transit, parks, stores and other metrics, New York City earned a top score among 300 cities with 81 of 100.

But Walk Score also calculates scores for countless zip codes, including Long Island towns and villages. And according toBetter! Cities & Towns, family transportation costs penalize those living in less walkable communities.

Click here to view full article.

‘Save Our Bay’ Rally Seeks $600 Mil For Bay Park Upgrades

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano was the keynote speaker, but he was joined politicians in both major parties, environmentalists, civic groups and residents Tuesday in calling for upgrades at Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant.

“We have an opportunity to build a wastewater treatment plant the right way,” Mangano said.

Nearly 100 gathered on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature, many holding signs or petitions, for the Citizens Campaign for the Environment’s rally. Executive Director Adrienne Esposito used the demonstration to show unified support for an ocean outfall pipe and additional nitrogen filtration.

“We are at the cusp of turning one of the worst sewage treatment plants in our state into a model plant for the region. By removing nitrogen and extending the outfall pipe into the ocean we will bring back our bays and protect our ocean,” Esposito said. “Now is the time for action.”

The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant serves 550,000 Nassau County residents and processes about 50 million gallons of sewage daily. Superstorm Sandy crippled the plant last year with nine feet of saltwater flooding, knocking it completely out of service for two days. Millions of untreated and partially-treated sewage flowed through the plant and into local waters before emergency repairs were made.

Click here to view full article.

County Agrees To Sewer District In Mastic, Shirley

A new sewer system will be coming to Mastic/Shirley after all.

Led by Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), the Suffolk County Legislature voted Tuesday in favor of a wastewater treatment plant at Calabro Airport and $1 million to fund creation of a sewer district.

“For decades the Tri-Hamlet community has talked about the need for a sewer district to improve our economic corridors and protect our vulnerable environment,” Browning said. “This vote makes the realization of that dream closer than ever before. It is a historic moment for a community that desperately needs revitalization.”

The project calls for construction of a plant capable of handling sewage for Main Street districts and other recommended development. The proposed coverage area would run just west of the William Floyd Parkway to the Forge River along CR 80, and produce 300,000 gallons of waste daily.

The Town of Brookhaven has verbally committed 20 acres of Calabro Airport for the wastewater treatment plant, although an official vote has not yet taken place.

The $1 million brings the county’s contributions to the Mastic/Shirley sewer project to $1.9 million. Officials have also secured a $1.2 million state grant.

Click here to view full article.

Bicycle Comment Wheels Suffolk Leg. Barraga Into Hot Seat

A Suffolk County Legislator has not backed down from a controversial letter telling a constituent that Suffolk County is too dangerous for bicycling.

Legislator Thomas Barraga (R-West Islip) stood by his comments during a phone interview with Vision Long Island on Thursday, referencing anecdotal evidence about motorists colliding with others on the road.

“I’m not blaming the bicyclists. I’m not blaming joggers. I’m not blaming drivers. I’m just stating what’s happening out there,” said.

The legislator became the center of attention for a Jan. 19 letter he wrote to West Islip High School senior Matthew Cutrone. Cutrone wrote Barraga in the fall asking for help making roads safer for bicyclists as part of a school assignment. His mother, Sandy Cutrone, was struck by a car while riding her bike in Babylon Village earlier that fall. She suffered a concussion and broken shoulder blade. A senior loan officer at a Hauppauge bank, she’s still out of work and coping with vision problems.

On her Facebook page, Sandy said her son had four classmates struck by cars. Three were walking to school with two dying from their injuries. The fourth, she said, was intentionally hit on New Year’s Eve 2013.

The legislator told the teenager in his letter that while he wishes his mother a complete recovery, he believes nobody should ride a bicycle or motorcycle on any road in Suffolk County. He said he’s warned constituents who tell him about their new biking hobby, only to see 90 percent hit by an automobile.

Click here to view full article.

Downtown Huntington Part Of IDA’s Strong 2013

Suffolk County awarded more companies financial incentive to call the county home in 2013 than recent years.

The Suffolk Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is responsible for cutting red tape and providing financial assistance to keep businesses from moving and attract others to Long Island. Executive Director Anthony Manetta said they were very successful last year.

“It was a turnaround success story. We helped dozens of companies stay and grow on Long Island, created new initiatives and connected more than ever with the business community,” Manetta said.

In 2013, the IDA structured 24 projects that will retain 4,382 jobs and create 1,395 new jobs. They added $43 million in new payroll to the local economy and $232 in new local capital investment.

Before last year’s 24, the agency closed on 8 projects in 2012 and 5 combined in 2010 and 2011. That’s led to a 300 percent increase in revenue since 2011.

Click here to view full article.

Friends Of LI Rebuilding Groups Host New York State Sandy Recovery Chief Jon Kaiman

The boss of New York Rising told Long Island community leaders that cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy is the first such process in their lives.

Jon Kaiman, the governor’s adviser on Sandy relief and chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s Friends of Long Island (FoLI) meeting. With 70 people from various recovery groups in attendance at the Sustainability Institute of Molloy College in Farmingdale, he emphasized it was a living process.

“These are called 100-year storms for a reason,” he said.

FoLI is the umbrella organization for grassroots, volunteer groups across Nassau and Suffolk helping neighbors clean up after Sandy. Supported by Vision Long Island, members include Friends of Freeport, Lindy Manpower, Neighbors Supporting Neighbors, Adopt-A-House, The 11518 Together, SOS LI, Island Park, and Sandy Support, Massapequa Style.

Community leaders updated the NY Rising chief about progress in their communities. So far more than 400 homes have been ripped out and 175 have been rebuilt.

“Kaiman did a great job answering very detailed questions on NY Rising,” Vision Executive Director Eric Alexander said.

Click here to view full article.

Israel Drives Support For Safer Roads On Long Island

Suffolk County Legislator Tom Barraga and his bicycle comments were not the motivation behind proposed changes to transportation infrastructure, but the timing was not lost.

Speaking at Nassau County Police Department’s Second Precinct, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) advocated for the Safe Streets Act. But the federal representative said the county lawmaker emphasized the need to open America’s roads to bicyclists, pedestrians and other alternative uses.

“He actually helped educate people,” Israel said.

Meanwhile, the congressman petitioned for support in passing the Safe Streets Act of 2013. If approved, this would require states receiving federal funds for transportation projects to implement policies ensuring the safety and accessibility for everyone. The goal is to keep pedestrians safe.

West Islip resident Sandy Cutrone, the target of Barraga’s letter, was grateful to see progress. Struck by a van on Montauk Highway in Babylon Village last fall, Cutrone continues to battle neck pain, vision problems and post-concussion symptoms that have kept her from working.

Click here to view full article.

Huntington, NAACP Reach Deal For Ruland Road Co-ops

A decade of hostilities, lawsuits and court appearances about a Melville housing development could finally be over.

Both the Town of Huntington and Huntington branch of the NAACP agreed to a settlement earlier this week for housing on Ruland Road. Instead of the owned units demanded by the former and the rentals requested by the latter, Ruland Knolls will consist of low-equity co-ops (LEC).

“This plan will provide affordable housing for young people entering the workforce and for families, while providing ownership with small cash outlays,” said Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone, who once lived in an LEC in New York City.

Both the rentals and D&F Development Group’s Ruland Knolls project have been supported by the Huntington Township Housing Coalition. President Richard Koubek released a letter expressing his support for the LEC project and gratitude to both the town board and his supporters.

“Thanks to all who helped us to press the Town Board for an equitable resolution of this long-legal battle and most important, for the creation of much-needed affordable housing in Huntington,” Koubek said.

Originally the project called for 117 one-bedroom units, while the NAACP asked for 117 rental units. The new agreement will create the same number of limited equity co-op units, in the same 72 one-bedroom, 39 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom unit breakdown of the rental proposal. Designed to be affordable for people earning 50-80 percent of the Nassau/Suffolk median income – $37,100-$59,300 for one; $52,950-$84,700 for a family of four – LECs require “shareholders” to pay two months of the maintenance fee as a down payment before charging a maintenance fee comparable to apartment rent.

Click here to view full article.

Bellone: Suffolk Shares The Road With Bikes, Pedestrians

Ever since Thomas Barraga succinctly placed foot into mouth with comments about bicyclists in Suffolk County, Complete Streets has become something of a buzz word.

The Suffolk Legislator responded to a West Islip teenager’s letter about safer roads after his mother was hit riding a bike in Babylon Village. Barraga (R-West Islip) wrote that nobody should ride a bicycle or motorcycle in Suffolk County; he added that dedicated bicycle lanes, additional signage and other improvements would do little.

But the legislator’s boss, County Executive Steve Bellone, publicly disagreed in a Joye Brown column for Newsday. Bicyclists, runners and motorcycles, he said last week, are essential for health, tourism and economic development.

“Tom is known for being direct and saying what is on his mind,” the Babylon Democrat said. “You can agree or disagree with him, but I would rather have a politician who talks straight than who does otherwise.”

After Barraga’s January letter made headlines last week, the legislator told Vision Long Island he was only concerned about safety.

Click here for full story.

Sewer Demands Spill Out At State Sandy Hearing

Sewers were part of the discussion at a hearing for $2.1 billion in federal funds earmarked for Superstorm Sandy funds on Thursday, and Mastic/Shirley supporters made some noise.

Suffolk County authorized spending $1 million to create Mastic/Shirley Sewer District earlier this month and support for a wastewater treatment plant at Calabro Airport. The district would account for 300,000 daily gallons of waste, although environmentalists expect the plan to significantly reduce pollution in the nearby Forge River.

Among the 75 people in the Suffolk County Legislative Building in Hauppauge, Suffolk Legislator Kate Browning, Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi, William Floyd Summit President Beth Wahl and Mastic Beach property owner Maura Sperry supported funding for a sewer district on the Mastic/Shirley peninsula.

A few attendees carried signs in support of the sewers, saying it would improve economic development.

But Thursday’s meeting also examined the entire plan for the $2.1 billion. New York Rising and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery are holding a series of public hearings to discuss the second allotment of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development money.

Click here for full story.

Nassau, Suffolk Presiding Officers Talk Sewers, Complete Streets, Downtown Redevelopment With Vision Long Island

Norma Gonsalves and DuWayne Gregory, the presiding officers of Nassau and Suffolk Legislatures, respectively, joined Vision Long Island’s Board of Directors with updates on several projects.

Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) offered an update for the repairs and upgrades at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. Eight projects are underway, with an $830 million budget to convert the Sandy-damaged plant into a state of the art facility.

The Nassau Legislator also advocated for the ocean outflow pipe. Designed to release treated waste into the Atlantic Ocean instead of Reynolds Channel, Gonsalves said the $600-$750 million price tag is worth protecting the entire county.

“There’s a lot of work to be done [at the plant],” she said. Vision’s board acknowledged Gonsalves’ leadership in securing funding for what is the largest infrastructure project in Long Island’s history.

Click here for full story.

Alexander: Safer Roads Boost Economy

This editorial originally ran in Long Island Business News on Feb. 25.

Seven of New York State’s 10 most dangerous roads are on Long Island.

Among the worst are Suffolk’s Middle Country Road, Sunrise Highway, Route 110 and Wicks Road; in Nassau, danger lies on Jericho Turnpike, Hempstead Turnpike, Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road. The findings from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s annual “Dangerous Roads” report identify that our deadly roads are deadlier than Broadway in Manhattan, Queens Boulevard and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue, among other scary thoroughfares.

A couple weeks after the campaign’s report, a Suffolk County legislator made national news with bizarre comments that no one in Suffolk should ever ride a bicycle or motorcycle or jog in their neighborhood.

We can agree that Suffolk roads are dangerous, but to suggest that people don’t run, walk or bike is unheard of, and ignores design solutions that can make our roads safer.

Click here for full op-ed.

 

March

Sewers, Economic Development Focus Of Bellone Speech

Public enemy no. 1 in Suffolk County, County Executive Steve Bellone said, is nitrogen.

Giving his second State of the County address Wednesday night, the county leader focused most his hour-long speech on deteriorating water quality.

“There is no greater challenge to our future than the water quality crisis that we must now begin to confront.  Nitrogen poisoning of our surface and ground waters is the greatest crisis this County has faced in a generation,” Bellone said.

In excessive quantities, nitrogen can decrease oxygen content in water, increase water temperatures and feed algal blooms. Nearly 70 percent of it comes from failing septic systems and cesspools on private properties, county officials said, an issue considering that just a quarter of Suffolk County is sewered.

During the address, Bellone announced his plan to sewer more homes. He said the county will study homes one at a time, 200,000 of the approximately 360,000 unsewered Suffolk homes. Based on their findings, the county will place them on a sewer or employ an advanced wastewater system for more isolated properties.

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Middle Country Road Land Use Plan Advances:

Wincoram Development Poised To Replace Blighted Theater

Demolition of a long-blighted Coram property is underway and its rebirth as a $55 million mixed-use development draws nearer.

A backhoe could be seen ripping apart the former UA movie theater along Middle Country Road and Route 112 Thursday. What eventually follows next is Wincoram Commons – a Conifer Realty project to create 176 units of workforce housing and 13,300 square feet of commercial space.

Demolition of the rundown, graffiti-laced theater should move quickly. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for April.

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Long Island Storms Albany For Sixth Annual Lobby Day

A contingent of 50 small business, union leaders, civics, environmentalists and post-Sandy rebuilding groups in Nassau and Suffolk made the trek to Albany on Tuesday to remind the state capitol what’s important to Long Island.

The sixth annual Long Island Lobby Day agenda covered many aspects of life on the island. Several members of the group want a tax deferred IRA for small businesses to protect against the next recession. Others pushed for Complete Streets infrastructure to make Long Island roads safer for everyone; more funding to improve public transit; home rule on speed limits for safer downtowns; and a Transit Village Infrastructure Program to aid local municipalities in redevelopment. Some fought for wastewater improvements at Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, Hempstead and Mastic/Shirley. Others rallied for environmental causes like safe disposal of medications, off-shore wind power, solar power and clean water. Concerns about the heroin epidemic, caregiver safety, the future of the Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center and consumer protection were championed by some. A number also sought better communication from insurance companies and New York Rising in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, as well as financial assistance for grassroots aid groups.

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Suffolk Seeks $10 Million More Bus Funding From State

It’s time to stop giving Suffolk County substantially less state aid for busses than Nassau County, County Executive Steve Bellone told Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Bellone appealed to Cuomo via letter last week to add $10 million towards the Suffolk County Transit (ST) agency.

ST carries 22,000 passengers each weekday on more than two dozen routes. Eight lines were opened on Sunday back in December. Rather than operate in-house, the agency contracts its routes to three private companies.

Operating the bus system costs Suffolk County $57 million every year. Of that bill, the county pays for $29 million. New York State kicks in $22 million.

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Bellone Unveils Plan To Install Sewers Under 12,000 Homes

Nitrogen pollution from private homes is the first target in Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s war on polluted waterways.

Bellone unveiled $1 billion plan Wednesday which will take 12,000 South Shore homes off septic tanks and connected them to new sewer systems.

“Where can we get the greatest bang for our buck,” he said.

The plans calls for homes near Carlls River in North Babylon and Deer Park, Connetquot River in Oakdale, and Forge River in Mastic, Mastic Beach and Shirley to be sewered. County officials said density of development and proximity to rivers that flow into the bay were among the criteria.

“These three areas, if we invest in sewer infrastructure around these three river corridors, we can reduce by at least 25 percent the amount of nitrogen coming into the bay from sewers and septics,” Bellone said.

About 70 percent of nitrogen is believed to come from homes and three-quarters of Suffolk is unsewered.

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Assemblyman Wants $20 Million For Complete Streets Work

Spending $20 million could save pedestrian and bicyclist lives.

That was the message State Assemblyman Ed Hennessey preached in Patchogue on Saturday, joined by Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco, nonprofits and community groups.

Hennessey called on New York State to spend more on projects in Suffolk County to make streets safer for pedestrians and toughen penalties for hit-and-run drivers. He also asked the state Department of Transportation to use the state’s CompleteStreets Policy in the planning and design of road projects.

“If we want to make our roads safer, more user-friendly for everyone, more integrated with our communities, then we need stiffer laws but also better, smarter infrastructure. This is where the necessary funding and the commitment of our NYS DOT to implement the funding become imperative to follow through on the Complete Streets Policy,” Hennessey said.

Complete Streets – strategies to build thoroughfares that safely accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, mass transit and motorists – is a hot topic for organizations like Vision Long Island and Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

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Bus Forum Brakes For NICE Driver, Passenger Concerns

A bus driver shared her concerns about the threat of angry passengers attacking and passengers griped about their own qualms.

The Ethical Humanist Society played host to a public forum for the Long Island Bus Riders Union on Monday. Nassau County Legislators joined labor and community advocates in Garden City to hear concerns about Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) service.

Following an incident Feb. 24 where a female passenger assaulted a driver in Franklin Square, NICE officials confirmed they are investigating Plexiglas partitions and other measure to protect drivers. Another passenger recorded the woman and her child on his cell phone before the driver was taken to the hospital; no arrests have been made.

Veolia Transportation took over operation of busses in 2012, current driver said schedule and route changes have enraged passengers. The driver told the panel they’ve been worried angry customers will take out frustrations on them as the most visible part of the company.

Meanwhile, Legislators Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) and Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) joined Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Long Island Federation of Labor and Vision Long Island hear out passengers’ concerns.

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Developer’s Love Of Riverhead Behind Shared Office Space

A former lawyer and now the woman behind a Manhattan real estate firm, Georgia Malone quickly fell in love with downtown Riverhead.

Unique small businesses litter Main Street, she said, and the town’s government is very forward thinking. In fact, their pro-business mentality is part of the reason Malone is opening shared office space in Riverhead.

“It tries so hard to get business,” she said.

Malone and business partner Amir Korangy are still preparing 30 W. Main Street, although the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. Up to 34 offices, plus counter space, could be available by July.

“It’s a novel idea but I think it’s something Riverhead could really benefit from,” she said.

Renovations to the tune of $1.7 million are underway. Malone and Korangy found much of the three-story brick building in a state of disrepair, with a new roof, brickwork, elevator, facade restoration and other repairs necessary. HVAC work was expected to begin next week, as glass for the walls separating offices should begin to appear.

Plans call for two 4,000-square foot floors of shared office space. The second floor offices will be smaller, Malone said, designed for younger entrepreneurs who can’t afford to lease larger spaces. About 22 offices will be available here. The third floor will consist of 12 larger offices more suitable for accountants, lawyers and other traditional businesses.

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April

More Calls For Safer Roads At Complete Streets Summit

“Here we have to rustle up energy to these common sense activities.”

Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island and emcee for the 2014 Complete Streets Summit, let a little passion slip through at the beginning of Thursday’s conference. He complained how people are still getting hurt and killed on Long Island roads, while other parts of the world have made the necessary changes to protect them.

The second annual Complete Streets Summit, held at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale, was a gathering of government leaders, planners, engineers, nonprofits and other community stakeholders who support policy changes to design roadways for all uses – not just automobiles.

For Sandy Cutrone, the Summit was a chance to remind participants of the campaign’s significance. The West Islip resident was an avid bicyclist since her days growing up in North Babylon; she was riding along Montauk Highway in Babylon Village last September when a van turned into her. Cutrone developed neck pain, vision problems and post-concussion symptoms that continue to keep her from working. Her story crossed the world in February after Suffolk County Legislator Tom Barraga criticized her for bicycling in Suffolk County.

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Buying Into Housing Development In Lieu Of Vacant Stores

A pair of boarded-up commercial buildings in Valley Stream are slated to be redeveloped into a transit-oriented apartment complex.

Once completed, the $15 million project will replace 10 vacant stores with 39 units of housing in a three-story building. Parking will occupy the first floor and the building will be connected to the Gibson Boulevard LIRR station.

D&F Development Group Principal Peter Florey said the Hewlett Harbor Point will be priced as workforce housing. The annual income limit for the 20 one-bedroom units is $45,000 and the limit for the 19 two-bedroom units is $85,000.  However, village residents and first responders will be given priority.

“It wouldn’t surprise me [to see others apply]. I’d expect the majority to be coming from the area. We want to make sure the Valley Stream folks get the first shot at getting in,” Florey said.

After getting Village approval last year, the project is expected to enter the construction phase this fall. Occupancy is expected for early 2016, with the application process beginning in the third quarter of 2015.

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Volunteers Warn About Looming NY Rising Deadline

As the deadline for Long Islanders to seek financial restitution for Superstorm Sandy damage looms, a team of volunteers hit the message home on Saturday.

Friends of Long Island – a collection of grassroots community organizations supported by Vision Long Island – rallied to emphasize the April 11 deadline for NY Rising applications.

Volunteers in Mastic Shirley, Babylon, Lindenhurst, Long Beach, Oceanside, Freeport, Island Park and East Rockaway were out and about last weekend, reminding people about the deadline. Homeowners seeking help to rebuild, repair or elevate house must begin the application process before the deadline for any hope of getting a check.

Friends of Long Island groups are known for ripping out and rebuilding homes on the weekends.

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Nassau Chambers Support Sandy Recovery Effort

Most days the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce focuses on small merchants across western Long Island.

But on Thursday morning, the 48 chamber members put business aside to support the unpaid volunteers with Friends of Long Island. More than half of the individual chambers donated more than $2,000 to the coalition of grassroots Superstorm Sandy recovery groups. All of the proceeds will go towards building materials.

“The Nassau Council of Chambers is proud to have awarded this check due to the generosity of our members. We will continue to fundraise on their behalf. It is the least we can do as an organization,” President Julie Marchesella said.

Friends of Long Island is an umbrella for various community groups working throughout the South Shore. Vision Long Island provides support for their efforts, and spoke at Thursday’s meeting. The nonprofit shared recent activities of the Smart Growth movement around the island.

“Kudos to the small business community that really is the backbone of Long Island,” Executive Director Eric Alexander said.

The Nassau Council of Chamber of Commerce awarded a check to Friends of Long Island at their Presidents’ Roundtable which took place on Thursday, April 10.  The Nassau Council raised these funds through the generosity of their members in recognition of the volunteer efforts accomplished by restoring the regions residents/businesses back into their homes.

Welcome To The New, Improved Village Of Patchogue

Just 10 years ago, Patchogue had a very different reputation. It was laden with boarded up storefronts and questionable neighborhoods.

But as the Village embraces its downtown, the community is coming back to life. Newsday explored the story last weekend, covering a community some say is a model for other downtowns.

“I think the community understood we needed dynamic change. Patchogue has always been a community in transition. From boat building in the 1800s, tourism in the 1900s, commercial mecca to a period of darkness to where we are today. I think people were ready to gamble on changes,” Mayor Paul Pontieri said.

Patchogue had fallen into a hard decline around the turn of the millennium. In 2002, 18.2 percent of storefronts were empty. Long Island department store Swezey’s closed up shop in 2003, adding to the list of long-term vacancies. Many parts of the village were dangerous, especially the neighborhood around the LIRR station by South Ocean Avenue. And the death of hate crime victim Marcelo Lucero in 2008 only attracted more negative attention.

Click here for full story.

Huntington ZBA To Consider More Mixed-Use Development

While construction is underway on a sizeable mixed-use project along Gerard Street in Huntington village, another bank of downtown housing could be coming.

An application is in front of the Town of Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals to create 14 new apartments over a fitness center. Located at the corner of New York Avenue and Gibson Street, the application calls for existing second-story office space to be converted and expanded into six two-bedroom apartments and one single-bedroom apartment. A new third floor would hold seven more apartments.

Monthly rent would be approximately $2,500, according to sources familiar with plans.

Property owner Greg DeRosa also owns a .4-acre vacant lot across the street, which would be converted into a gated parking lot for 28 cars, if approved.

DeRosa’s attorney, James Margolin, confirmed the Zoning Board has the plans but has not weighed in yet. They’re next scheduled meeting is May 1.

“Hopefully they’ll make a decision on the application that’s favorable to us,” Margolin said.

Large Turnout For Dowling’s 5th Annual LI Youth Summit

More than 350 high school students from 26 districts across Long Island participated in the 5th annual Long Island Youth Summit (LIYS) at Dowling College on April 4.

The goal of the LIYS is to work with the brightest and most active students to find innovative solutions to socio-economic and socio-medical issues affecting Long Island. During the conference, students work with experts in the fields of medicine, government, civic activism, economics, and the environment to address such issues as bullying, abuse of prescription drugs, mental health and self-esteem, water, renewable energy, Sandy recovery, economic development and housing, race, class and leadership.

Dr. Adam Aponte, director of North Shore-LIJ’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, touched on social inequalities illustrated through access to health care. Young people think differently and are more apt to embrace change than older generations, he said, which is important to solving health inequities. Aponte said America is becoming so diverse there will be no majority come 2040. And yet, he said the infant mortality rate in East Harlem is 9.5 percent compared to just 4.5 percent in the Upper East Side when the neighborhoods practically border each other. Education, culture, language and race all play a role, Aponte said, and the time to embrace diversity in all facets of life is now. More diverse populations create more ideas and solutions. The director also emphasized the importance of positive support for everyone. When he grew up as a poor Puerto Rican child, he found support in his dream of becoming a doctor from his friends and family, even after a ninth grade teacher told him not to aspire so high.

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Jefferson Plaza, New Village, IDAs Honored By LIBN

Real Estate professionals gathered at Crest Hollow Country Club earlier this week to celebrate Long Island’s best deals of the year.

Fifty-two awards for commercial and residential projects were bestowed during the 2014 Long Island Business News Real Estate Awards on Tuesday evening, including several Smart Growth-friendly projects.

Jefferson Plaza in Farmingdale pulled down the Top Smart Growth Project honor. With Bartone Properties; TDI; Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana; and the Village of Farmingdale behind it, this project will replace a blighted warehouse and parking lot with 154 apartments and 19,000 square feet of retail in two new buildings. Plans also call for an underground parking lot with a 172-vehicle capacity. Ground breaking took place last fall and construction is underway.

The Top Mixed-Use Project in Suffolk County award was endowed to Tritec Real Estate for their New Village in Patchogue development. New Village is a 291-apartment complex with 46,000 square feet of retail space and 17,000 square feet of office space. The first apartment was leased at the beginning of the year, but the neighboring community has already invested into expansions and repairs in anticipation of the new development.

Both the Nassau County and Suffolk County Industrial Development Agencies took home IDA of the Year honors. The Nassau agency completed 21 projects in 2013, including several that encouraged companies to leave New York City. They kept more than 700 jobs on Long Island by keeping pharmaceutical maker PL Development from leaving for Florida. The Nassau continent also backed transit-oriented development like Jefferson Plaza and the 315-apartment Mineola Properties. Over in Suffolk, the IDA completed 24 deals to create $232 million in new local capital investment. Their new Boost program provides tax breaks to smaller tech companies, leading to the creation of a new tech cluster in Huntington village.

Congratulations to Long Island Business News for another successful awards ceremony.

Downtowns Tipping The Scales Against Malls In Retail Fight

Mall owners need to watch their back.

A retail specialist said stores – both local and chains – are taking a second look at downtowns.

Malls are a dated concept, CBRE Retail Services Vice President Gregg Carlin said, predicting retailers will start opting for favorable downtowns before long. Smaller malls will just close up shop, he said, while larger malls will bring on residential and office tenants.

Regional malls currently account for 16.9 percent of all national retail space, down from 22.9 percent in 1982, Carlin said. Only 1,430 malls remain, he added, down from approximately 2,100 nationwide in 1990. On Long Island, the Walt Whitman, Roosevelt Field and Westfield South Shore Malls are or have recently spent significant money redesigning themselves.

At the same time, Main Street is becoming the hub of arts and entertainment in communities like Patchogue, Huntington, Farmingdale and Rockville Centre. High taxes are a concern, but the draw for growing downtowns is proving to be very strong. Panera Bread opened in Huntington village last year and Bonefish Grill is expected to open a location in Rockville Centre in 2014.

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Groundbreaking Finally Occurs For Wincoram Development

Plans to redevelop a blighted Coram movie theater have been moving forward for a decade, but concrete progress was made Thursday when a backhoe knocked down the old marquis.

Civic leaders, elected officials and investors gathered along Middle Country Road and Route 112 amid the raindrops to celebrate the groundbreaking of Wincoram Commons. The $55 million mixed-use project replaces the former UA movie theater that sat vacant for years.

“We’re going to see this vision happen. It’s been far too long this property has been on life support,” Coram Civic Association President Erma Gluck said.

In the blighted structure’s place will rise apartment buildings and townhouses. About 7,300 square feet of commercial will be built into the first floor of three-story residential buildings, with another 6,000 square feet in a commercial building along Route 112. Plans also call for a clubhouse housing a leasing office, fitness center and community space across from the office building. All of these structures are intended to frame a pedestrian-friendly plaza.

Actually, safer streets have been a driving force all along. The project was influenced by the Town of Brookhaven’s Middle Country Road Land Use Plan. Passed in 2006, it calls for walkable communities with an internal main street, multifamily housing and retail, and public meeting places.

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Islip Passes Heartland Square Environmental Impact Study

More than a decade after developers Gerald and David Wolkoff proposed his massive Heartland Town Square and months since the latest progress, the developer team received good news this week.

The Town of Islip revived the $4-billion mini-city plan Tuesday when they voted to accept the final generic environmental impact study. The next step requires the Wolkoffs to prove they have incorporated enough environmental mitigation to receive a finding statement. They would also have to finalize the zoning process.

If eventually approved, the Heartland Town Square project would create affordable housing, mixed-use development, public transportation and new jobs. Plans call for 9,130 apartments and condos on the 452 acres of the former Pilgrim State Hospital, along with a hotel and convention center, an aquarium, civic space, 13-story commercial buildings and an entertainment district.

The developers purchased the property from New York State back in 2001 for $20.1 million proposed the project a year later. After an initial public hearing on the plan in 2004, the town and developers spent years in negotiations before the town board held the next public hearing in 2009.

Before Heartland Town Square can be built, however, the Town Board must approve the new Pilgrim State Planned Redevelopment District zoning, a combination of mixed-use residential and commercial zoning.

The project has also come under fire from unions, who are demanding the Wolkoffs only use union labor to build the project. In addition, delays have come in the form of tax assessments and traffic mitigation.

For more about this story, check out Newsday (subscription required).

May

Hundreds Tour LI For First Annual Smart Growth Saturday

The first annual Smart Growth Saturday attracted nearly 200 people gathered in downtowns across Nassau and Suffolk Counties to examine current and completed projects.

Tours meandered through Bay Shore, Farmingdale, Huntington, Mineola, Patchogue and Westbury, viewing communities that have won multiple Smart Growth Awards from Vision Long Island for transit-oriented, mixed-use and Complete Streets projects over the years.

In Bay Shore, Islip Councilman Steve Flotteron and Vision Board member Dr. Nathalia Rogers led a contingent around Main Street. Joined by the likes of Brookhaven Councilwoman Connie Kepert, NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program Lead Vanessa Lockel, and Friends of Long Island members Kim Skillen and Theresa DiPietto-Roesler, and members of the Central Islip Coalition of Good Neighbors, the tour viewed The YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, Greenview Properties’ Chelsea Place and other business and housing projects.

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New Parking Meter Management Comes to Long Island Downtowns

Some merchants in the Village of Patchogue are griping about new parking meters, although village officials championed the system as a way to protect Main Street.

According to a CBS story, metered parking is scaring away customers. But Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger said merchants asked Village Hall to keep motorists from occupying the same Main Street spaces all day.

“They asked us to enforce the code,” he said.

Until this winter, all 2,000 parking spaces in Patchogue’s business district had been free. Muni meters were installed in late December. A grace period was extended through January before parking enforcement officers began ticketing in early February. Krieger said they wanted residents to see the meters before they had to use them.

These days, 244 parking spaces on Main Street have a fee to use. Parking between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. costs 25 cents for a half-hour with a 90-minute limit. Between 6 p.m.-2 a.m., it jumps to 50 cents every 30 minutes, but there’s no cap. Officials also instituted a $5 flat fee for evenings, avoiding the need to keep feeding the meter.

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Downtown Riverhead vs County Rd 58: Competitive or Complementary?

In a matter of miles, the Town of Riverhead has two very different commercial faces.

Downtown Riverhead is just 3 miles away from the corporate shopping centers of Route 58, but these small businesses receive an average of 7,000 less visitors every day. Despite its charm and attractions like the Long Island Aquarium and Suffolk Theater, Riverhead is still facing an uphill effort to bring people to the downtown.

Part of the challenge is bringing awareness to shoppers on Route 58 of the Main Street just minutes away.

“Route 58 was designed and planned this way,” Vision Long Islander Executive Director Eric Alexander said. “The town board intentionally wanted to see big retailers locate there.”

Route 58 was built in 1936 as an industrial zone, but turned to shopping centers with the rise of big box and warehouse style stores like Walmart and Costco, along with the accompanying chain restaurants, such as Applebee’s and Starbucks.

With the rising movement on Long Island towards smart-growth, downtown Riverhead has been undergoing changes to bring business and residents back in. Spearheading these efforts is Town Supervisor Sean Walter, who is working towards revitalizing the downtown by inviting new projects and businesses onto Main Street.

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Senator Gillibrand Announces Pedestrian Safety Initiatives

Long Island’s roadways, some of which are the most dangerous in the Tri-State area, may receive federal funding for improvements toward pedestrian safety if Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s newly written legislation passes.

Gillibrand’s Pedestrian Safety Act of 2014 contains legislation to allow funds for federal highway safety to go to improving walkability and pedestrian safety on Long Island roads.

Many of Long Island’s roadways are impractical for pedestrians, with road crossings that are few and far between, and are designed for limited safe use by pedestrians. In 2012 there were 39 pedestrian deaths in Nassau County alone, and nearly 1000 injuries, according to the State Department of Motor Vehicles. Suffolk County did no better, with 41 fatalities and 559 injuries. Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau has been named by the State DMV as one of the most dangerous roads in the region, and Jericho Turnpike in Suffolk has been deemed the region’s most dangerous road for pedestrians.

Senator Gillibrand announced the new bill at Eisenhower Park this past Monday, and spoke about the need for safer roadways.

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Alexander: LI’s downtowns shaping up

During this long, cold winter, construction crews were busy in many of our downtowns.

The business districts of Mineola, Westbury, Farmingdale, Huntington, Bay Shore and Patchogue, among others, are all completing building projects. In Mineola, there are three $80 million construction projects underway; Farmingdale is completing two multifamily buildings adjacent to its train station. Westbury opened a theater, while Bay Shore, Patchogue and Huntington have new mixed-use developments close to opening.

Many Long Islanders are touring these six communities at the inaugural Smart Growth Saturday to get a feel for what’s working and what’s coming next. As we know, Long Island is a community of communities and decisions on the shape and character of land use are derived locally. Regardless, these six communities are part of a regional trend that’s revitalizing our Main Streets.

Click here for full op-ed.

Hearings on Clean Water Infrastructure for Nassau County begin

The first of four hearings on clean water infrastructure was held at the Nassau County Legislature on Monday afternoon. A group of scientists and specialists testified at the hearing, in what amounted to across the board support for a proposed ocean outfall pipeline to be built at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant with federal assistance.

Long Island’s surrounding waters, particularly the West Bays, contain high levels of nitrogen, which cause a multitude of environmental concerns. Eutrophication is the ecosystem’s natural response to the introduction of nitrates, sewage, and fertilizers, and it leads to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen in the water) and algal blooms. These conditions lead to a collapse in the ecosystem, with the death of plant and animal life, and the destruction of the salt water marshes.

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Riders and Advocates call for an increase in funding for Suffolk County Transit Bus

Suffolk County Transit was hoping to greet 2014 with a significant expansion of service thanks to an additional $10 million that the County had requested from the state.  Instead it was only given $500,000, barely enough to cover inflation costs.  Unfortuntaely, this lack of state funding is all too common according to advocates, and is quite unbalanced when it comes to other Counties in our region.

This past Monday, May 12th, supporters delivered 1,500 signed petitions to NYS Senator Phil Boyle’s office calling for more adequate public funding from the state for Suffolk’s sole bus service provider.  It was noted that while Suffolk County pays for over 50% of its Bus service with 35% help from the state, Nassau County kicked in only 2% for its service while the sate footed over 50% of the costs.

This disparity isn’t unique though as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone noted when he wrote that “Other suburban counties such as Nassau and Westchester receive up to five times the amount of state funds that Suffolk County receives,” in a letter to Governor Cuomo on  May 10th. Additional funding would be most welcome since recent expansions to service are showing signs of success in Suffolk.  Suday Bus Service has proven quite popular as of this past March, with ridership on Sunday rising 97% and some lines showing as much as a 56% increase.

“Suffolk County has done a decent job of supporting its bus system and has shown that if given additional resources they will expand service,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Suffolk County’s New York State elected officials need to do more to support the millions of riders and businesses who depend on the reliability of the system.”

As part of the delivery of the petition, Vision Long Island Assitant Director Tawaun Weber and a number of local transportation advocates boarded the S40 bus in order to get to Senator Boyle’s office. “More and more we are seeing that our young people want access to reliable public transportation,” said Ms. Weber. “Not only for them to get to school but to allow them access to jobs hereon the island after graduation.”

For more on this you can check out the Long Island Press’ coverage here.

Patchogue Walmart Hearing Draws Hostile Crowd

A proposal to open a Walmart in East Patchogue was met with hundreds of unhappy residents and business owners earlier this week.

More than 200 attended Monday’s Brookhaven Planning Board meeting to critique plans to build the discount department store near Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center. Most of those signed up to address the board opposed the proposal.

Residents like Lawrence Scinto said the 98,000 square-foot store could worsen pollution, affect the Fish Thicket Nature Preserve across the street, leach customers from existing retail and deteriorate traffic to the point it impacts emergency response times to the nearby hospital. A traffic study said Walmart would add 378 cars to the evening rush hour.

“Traffic is gonna be a nightmare. It’s already at its maximum now,” Daniel Wirshup said.

Walmart representatives said they would create 250 part- and full-time jobs with the store and invest $1.25 million on traffic improvements.

Click here for full story.

How Smart Growth Can Rebuild Post-Sandy LI Stronger

In the wake of Superstom Sandy, planning officials from both Suffolk and Nassau Counties teamed up with EPA, FEMA, MTA and New York Department of State officials to rebuild Long Island more resilient to the next storm. They called it the Smart Growth Resiliency Partnership.

And on Tuesday at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale, they held the Accepting the Tide: A Roundtable Discussion on Integrating Resilience and Smart Growth on a Post-Sandy Long Island conference.

Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, State Smart Growth Planning Director Paul Beyer and NY Rising CRP Director Jamie Rubin spoke at the event. They were joined by Sustainability Institute Director and Vision Long Island board member Neal Lewis and a host of other experts to discuss the progress.

Panels covered how Smart Growth fits in the wake of Sandy, how green infrastructure is effective in New York City, integrating mixed-use and transit-oriented development, resources necessary to making resilient Smart Growth work on Long Island and specific steps for the future.

Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander was in attendance. Half the crowd came from state agencies and national organizations, Alexander said, which gave interesting perspectives to consider.

Feds Approve $400 Mil Sandy Funds For LI Sewage Projects

Long Island is in line to get another $400 million in sewer aid.

News broke Thursday that a portion of the $16 billion federal CDBG funds available for Superstorm Sandy recovery via Disaster Relief Appropriations Act would go to improving water quality in Nassau and Suffolk County.

In Nassau, $150 million will be allocated towards the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. Those funds will be used for a nitrogen-removal system. Excessive nitrogen levels feed algae to grow faster than the ecosystems can handle, blocking sunlight that causes other plants to die and consume oxygen. Nitrogen pollution can also lead algal blooms that are toxic to humans.

Effluent – treated sewage – from the Bay Park plant is released into nearby Reynolds Channel. The South Shore body of water is already at risk, environmentalists say, from the channel’s inability to flush new water in and out. There’s not shortage of calls for an outfall pipe that would dump effluent into the Atlantic Ocean, which can circulate water far more effectively.

“Putting nitrogen in Reynolds Channel is like pouring poison in the water,” Senator Chuck Schumer said.

Click here for full story.

Port Jeff Transit-Oriented Development Advances

A new transit-oriented development in Port Jefferson will get some financial support from the Town of Brookhaven.

Rail Realty, a division of the Gitto Group, confirmed the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency recently accepted their application.

However, Rail Realty Managing Member Anthony Gitto said details were in short supply from the IDA. They are considering three sources of incentives for the apartment complex near the Port Jefferson LIRR station – sales tax and material, mortgage taxes on loans and up to 10 years of tax abatement.

Plans call for a 105,000 square-foot development on Texaco Avenue with 74 apartments in three stories of new construction. Underground parking will be available, as will limited on-site parking across the street.

Apartments would be just two blocks away from the train station.

“There’s a desperate need for housing on Long Island. Ideally if you have housing near a train station, it makes it more beneficial if they don’t want vehicles,” Gitto said.

The managing member said they’ve received conditional site plan approval from the Village of Port Jefferson, but still need full site plan approval. Currently, he added, they’re working on sewage and health department approvals.

“According to what I’m being told, we should have all our approvals some time in October,” Gitto said, adding that they could begin demolition and foundation work at the end of the year if the weather cooperates.

For more on this, check out Long Island Business News (subscription required).

From Police To Pizza, How To Run A Downtown Business

“It’s tough owning a small business let alone three small businesses.”

Artie Berke spent a decade serving the public as a police officer, but he’s most known as the man behind Cilantro and Nina’s Pizzeria in Northport and Huntington. Earlier this week, Newsday featured the entrepreneur in a business profile.

Berke spent 12 years with the NYPD when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred. Two of his friends were killed, leaving five children behind. The concept of mortality swept over him, changing his mindset. Dispatched to patrol Ground Zero afterwards, he spent $100 from his own wallet to buy a better gas mask

He gave up police life completely in 2002. Berke and wife Lynne sold their Huntington home to buy an old deli in Northport. They opened Nina’s Pizzeria downstairs and moved in upstairs. A decade later, Nina’s is one of the oldest restaurants in the village

Meanwhile, Kasper’s Hot Dogs opened on Woodbine Avenue in late 2011. A popular California business with a lengthy history and celebrity clientele like Clint Eastwood and Reggie Jackson, business was struggling and Berke took over in June 2012. He added more toppings and panini to the menu, but business dropped like a rock after the summer ended. Kasper’s closed for good in January 2013.

Click here for full story.

Complete Streets Funds Added To Suffolk Budget Amendments

Suffolk County may end up covering the slack from the state and federal government after all.

Legislator Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) confirmed county lawmakers included $250,000 to implement Complete Streets policies – designed to create roads safe for pedestrians, bikers and all users – in the omnibus amendment for the June capital budget vote. Legislators will vote on Tuesday.

“A Complete Streets amendment means we are putting money towards our legislation. This annual expenditure will go a long way to promote safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on our Suffolk County roads,” Calarco said.

Also supported by Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), the amendment will add $250,000 annually for Complete Streets implementation in 2015, 2016 and subsequent years.

“Legislator Calarco has been a true champion for Complete Streets and this is a great step forward to making our streets safer for everyone who uses them. We applaud the Suffolk County Legislature for pushing this issue forward,” Tri-State Transportation Campaign Associate Director Ryan Lynch said.

Click here for full story.

Senate Committee Makes TOD Eligible For More Assistance

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) unanimously approved legislation earlier this month to reauthorize highway portions of the MAP-21 federal surface transportation bill passed two years ago. MAP-21 is set to expire Sept. 30.

If approved by the entire Senate and Congress as a whole, it would fund the highway program at current levels plus inflation for six years. Beginning with $40.3 billion this year, that would be increased to $40.9 billion this year through $45.1 billion in 2020. Included in that is a new National Freight Program beginning with $400 million in 2016 and up to $2 billion in 2020 and the Projects of National and Regional Significance Program at $400 million annually – a $100 million drop from 2013.

Under the proposed extension, to be considered for the Projects of National Regional Significance Program – which provides federal funding for expensive and important projects – projects must cost no more than $350 million, 30 percent of a single state’s federal highway aid, 15 percent of a state’s highway aid for rural states or 75 percent of the state with the most highway aid for multiple states. The bill would set the maximum grant size at $50 million.

However, the bill does not include language for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. Currently funded at $600 million, that is a major deficit in spending in the proposed legislation.

Click here for full story.

June

Over 800 Gather to Celebrate Last 12 Months of Smart Growth Projects on LI

After a dozen years of awards, almost 45 nominees were considered for the 12 awards up for grabs this year.

Emcee and Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander introduced the honorees, followed by a short film of each honored person or project and a brief speech by the honorees.

“The hundreds of honorees we’ve had over the past 13 years have connected to the public and can now demonstrate successful projects,” he said of the Smart Growth Award honorees. “At this event we show the positive examples of Smart Growth driven by the local community.”

This year’s Regional Leadership award was presented to two recipients. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano received the honor for securing Bay Park Sewage Plant infrastructure funding, passage of Complete Streets legislation and promoting Transit-Oriented Development. Mangano accepted the award via cell phone from a last-minute meeting about funding for a Bay Park ocean outflow pipe. H2M Senior Vice President Robert Scheiner received the award for his years of service in municipal government, advancement of community and infrastructure projects and corporate citizenship.

“My administration has worked closely with Vision Island to plan and build safer roadways, greenways and new transit-oriented housing options in Nassau County,” Mangano said. “I am honored to receive Vision Long Island’s Regional Leadership Award and thank them for recognizing my efforts in securing funding for Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant repairs, implementing a Complete Streets initiative and for achieving transit-oriented development in our downtowns.”

Click here to see full coverage.

Walking Tour to Examine Sunrise Highway Traffic Expert Tours Sunrise Highway Over Safety Concerns

Long Island traffic advocates called for changes to make Sunrise Highway safer and more efficient last year, only to be stonewalled by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT).

On Thursday, street design expert Dan Burden joined Vision Long Island, AARP and Tri-State Transportation Campaign for road audits in Valley Stream, Baldwin and Freeport. Burden is the executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

“It’s clear that much more is needed to address the ongoing safety issues facing communities along the Sunrise Highway corridor,” Vision Director Eric Alexander said. “We hope drawing attention to the needs of these downtowns helps improve safety along the corridor and benefits local businesses.”

With two dozen community members, elected officials and advocates following, Burden meandered through all three downtowns highlighting flaws in road design. Traffic lanes larger than 10 feet – 11- and 12-foot lanes were found in Valley Stream and Baldwin – encourage drivers to speed, while traffic lights strung diagonally across an intersection – found in Freeport – are too high for drivers to see pedestrians in the road. Unpainted crosswalks and debris along sidewalks also limited walkability, while pedestrian buttons are largely ignored.

Click here for full story.

 

Huntington ZBA Considering Another Mixed-Use Building

Another mixed-used development could be coming to Huntington village.

The Town of Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals late last month considered a request to demolish an existing commercial structure on New York Avenue and replace it with apartments and a restaurant.

The existing 2,450 square-foot building is currently vacant. At one point, it had been home to Huntington Bay Music, Sole Salon and Art Works Printing.

Instead, property owner GAK Properties wants to demolish the building and replace it with a 6,300 square foot building. A restaurant would occupy the first floor, while two apartments would occupy the second floor.

Zoning Board members and nearby business owners expressed concern about parking, already a hot-button issue downtown. A traffic engineer for the applicant said municipal lots adjacent to Thai USA and the Huntington Elks Lodge would provide ample parking.

The ZBA tabled the request later that meeting, pending completion of a SEQRA review.

Several other mixed-used developments in Huntingon village. The Zoning Board signed off on a three-story building on Wall Street that will replace the infamous Black Lantern, while construction is underway for a heatherwood Communities development along Gerard Street and another three-story building at the former ice house on Stewart Avenue.

Check out the May 29 issue of The Long-Islander for more details.

South Nassau Plan Nets $125 Mil In Federal Sandy Money

Long Island will get a cut of the federal Rebuild By Design money after all.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the winners for their $4 billion in funding to rebuild and mitigate damage after Superstorm Sandy earlier this week. The Interboro Team – led by Interboro Partners – won $125 million.

“This is a huge victory for us and Long Island. We think this project will go a long way to make Long Island more resilient,” Interboro Partners’ Daniel D’Oca said.

Back in late March, the team submitted a five-prong plan with each component supporting another. One component, the lowlands solution, was selected by HUD to be funded.

Along the lower-lying developed areas, flooding can actually prevent mitigating flooding further inland. North-south rivers drain stormwater runoff, but outflow pipes can back up the pipes are inundated. Green infrastructure could not only reduce that flooding, according to the Interboro plan, but also pollution. Their solution calls for a sluice gate in the Mill River watershed to better manage stormwater, convert a nearby undeveloped parcel of land into a riverfront park that could filter stormwater and add stormwater swales to nearby streets.

Click here for story.

Unveiling $108 Million New Village Development In Patchogue

Vision Long Island joined Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, elected officials, business owners and residents Tuesday to celebrate another component in the revitalization of Patchogue.

Developer Tritec hosted a ribbon cutting for their New Village project – a $108 million mixed-use development.

The project will offer 291 new apartments, 46,000 square feet of retail and 18,000 square feet of office space. All residents will have access to club rooms, fitness facilities, roof top gardens, outdoor fireplaces and grilling areas, although some tenants will also have private decks and parking.

Parking is also a key piece of New Village, adding 500 spaces. Of those, 293 are underground.

Early residents began moving in this spring.

The New Village development received a Smart Growth Award from Vision Long Island in 2008 and the 2009 Top Mixed Use Project from the Long Island Business News.

“Kudos to Mayor Paul Paul Pontieri, Planning Commissioner Lori Devlin, the Village board, the developer, their team and all the folks responsible for moving this project forward,” Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander said.

Brookhaven Approves Ronkonkoma Hub Zoning

The Ronkonkoma Hub is on track.

The Town of Brookhaven voted to rezone property around the Ronkonkoma LIRR station for the $475 million project on Tuesday.

If the project continues to move forward, it would create a 53.73-acre transit-oriented development along Union and Ronkonkoma Avenues.

Plans currently call for 1,450 apartments in one-, two- and three-bedroom formats, 195,000 sq. ft. retail and 360,000 sq. ft. of office space. It would also include 60,000 square feet of flex space for convention space, meetings, gatherings and the like.

The project originally called for a new sewage treatment plant on the Town of Islip side of the border, capable of processing 1.1 million gallons daily but expected to handle just 400,000 gallons a day. However, Suffolk County officials confirmed they would consider hooking the Ronkonkoma Hub project to the existing Southwest Sewer District via seven miles of new pipe.

An earlier version of the plan, including the sewer plant, garnered a Smart Growth Award from Vision Long Island in 2009.

Click here for full story.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano Receives

 

Smart Growth Award At Business Breakfast

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano provided an economic report to business leaders Friday. Standing before 200 small business men and women at the Capitol Grill, Mangano, Nassau IDA Joe Kearney and Hempstead Town Councilman Ed Ambrosino spoke about economic development and downtowns.

Vision Long Island’s Director Eric Alexander and board members Michael Puntillo from Jobco, John Keating from PSEG and later Steven Kreiger from Engel Burman presented Ed with a Smart Growth award for his work in Bay Park, advancing TOD housing and passing Complete Streets legislation among other projects.

Mangano received his Regional Leadership award from Vision at the event. He was unable to attend the Smart Growth Awards in person back on June 13 due to a conflicting meeting with Bay Park financial supporter, the U.S. EPA.

Click here to view the video from the Smart Growth Awards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July

Pedestrians In Danger On Montauk Highway In Lindenhurst

First, it was a teenager’s death on Hempstead Turnpike. Now, it’s a near fatality involving a young boy on Lindenhurst.

Village of Lindenhurst officials, residents and transportation advocates renewed a request to the Department of Transportation (DOT) last Friday for improvements to a strip of Montauk Highway.

Much like the 13-year-old killed trying to cross Hempstead Turnpike on June 15, a 10-year-old boy was struck by a car on June 14. John Johnson, of Lindenhurst, was with his family going across Montauk Highway when they were caught in the middle of the road without the refuge of a median. The nearest vehicle began to slow, but Johnson sprinted into the next lane and a car launched the boy 15 feet in the air.

Click here for full story.

Return To Sender: USPS Won’t Close Local Branch

The Northport post office will remain open.

Months after Vision Long Island reported the United States Postal Service (USPS) placed plans to close the Main Street branch on hold indefinitely, Northport is not on the latest USPS list of possible closures.

According to The Observer, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) said a new consolidation report did not include the branch, the first official documentation confirming it will remain open.

“I fought to make sure the U.S. Postal Service understands how crucial the Northport Post Office is to the Northport community. I was pleased that the USPS heeded my calls and, even in the face of many post office and mail processing center closures in 2015, the Northport Post Office will remain open. I will continue to advocate for this important community resource,” Israel said.

Northport Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin discovered the postal service was considering closing the downtown post office in summer 2012. Some of the services would move to a smaller 3,055 sq. ft. downtown store while all 19 postal carriers would have been relocated to East Northport.

Click here for full story.

Nassau Sewage Plant Deal Aims To Save Taxpayers Money, Improve Water Quality For 1.1 Million Residents

Handing maintenance and operation of three wastewater plants will reduce Nassau County spending by at least $233.1 million, officials announced Tuesday.

County Executive Ed Mangano unveiled the 20-year agreement with United Water at a meeting of his Wastewater Plant Advisory Committee. Vision Long Island reviewed the presentation from United Water’s President Richard Henning and his team.

“This partnership was formed to dramatically improve the County’s ability to protect our environment and the health and well-being of our residents. Together with United Water, we will implement unprecedented advances in environmental protection, odor control, management efficiencies, plant aesthetics and public information. Furthermore, this effort permits a more effective and efficient management of the plants and sewage system following the federal government’s significant investment in storm hardening of our infrastructure,” the county executive said.

A part of French multinational corporation Suez, United will be responsible for the Bay Park, Cedar Creek and Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plants. Combined, they process wastewater for 1.1 million Nassau County residents.

Click here for full story.

Suffolk IDA OKs $3 Mil Tax Breaks For Huntington Hotel

When the doors to the future Huntington Hotel finally open, they could be a bit lighter with new tax breaks.

A team of developers, led by Emerson J. Dobbs Inc., successfully petitioned the Suffolk County IDA for $3 million in tax relief over 15 years on the $10.4 million project.

IDA members expressed concern last month when developer Jay Dobbs suggested constructing parts of the hotel in Pennsylvania and assembling them in Huntington village with a crane. Dobbs assured them no local contractor could produce the modular components. However, the IDA tabled their request until more specifics could be provided.

But on Thursday, Dobbs said they were reconsidering conventional construction over the modular design.

Either way, he pledged to employ local workers. If they go the modular route, the developers would hire 75-90 locals. And $6.5 million of the $8.9 million construction budget, Dobbs added, will be performed and supplied by local contractors and vendors.

Click here for full story.

Early Support For $43 Mil Walkable Apartments In Port Jeff

The Village Board must approve a state environmental review, but new apartments could be coming into downtown Port Jefferson.

Developer Tritec recently received preliminary approval from the Suffolk County IDA for a six-figure tax break on their proposed 112-apartment design. Late submission of financial documents limited the IDA’s action back at the June 26 meeting, although the Board of Directors backed the $43 million complex.

Tritec officials confirmed they want to purchase the purchase vacant 3.35-acre Heritage Inn Motel for $3.9 million and convert it into a 14,3000 square foot building. In addition to 42 one-bedroom and 70 two-bedroom apartments, the development would include patio decks, a club room, connections to community walking networks and useable outdoor spaces.

“As one enters Port Jefferson Village from the west on 25a, you must past a vacant boat yard, and a vacant and dilapidated motel. These two properties are directly across from the harbor. It appeared to us that any revitalization of this part of the Village must include a revitalization of this area.  With its proximity to the water, the harbor front village and the park, we felt this would be an excellent location to construct a multifamily complex that could satisfy the need for quality housing, and add jobs and economic activity to the local economy,” Vice President Rob Kent said. “After extensive meetings with the Village and the local civic groups, we have proposed to build the 112 unit complex currently on file with the Village. The project was designed to maintain conformity with not only the local zoning code, but to also fit seamlessly into the attractive and well established architecture of the Village.”

Click here for full story.

Downtown Carle Place Seeking New Identity

Carle Place may not be a large, booming downtown. But then again, it doesn’t have to be.

Tucked in between the Village of Westbury and Roosevelt Field Mall, the community of 5,000 people is often overlooked.

Westbury Avenue is home to a creamery, bars, clothing services, florists and a variety of local businesses. Unfortunately, it’s also home to vacant storefronts and properties with overgrowth and garbage problems.

“They don’t stop. They keep going,” said Frank Signorello, owner of The Hollow Creamery ice cream parlor.

The area is “struggling with bright spots,” Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander said, although community merchants are optimistic that can change. Carle Place Civic Association President John Hommel would like to see small shops and cafés to create local flavor, while Studio Novelle co-owner Samantha Shea said Carle Place has a wide base of customers.

North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corporation Executive Director Kim Kaiman said the town has taken steps to beautify the area, like placing flags on lampposts for Independence Day.

Alexander said the solution involves niche retail and two-story development to create a neighborhood retail feel.

For more coverage, check out Newsday (subscription required).

Amityville Considering Tax Breaks For Mixed-Use Changes

Something of a struggling community, Amityville could see some changes to promote the Village’s downtown.

Trustee Nick LaLota proposed creating tax incentives for landlords to redevelop commercial space with new residential space upstairs last week.

His suggestion would target properties along the three-block stretch of Broadway Avenue corridor between Ireland Place and Railroad Avenue, excluding the former Brunswick Hospital property. It would grant a full tax exemption on improvements with a price tag of $10,000 or more that convert nonresidential into mixed-use for eight years with a graduated rate over the next four years.

The next step for LaLota’s proposal is a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 8.

For more on this story, check out Newsday (subscription required).

NY Rising Officials, House Lifters Meet With

Friends Of Long Island Sandy Volunteers

With the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy a couple months away, grassroots teams of volunteers learned how houses are lifted and received an update from state officials on the NY Rising project.

At least 50 community members attended the July 23 Friends of Long Island (FoLI) meeting at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale.

NY Rising Buyout Coordinator Rebecca Sinclair said both the buyout and acquisition programs have been frequently used.

“The program is very active right now,” Sinclair said

Damaged homes in the flood plain are eligible for the acquisition program – NY Rising pays the homeowner pre-storm value before repairing and selling the house. The buyout program includes just those houses that fall within state-sanctioned zones. Those homeowners receive pre-storm value plus up to 10 percent, but the property remains undeveloped. Almost 200 homeowners have opted into the buyout program, Sinclair said, while 700 properties in Nassau and Suffolk are part of the acquisition program.

Click here for full story.

August

$875G allocated to Glen Cove for ferry terminal

After 14 years of planning, the city of Glen Cove has finally acquired the funding it needs to build a passenger ferry terminal.  On Thursday the state’s U.S. senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, announced that the Federal Highway Administration would allocate $875,951 to the city.  The grant provides the final funding necessary to allow construction of the $3.5 million, 2,700-square-foot facility on Glen Cove Creek.

“This is great news for the city and the region,” Mayor Ralph Suozzi said. He added that construction of the terminal, expected to be operational by fall 2013, and ferry service to Manhattan would be an economic boost.

Gillibrand added, “This terminal will increase economic development opportunities as part of the larger waterfront development project” to create the mixed-use Glen Isle complex on a previously blighted waterfront.

With $14 million in previously awarded federal funds and about $600,000 of Glen Cove’s own resources, the city has already dredged the creek, built bulkheads, installed a pier and floating docks, removed contaminated soil, installed utilities and built the terminal foundation.

Click here for full story.

Small Business Savings Accounts Launched At LI Tech Day

In March, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) revealed he wanted to create tax-deferred savings accounts for small business owners. On Tuesday, the plan is looking even stronger.

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone joined Israel and Vision Long Island in announcing legislation for his Savings Accounts for a Variable Economy (SAVE). With Bishop joining Israel, the bill permitting small businesses to invest 10 percent of their annual gross profits is expected to be introduced in the near future.

“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy and should have help preparing an economic rainy day fund,” Israel said.

If approved, businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be able to invest in certain Treasury-approved investments. Those funds can be held in the account for eight years, at which point it must be withdrawn and taxed as regular business income. However, those withdraws can be tax-free if one of three conditions are met. The Department of Commerce can report two quarters of GDP decline, the Small Business Administration can specify a period during a time of need or the federal government can designate a disaster area like after Superstorm Sandy.

Referencing a National Federation of Independent Business survey, Israel said 46 percent of small businesses could not get new lines of credit and 35 percent could not get loans after the recession. During 2008 and 2009, 170,000 American companies with less than 100 employees closed up.

Click here for full story.

Pedestrian Plaza In Works For Douglaston LIRR Station

Douglaston is already a popular neighborhood.

Just over the New York City border, Douglaston has a LIRR station. Major highways are a short drive away. There’s plenty of open space in the form of Alley Pond Park and Udalls Cove Park Preserve.

What it’s missing is Smart Growth, especially around the train station. The north side of the station is littered with vacant storefronts and a handful of open businesses. Those open to patrons are limited to the likes of a travel agency, dry cleaner, lawyer’s office and martial arts studio. There’s nowhere to pick up groceries on the way home or grab a coffee with friends.

But that could be changing with a new pedestrian plaza outside the LIRR station. Approved by the area Community Board last month, the construction will add about 3,000 square feet of public space and include umbrellas, tables and chairs.

The application was submitted in 2013 by nonprofit Douglaston Local Development Corporation, a product of the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society, to slow decline of the area. Not only do patrons drive to other commercial strips to shop, but many landlords have not modernized their properties to attract new tenants.

Click here for full story.

Huntington’s “Hottest Club” Honored By Billboard

Located in downtown Huntington, The Paramount is quickly becoming a popular music venue for Long Islanders and the rest of America.

Billboard Magazine named the venue it’s 23rd “Hottest Club” in 2014.

“While not even 3-years-old, we are now on a list with some of the most famous music clubs in the world.  Having Billy Joel, Ed Sheeran and many other once-in-a-lifetime concert experiences on our stage just in the last year, is what we are all about and while #23 is nice, we do not plan to rest on our laurels and will keep working until we are no. 1,” Paramount Director Brian Doyle said.

The ranking was based on attendance figures from May 2013 through April 2014.

The Paramount replaced Huntington village landmark IMAC in September 2011. In the three years since, the club has played host to countless modern and classic bands, boxing matches, comedy shows and other performances. Theater officials estimate they host nearly 200 events every year.

The venue is capable of holding 1,555 people, although various seating and standing arrangements are possible. It’s also home to the V.I.P. Founder’s Room – a private speakeasy-themed area for 450 guests.

Long Island is the 20th largest media market in the country, and The Paramount is just one example of the downtown theater sweeping through Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The Space at Westbury opened last year, while 89 North and The Emporium operate in Patchogue. These venues encourage patrons to dine locally and window shop in neighboring small businesses before and after shows.

Vision Long Island presented The Paramount with a Smart Growth Award in 2012 and sees the venue as a critical anchor for downtown Huntington.

For more about this story, check out Billboard and Newsday (subscriptions required).

Village OKs Permit For ‘Sam Glass’ Project Apartments

More mixed-use development is coming to downtown Farmingdale.

Landlord Samuel Glass received permission earlier this month to build 14 studio apartments atop a toy and hobby shop along Main Street.

Known colloquially as the Sam Glass project, the proposed mixed-use development first came to light about a year ago. Plans called for changes on both two-story buildings on the lot neighboring the train tracks. Six long-vacant apartments in the front building will be removed as the structure is converted to complete retail. The back building will be demolished and rebuild with two floors of residential and a ground floor for parking.

Village of Farmingdale officials approved the special-use permit, opening the door to 6,153 square-feet of studio apartments. A special-use permit is required for companies to participate in the village’s new Downtown Mixed-Use overlay district.

The Village Board will typically waive as much as 90 percent of retail parking with municipal lots available, although residential parking is mandatory since turnover is significantly less. Glass is paying the village $5,000 for one commercial space and providing 17 parking spaces under the back building for the 14 apartments. Glass must now return to Village Hall with architectural drawings before applying for a building permit.

Downtown Farmingdale has embraced Smart Growth since Mayor Ralph Ekstrand was elected in 2012. That includes the Jefferson Plaza project neighboring the Farmingdale LIRR station. Breaking ground in November, it will house 154 units of housing with 20,000 square feet of retail. Excavation of the site is finished, construction is ongoing and expected to be completed in 2016. Village Hall is posting updates for the Jefferson Plaza project on their website.

These intiatives are part of an effort by the Village Board that began in 2006 with a Visioning plan developed with Vision Long Island to embrace more activity in their downtown. The mayor was recently interviewed by Newsday about his community’s future as a destination.

“We have a lot of stuff going on,” Ekstrand said.

For more on the Sam Glass project, check out the Farmingdale Observer.

Hudson House Opens Doors To Senior Tenants

Hudson House is open for business.

Mill Creek Residential’s affordable housing for the 55-and-older crowd opened for occupancy last week.

“Now that we have been able to showcase the Hudson House through property tours over the last couple of weeks the interest among has increased dramatically. We have seemed to exceeded expectations with the quality of construction, high level of finishes and convenient location within the Village of Mineola. We are looking forward to moving the first residents into the community before the end of the month,” Vice President Jamie Stover said.

All 36 apartments in the four-story building feature modern appliances, wood-plank-style flooring, keyless entry and other amenities On-site parking is available, but it’s also within walking distance of the LIRR Mineola station.

Renters must have household incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income, currently $105,100. The monthly rent for each of the 28 one-bedroom apartments is $1,578 and monthly rent for each of the eight two-bedroom apartments is $1,893, according to Mill Creek officials.

Click here for full story.

Public Weighs In On PSEG LI’s $200 Mil ‘Utility 2.0’ Plan

A new plan to tap renewable resources and make Long Island more energy savvy is being heard by residents, with mixed feedback.

As part of their deal to operate LIPA’s electrical grid, PSEG Long Island is required to create long range plans. Unveiled on July 1, Utility 2.0 is designed to reduce peak energy demand, increase renewable energy production and educate customers.

The plan would cost PSEG Long Island $200 million, in addition to $15 million to LIPA for capital improvements, for improvements made between 2015-2018. They’re seeking LIPA’s approval by Dec. 1.

The single largest piece of the plan calls for a $60 million investment into programmable thermostat program modernization and expansion. This would expand the direct load control thermostat program – which gives the utility control over connected thermostats – to reduce peak demand, especially from central air conditioning and pool pumps. It would also include distribution of 1,000 smart plugs for consumers to see just how much energy their appliances are drawing. PSEG Long Island estimates this would save 100 megawatts (MW) or 2,700 megawatt hours (MWh) every year.

Utility 2.0 also calls for a $45 million investment into solar PV systems. Providing incentives for behind-the-meter systems and to customers currently unable to use existing incentives is estimated to save 30 MW or 100,000 MWh annually.

Click here for full story.

10th Annual Blue Claw Crab Festival Hooks Thousands

More than a thousand scuttled about Marine 1 in Mastic Beach over the weekend, enjoying seafood and live entertainment.

The Mastic Beach Property Beach Owners Association celebrated their 10th annual Blue Claw Crab Festival Sunday.

Freshly-prepared blue claw crab, shrimp, fresh corn, calms and crab cakes sold out again.

There were no shortage of vendors near the shoreline, but members of the Mastic Beach Ambulance, Knights of Columbus and Mastic Beach Fire Department also set up shop in the festival.

“As usual, the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association organized an event that was a shining example on how great Mastic Beach can be,” Village Trustee and former Property Owners Association Director Maura Spery said.

Spery added the event was created to show off Mastic Beach’s 6.5 miles of publicly-accessible waterfront, free of homes and private development.

Click here for full story.

September

 

Swapping Offices With Two Floors Of Apartments?

Scorched by flames, a downtown Huntington building may be reborn as mixed-use development.

A two-story brick building on New York Avenue was scorched by a fire in March. Now Huntington-based architects Hoffman Grayson Architects have plans to add a third floor and housing.

The company unveiled preliminary plans for the building during a Planning Board meeting last month. If approved, it would convert the older brick structure into a three-story building. Retail would remain on the ground level, but apartments would replace offices on the second floor and occupy the new third floor.

A company spokeswoman confirmed the firm had two pre-application meetings with the town’s Planning Department, soliciting recommendations. Now formally filed, Hoffman Grayson will need Zoning Board variances for parking, expanding the building and adding new uses.

Click here for full story.

Flood Insurance, Misinformation Still Major Problems

Jon Siebert is a consultant for Friends of Long Island, an umbrella for grassroots organizations helping neighbors clean up and recover from Superstorm Sandy. Vision Long Island supports Friends of Long Island.

September is National Preparedness Month, where FEMA encourages the public to become educated in preparing their homes, families, pets and businesses for any sort of disaster that may occur. Being prepared involves being informed, having a plan in place and having proper supplies on hand. Although government and nonprofit agencies assist to the best of their ability when a disaster strikes, multiple disasters in various locations, lack of funding and inadequate coordination can make the relief and recovery process less than smooth. There is no magical FEMA fairy that comes to every disaster and replaces the drywall in your soaked home in 24 hours while replacing your flooded vehicle and providing you shelter as long as you need. It is the responsibility of the individuals to take every precaution possible to make themselves “whole” again, rather than rely on outside assistance that may not come.

Long Island and the Greater New York area have certainly seen its share of different sorts of disaster over recent years – including terrorism to hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and flooding. The flooding of Western and Central Suffolk County a little over three weeks ago was nothing but a slap in the face to an area still recovering from Sandy almost two years prior. Over 13 inches of rain fell in some areas, including those who were largely affected by Sandy. To bring that to perspective, these areas received more rain in three hours than they did in three months.

Click here for full op-ed.

Volunteers Build Community Vision For Central Islip Park

They sweated under a hot sun, toiled in concrete and dirt, lifted heavy weight and worked under a short deadline.

But when a long Friday finally came to an end for more than 200 volunteers building a playground in the new Central Islip Community Park, there was no shortage of smiles.

“Individuals can make a difference,” WABC-TV President Dave Davis said.

Two years ago, a 30-acre parcel of the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center was covered with overgrowth. It had been unused for 20 years. But a community visioning for the area, led by Vision Long Island, had plans for the land.

For 30 years the community sought a park. And not only was a new public space necessary as condos went up on the former Pilgrim State, Islip Councilman Steve Flotteron said, but residents wanted a community space to promote positive choices.

“Keeping the kids on the right path is the goal,” Flotteron said.

The project received a state grant last year to build improved bicycle and pedestrian paths on the west side of the park to connect with a nearby LIRR station. 2013 also saw the project win a Smart Growth Award from Vision Long Island.

Click here for full story.

Frustrated Long Beach Still Waiting For Hospital Reopening

A deal was hashed out months ago to reopen a barrier island hospital ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, but residents continue to make lengthy trips to other hospitals as bureaucracy stalls the move.

The Long Beach Medical Center (LBMC) closed after Superstorm Sandy inundated the 162-bed hospital and caused $56 million in damage. A deal was reached with South Nassau Communities Hospital (SNCH) in May to purchase the hospital for $11.7 million with hopes of reopening this summer.

The sale, however, has not gone through because the New York attorney general’s office has yet to sign off on the agreement.

Meanwhile, SNCH opened an urgent care facility next door in Long Beach. Emergency care doctors work in the facility, but cannot accept trauma patients or ambulances. That requires designation as an off-site emergency room, which entails state health department approval. SNCH officials have reportedly been told to wait on applying until the state creates regulations on how off-site emergency rooms should operate.

Click here for full story.

East Rockaway Village Board Approves Waterfront Condos

New transit-oriented housing is another closer to reality in a community still recovering from Superstorm Sandy.

The Village of East Rockaway Board of Trustees unanimously approved plans for 84 condominiums

on Wednesday night.

Developer Beechwood Organization wants to replace an 80-year-old derelict warehouse and marina with six four-story buildings of condos along the water. They’re also looking to rebuild 1,050 feet of Sandy-damaged bulkhead and build 65 new boat slips.

Vision Long Island provided testimony supporting the plan.

“The improvements to this existing boatyard will support the local restaurants, an existing supermarket, gym as well as Main Street, all of which could use a built in customer base given the post Sandy economic impact. The project is a short walk to a train station with excellent service into New York City and can serve as a great example of successful transit-oriented development.”

For more coverage of this story, peruse Long Island Business News (subscription required).

Gearing Up For Monday’s ‘Car Free Day’ With Pep Rally

“Suffolk County needs to be car free in order to have sustainable economic growth.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone embraced alternative forms of transportation at Thursday’s rally for Car Free Day. Bellone shared the stage with transit officials from Long Island Rail Road, NICE Bus, Suffolk Bike Riders Association and 511 NY Rideshare; representatives from powerhouse employer North Shore LIJ and members of local chambers of commerce at Farmingdale State College.

The second annual Car Free Day, slated for Sept. 22, will again focus on a very simple concept – drive less or not at all. That includes riding LIRR and county buses, but it also includes walking, bicycling, rollerblading and even telecommuting and carpooling.

As of Friday, almost 2,500 people pledged not to drive themselves on Monday.

The county executive said alternative forms of transportation are important to create a more connected island and better connect individual communities.

Click here for full story.

Enjoying Festivals In Farmingdale, WestburyGlen Cove

Long Island was abuzz this past weekend with a festivals, fairs and other community events taking place in downtowns.

The Village of Farmingdale may have been hosting their first annual Music Fest, but the results were very promising. About 12,000 were on hand between both days of the weekend, rain kept some of the crowd away on Saturday, to hear a slate of musicians like Rock and Roll hall of famer Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals perform on multiple stages on the Village Green. Supported by the likes of Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, Treasurer Brian Harty and developer Anthony Bartone, the event also incorporated vendors, outdoor dining and a Kid Zone with magic shows, character visits and a 90-foot mural painted by children.

Click here for full story.

Not All Downtown News Is Good: Landmarks Close In Riverhead, Babylon, Bellmore

The push is on to revive downtowns across Long Island, but that doesn’t mean the news is always rosy. Three established downtown landmarks recently gave up the ghost.

In Riverhead, Dennis McDermott closed up his restaurant, the Riverhead Project, at the beginning of the month. The New American eatery was a converted bank building with a sharp-looking, but expensive design. The struggling economy and harsh winter also sent the restaurant into the red. McDermott had been looking for a partner, but gave up on Sept. 12, saying “Nobody wanted to invest in a restaurant in Riverhead.” For more on this closure, check out Newsday (subscription required).

In the middle of the island, Bow Tie Cinemas shut the doors to their three-screen Babylon theater after a showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Sept. 7. The theater first opened in 1922 as The Capitol Theatre, becoming The Babylon Theatre in 1925. Along the way, Prudential Theaters and United Artist owned the venue until the mid-nineties when it was purchased by Cablevision’s Clearview Cinemas. The Babylon location was one of 41 Clearview theater sold to Bow Tie in 2013. Bow Tie CEO Joseph Masher said business declined despite lowering prices and improving audio/video equipment. For more about the former Babylon Theater, check out Newsday(subscription required).

Across the border in Nassau County, Weinman’s Hardware stopped serving Bellmore residents Sept. 13. Weinman’s was a landmark in the community. Owner Roy Weinman met customers in the final days, thanking them for their support. The 89-year-old’s father opened a general store in 1922; Weinman moved the store across the street and renamed it in 1935. When he wasn’t selling products, he was in the store fixing broken items for customers. Big box stores, the owner said, cut significantly into business. Check out News 12(subscription required) for more on Weinman’s Hardware.

Fonti: SAVE Legislation A Small Business Lifeline

This editorial was originally written by Vision Long Island board co-Chair and Long Island Business Council Suffolk Chairman Bob Fonti for Long Island Business News earlier this week. Dr. Nathalia Rogers, of Dowling College, was also instrumental in creating this legislation.

 

This summer Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) introduced a critical piece of legislation, the Savings Account for a Variable Economy for Small Businesses Act.

The SAVE Act was created to help small businesses by introducing tax benefits during difficult economic times and by providing economic stimulus to preserve jobs and create new jobs for businesses that have 50 or fewer employees. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) has joined Israel in sponsoring the bill.

If signed into law, the SAVE Act would allow small businesses to put aside up to 10 percent of their yearly profits, tax-free, into tax-deferred savings accounts. The bill specifies three conditions under which the monies can be withdrawn, tax-free, from such accounts: during the times of economic downturn (defined as three consecutive quarterly declines in the GDP), after a natural disaster strikes a small business’ operating area and at any time the federal government chooses to stimulate the small-business economy for the purposes of job preservation and job growth.

Click here for full story.

Learning What Works Downtown On Smart Growth Saturday

Another round of tours is in the books as Saturday marked another successful Smart Growth Saturday.

Elected officials, community stakeholders, businesses and residents joined Vision for the second event of 2014 with tours of Rockville Centre, Great Neck Plaza, Babylon and Port Jefferson.

Read the full story here.

Islip, Jobco Cut Ribbon On TOD Housing In Central Islip

Another transit-oriented development is officially open.

Great Neck-based Jobco Realty and Construction celebrated the opening of Foxgate at Islip in Central Islip over the weekend.

Click here for full story.

Huntington Station Community Agreement Coming Soon

An agreement that will open up construction in the Huntington Station revitalization efforts is expected to be signed next month.

Renaissance Downtowns, the area’s master developer, confirmed they expect a Town Board vote on the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in October. A Community Benefits Agreement can be required by municipalities as part of the SEQRA process in area rezoning to provide public benefits.

Click here for full story.

Officials Join Joyful Vets To Celebrate Homeless Housing

Words clearly could not describe the joy within Nat Conigiliaro, but the message was clear.

The 82-year-old Korean War veteran is a resident of the newly-opened Liberty Village, a housing development designed specifically for homeless veterans and their families. He lost his apartment and everything he owned after Superstorm Sandy.

But on Monday, he joined elected officials, other veterans and business leaders at a ribbon cutting ceremony for his new housing development in North Amityville.

“It’s heaven. It’s paradise. It’s a Garden of Eden. It’s home,” Conigiliaro said, recalling a conversation with his new neighbor.

Developed and managed by nonprofit Concern for Independent Living, Liberty Village offers 48 single-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom units. As of Monday, 56 apartments were occupied and the remaining four were likely to be filled quickly.

Click here for full story.

Art Nonprofit Could Draw More To Downtown Amityville

Downtown Amityville could get a boost, if a Minneapolis-based nonprofit likes what they see next month.

The Village Board last week unanimously approved spending $15,000 on a feasibility study with Artspace in front of rousing support from a packed house.

Artspace is a nonprofit real estate developer that helps create spaces for artists to live and work. Trustee Nick LaLota said Patchogue officials credit Artspace for pushing their revitalization along; Patchogue is one of just 36 projects around the country.

But LaLota, Mayor James Wandell and the Amityville Village Board believe they can be the next in line. Artspace will send staff into the village Nov. 4-6 for the study.

“We’re told there’s about a 20 percent success rate of studies,” the trustee said. “I do like Amityville’s chances. Our proximity to the Long Island Rail Road, local highways are within Artspace’s parameters.”

Click here for full story.

October

10/4

Progress For Garvies Point Project At Public Hearing

Garvies Point developer RXR Realty went before the Glen Cove Planning Board Tuesday night for the public hearing on subdivision and site plan approval to convert a former Brownfield waterfront into mixed-use development. The developer didn’t get ok, but the city did authorize their consultants to prepare a draft resolution of approval. The project is expected to be discussed at a Planning Board meeting in the near future, where minor changes and details will be cleaned up before the vote. They also approved giving a positive reference to the Zoning Board for a minor variance.

Garvies Point was once the contaminated home of industrial factories and a marina. RXR Realty and the City of Glen Cove partnered in 2007 to create a mixed-use future for the Superfund site.

Plans for the 56 acres north of Glen Cove Creek call for a luxury hotel, 860 residential units – a 50-50 mix of condos and apartments, 50,000 square feet of office space, 25,000 square feet of retail space, 85 new boat slips and 20.8 acres of open space in the form of an esplanade, bike path and 2.9 miles of pathways.

Click here for full story.

Upstairs Apartments Get Zoning OK In Huntington Village

Less than a month after plans became public to add more mixed-use development in one downtown Huntington property, town officials signed off to add housing atop the building next door.

The Huntington Zoning Board approved a parking variance to build a second floor above the New York Avenue restaurant Red at their Sept. 16 meeting. The addition would house a single-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment.

The neighboring commercial building was destroyed by fire in March. But the conflagration also led to severe smoke and water damage to Red and another neighboring business.

Click here for full story.

Long Beach Residents Ask State To Extend NY Rising Deadline

The deadline for Long Islanders to file for financial assistance in the wake of Superstorm Sandy hit six months ago, but one lawmaker is asking Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to consider accepting new applications.

State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) said residents keep coming to see him with desperate hopes of filing for aid from NY Rising, despite the April 11 cutoff. In a letter he penned to Cuomo last month, Weisenberg asked the governor to reopen enrollment until Dec. 31.

“We have a whole population of people in trouble trying to get a resource that they’re entitled to. I just feel that too many people that are deserving are not going to do what they need to do to be able to have some kind of stability in their life and recover,” he said.

Many residents, the assemblyman said, failed to file for a slate of reasons. They may not have had access to technology at the time, were overly confused by constantly changing criteria and/or did not understand the significance of the deadline due to illness, age or disability. A lot of people were not properly given information, he added.

Click here for full story.

Study: Rockville Centre Among Best Cities For Retirement

Looking for a Long Island community to call home in the silver years? Take a look at Rockville Centre.

The Village of Rockville Centre was named the second best city in New York and best on Long Island to grow old in by financial education website CreditDonkey. According to their study, published on Oct. 2, Rockville Centre had one of the best all-around ratings.

“We have hit the trifecta,” Mayor Francis X. Murray said. “We have always known that Rockville Centre is a great place to grow up in and raise a family. But it’s now confirmed to be one of the top places to spend your golden years. With everything we have to offer through our Sandel Senior Center, this is no big surprise.”

The study considered cities with a population at least 20,000. Each city received a score based on five categories: senior population, housing, income, recreation and health care/social assistance. Rockville Centre finished top in health care and social assistance.

The Sandel Senior Center provides Rockville Centre’s older adults with a multipurpose facility that promotes vital aging and life satisfaction through programs and activities, volunteer and civic participation and meaningful social engagement. A full schedule of classes, programs and activities are available, along with daily transportation and meals. The Sandel Center was recently reaccredited by the National Council on Aging and National Institute of Senior Centers and remains the only senior center on Long Island to achieve this designation.

The City of Glen Cove finished third, City of Long Beach finished fourth and Village of Garden City finished seventh.

Check out CreditDonkey for the full study. For information about the Rockville Centre Department of Senior Services or the center, contact the Sandel Senior Center at 516-678-9245.

Expert: Slow Sunrise Highway Down For Pedestrians

Walkability expert Dan Burden toured Valley Stream, Baldwin and Freeport back in June after state plans to spend $3.8 million on Sunrise Highway improvements alarmed the community. Last week, his recommendations to make the highway safer for pedestrians and bicyclists were publicly disclosed.

Attendees to the meeting, including a pair of state Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives, were at the Freeport Library last Thursday to examine Burden’s suggestions. The meeting was organized by AARP, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Vision Long Island. Burden himself was unable to attend.

“You release a plan without community input, people are not going to be happy,” AARP Associate State Director Will Stoner.

The trio of advocates championed the cause after residents, elected officials and community stakeholders in southern Nassau County learned the state was planning a multi-million overhaul of Sunrise Highway without their feedback. At one point the project was listed as finalized on Transportation Improvement Program [five-year plan for federally-funded regional transportation projects].

Click here for full story.

Study: $400 Mil Streetcar System Could Fix Nassau Traffic

Nassau County has a traffic problem. Nobody denies there are too many cars on the road and not enough mass transit options.

But a joint study by Nassau County and the Federal Transit Administration into the 77 acres that make up the Nassau HUB identifies modern streetcars as the answer to these concerns. The best solution calls for a streetcar from Mineola to Hempstead via South Street in Garden City, an almost $400 million project.

The Nassau Hub Study Alternatives Analysis/Environmental Impact Statement (AA/EIS) was completed in August and recently distributed. Coming on the coattails of a 2006 study identifying transportation issues, AA/EIS investigated transportation improvements eligible for federal funding.

The study examined the Nassau Hub, more than 11 square miles and home to the Nassau Coliseum, Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, Roosevelt Field, Eisenhower Park and Museum Row, along with countless residents and small businesses.

Click here for full story.

Students Set Out On Foot For Annual ‘Walk To School Day’

Leave the bus and car behind. That was the message on Wednesday when communities across America participated in national Walk to School Day.

Beginning in 1997, more than 4,600 schools across the country signed up to participate in 2014. That includes Tremont Elementary School in Patchogue-Medford School District; Norwood Avenue Elementary School in Northport-East Northport School District; Manorhaven Elementary School in Port Washington School District; Roosevelt Middle School in Roosevelt School District; and South Bay Elementary School in West Babylon School District.

Students are invited to walk or bicycle. When safe, they’re asked to make the entire trip. In other cases, families gather at a set location and make their way to school from there. School officials can also have children walk or bike at school to celebrate the day.

In 2013, 4,447 schools in all 50 states, Washington, D.C and Puerto Rico registered for Walk to School Day that October, while 1,705 registered for Bicycle to School Day that May.

Both programs are supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Center for Safe Routes to School.

For more about Wednesday’s events, visit Walk to School Day’s website.

An Update On Farmingdale Revitalization Initiatives

Thursday’s meeting of the Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale (CCAF) at Allen Park featured guest speakers Mayor Ralph Ekstrand and Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander answered questions and offered project updates.

“I love what’s happened to Farmingdale,” CCAF Vice President Tina Diamond said.

At 231 Main Street, Ekstrand said the Lofts are moving along. The Staller Associates project is expected to house 26 apartments and 3,100 square feet of retail space. The mayor said steel girders will be installed in the next few weeks and the development should be open around August.

A few blocks east, the Jefferson Plaza project should be opening soon. The Farmingdale mayor said the smaller piece of the two-part development – 39 apartments and 6,200 square feet of retail – should be available by November. A vacant warehouse across the street should become 115 apartments and 13,000 square feet of retail by this spring.

Click here for full story.

Former Buffalo Congresswoman Meets Local Business Leaders

Former Buffalo Congresswoman Kathy Hochul came to Long Island to meet local business owners, developers and community leaders last week.

Hochul is a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in the upcoming election. On Oct. 6 she stopped by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce. It was her second stop in the town on her campaign trail; she spoke at a Melville union hall in August.

This time she met with chamber brass, Long Island Business Council co-Chair Bob Fonti, Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander and Ryan Porter, vice president with Huntington Station master developer Renaissance Downtowns.

They greeted her with a crumb cake from a local bakery and a gift bag for the upcoming Long Island Fall Festival – the largest in the northeast. They toured the Heckscher Museum of Art. And along the way, Hochul shared her experiences as a councilwoman for the upstate Town of Hamburg and pledged to be an advocate for downtowns.

“A big employer was threatening to leave town,” she said about Ford challenging a reassessment. “We needed to make a tough decision. That’s the kind of issue where we don’t want to blindside [school districts, chambers and other levels of government] – that was the sort of communication we had ongoing.”

Hochul is partnered with incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She is replacing incumbent Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who backed out for medical reasons. If the ticket wins, she would assume control of the Regional Economic Development Council.

For more on this story, check out the Oct. 9 issue of The Long-Islander.

10/25

NYS Announces Millions For Suffolk Sewers, Bay Park

An appearance by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Long Island days before Election Day included promise of $480 million for infrastructure projects in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Joined by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Representative Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst in Oakdale on Tuesday, Cuomo announced plans to fund $383 million for sewer connections in Mastic/Shirley and other parts of Suffolk, and advance $97 million for Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant renovations.

“Superstorm Sandy showed us how important coastal resiliency is to helping Long Island communities withstand the impact of extreme weather. Today we’re acting on that lesson and strengthening our natural defenses against future storms,” the governor said.

Click here for full story.

Local Sandy Leaders Review Progress Two Years Later

Wednesday marked the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy crushing parts of the northeast. But some who continue to rebuild from the historic storm expect additional years of recovery.

Friends of Long Island (FOLI), an umbrella organization for grassroots community Sandy recovery organizations, issued an update on the recovery process and identified concerns in the recovery process.

Rich Schaffer, supervisor of the Town of Babylon, offered his thanks to the volunteers gathered at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College on Monday. He also reflected on a conversation with Lindy Manpower founder Amy Castiglia at Camp Bulldog – a temporary source for donations, aid and information in Lindenhurst immediately after the storm – how the South Shore would need up to five years to fully recover.

“We’ll continue to work as partners with each and every one of you,” Schaffer said on Monday.

Click here for full story.

Homeland Security, Small Business Lending Hot Topics Among Balboni, Martins, and Lavine at Long Island Business Council

Small businesses can take precautionary measures against natural disasters, hackers and global threats.

Once deputy secretary of New York’s Office of Public Safety, private security consultant Michael Balboni spoke at the Long Island Business Council Wednesday. About 50 people attended the meeting in the East Farmingdale Fire Department.

Balboni, now a managing partner with Redland Strategies, told Long Island business leaders they have a responsibility to be proactive and take ownership of the issue. He’s also served as a New York State Assemblyman for seven years and a State Senator for nine years.

Cyber security, he added, is one of the most serious concerns. The former deputy secretary urged the group not to download questionable emails on company servers, bring home a laptop containing sensitive data or send restricted data without verifying the target. Additional tips are available on the Department of Homeland Security’s and Small Business Administration’s websites.

“Those are the type of steps that can destroy your business,” he said.

Click here for full story.

AARP Report: Baby Boomers Poised To Leave Long Island

If nothing changes, hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders could flee the region.

According to an AARP New York report released Monday, Baby Boomers are concerned about the situation on the island and may not retire in Nassau or Suffolk if no changes are made. The “State of the 50+ in Long Island, New York” report was unveiled during a meeting with Long Island Smart Growth Working Group at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College.

“This economic powerhouse is worried,” said Will Stoner, AARP New York’s state associate director for livable communities.

New York State is home to 6.8 million Baby Boomers, 1.1 million coming from Long Island. When AARP New York interviewed 401 from the island, only 70 percent felt some level of confidence they would be able to retire, with just one-third of that group planning to retire to Long Island. Twenty percent were not at all confident they could afford to retire and 67 percent found it likely they’d have to retire elsewhere.

Click here for full story.

DiNapoli To MTA: Borrowing $15 Billion Will Raise Fares

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has a $15 billion budget gap coming down the pipe, but fares will rise significantly if they borrow more to pay it off.

According to an Oct. 21 report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, MTA officials should be wary of borrowing to pay off $15.2 billion in capital expenses through 2019. Every $1 billion they accept is expected to raise fares by 1 percent.

“Over the coming months, the MTA will have to work closely with its funding partners to close the $15 billion gap in its capital program. Additional borrowing could increase pressure on fares and tolls, and while the MTA should look for opportunities for savings, deep cuts could affect the future reliability of the transit system and jeopardize expansion projects,” DiNapoli said.

The gap comes from the agency’s 2015-2019 capital program. A $32.1 billion plan was recently rejected by state officials because of a $15.2 billion gap in revenue. Lengthy collective bargaining and negotiating left the MTA an additional $1.5 billion in the red. Agency officials tapped resources to pay down long-term liabilities and capital projects.

Click here for full story.

November

The 13th Annual Smart Growth Summit Recapummit Recap

Vision Long Island was very happy to see the outpouring of positive support for the 2014 Smart Growth Summit. More than 1,100 attendees participated at the Melville Marriott, with over 500 for breakfast and 850 for lunch. The energy in the rooms was palpable and a truly optimistic vision emerged.

Highlights from the event included an excellent and thorough speech from Senator Chuck Schumer on federal infrastructure investments at breakfast, an upbeat luncheon keynote from Congresswoman-elect Kathleen Rice, and economic updates from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and Nassau Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves. Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released a report on the demographic challenges and investment solutions. National Grid’s Ken Daly announced a $700 million upgrade to the Natural Gas system.

NYS Senators Jack Martins, Phil Boyle and Carl Marcellino committed to bringing infrastructure dollars and jobs for Long Island and passing the small business savings accounts legislation.

Click here for full coverage.

Director: Lack Of Affordable Housing Cause Of LI Homeless

The number of homeless Americans is down across the country, but it’s up on Long Island.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released their annual homeless assessment report this week, which found a 2 percent drop.

According to the federal report, 578,424 Americans were homeless in 2014, with 69 percent in established residential programs and 31 percent living on the street. That’s down from 591,768 in 2013. About 10 percent fewer people are living on the street and about 2 percent more are using emergency shelters or transitional housing.

But Greta Guarton warned those numbers can be deceiving for some parts of the country, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Guarton is the executive director of Long Island Coalition for the Homeless and she said Long Island and New York City helped make New York one of the 14 states with an increase in homelessness from 2013. The list also includes California, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Click here for full story.

Port Washington Mixed-Use Project Gets Green Light

A mixed-use development in Port Washington was approved by the Town of North Hempstead last week, the first for an overlay district.

“The Main Event” received permission from the Town Board on Oct. 29. Developers Laurie and Marty Scheinman want to build a three-story mixed use building on the 0.56-acre vacant lot at 322-326 Main St. The plan includes 5,400 square feet of office space and 12 apartments.

The “Better Blocks” overlay district, which this project falls in, allows for flexibility in zoning.

The community response at the three-hour hearing was mixed, an improvement for a town with a history of not always supporting downtown changes. Main Event supporters wanted to revitalize Main Street and provide housing for young professionals. Opponents were concerned about traffic on lower Main Street and flooding issues, as well as disruption during construction.

Vision Long Island also testified in support of the project. Sustainability Director Elissa Kyle said connecting this housing with the nearby LIRR station can reduce the need for downtown parking, which is already at a premium. She also said mixed-use projects across Long Island have proven to reduce vacancy rates and generally improve the fiscal health of downtowns.

North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio also played an important role in approving the project.

For more coverage on this project, check out Newsday (subscription required). Check out Vision’s full testimony here.

Alexander: Local Progress Can Rebuild Trust Around Region

This editorial by Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander was originally published in the Long Island Business News on Wednesday.

Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill once famously stated all “politics is local.” On Long Island, it seems a lot of our progress is local, too, and that may be a good thing.

A recent Wall Street Journal poll found 13 percent of the public trusts their federal government but struggles to have faith in big business and other large interests. On Long Island, the leadership people so desperately seek nationally is exhibited on the community level, and it’s not simply local land use in the purview of municipal governments in a home-rule state. Look no further than the post-Sandy relief effort to see the role municipal partners and community organizations can play.

Such leadership is sorely needed. AARP data suggests that much of our 50-plus population is looking to leave the region as well as our younger residents, which would have a damaging economic impact – a projected $22 billion in lost economic activity.

Click here for full story.

Additional Resources Proposed For 2015 LI Bus Systems

Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties are fueling their bus systems for 2015 with a little something extra.

“A healthy functioning bus system means good things for our economy,” Long Island Bus Riders Union Organizer Aaron Watkins-Lopez said. “There are so many people who can’t drive a car for whatever reason, and the bus is their lifeline.”

In Nassau County, four new members will join the county’s Bus Transit Committee to oversee the Nassau Inter County Express (NICE) Bus system, expanding the group to nine members. That includes two members appointed by County Executive Ed Mangano, one by the Republican majority and another by the Democratic minority. Watkins-Lopez said the Democrats will work with Long Island Bus Riders Union on the selection. They expect to choose someone with experience on the bus; a former MTA bus driver is the only member of the existing five with experience.

“It’s important to have someone who rides the bus oversee the bus system,” he said.

Meanwhile, the county’s $2.98 billion 2015 budget approved last month also includes another $2 million for the NICE buses. That raises their contribution to $4.6 million towards the $113 million system. Advocates, however, are concerned those funds will be money previously promised. County officials promised $1.8 million in the summer to address a deficit, but they haven’t paid up yet. If it’s not the missing money, the union organizer hoped it could reduce late buses by having more on the street.

Click here for full story.

December

Grid Announces $700 Mil Natural Gas Investment

A proposed natural gas infrastructure investment should get a ruling from state officials in upcoming weeks.

Natural Grid filed a three-year, $700 million investment plan to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) in June. National Grid said they anticipate the PSC decision by January, if not sooner. According to the petition submitted with the PSC, National Grid is seeking permission to defer costs associated with the capital expenses. No date has formally been announced by the PSC, although it could be heard at their Dec. 11 session next week.

“As the natural gas provider on Long Island, National Grid has a longstanding commitment to the communities and customers we serve. This investment plan will enable National Grid to continue to provide safe and reliable service to our gas customers in the most economical and environmentally friendly way, while supporting the growth and vitality of Long Island,” National Grid New York President Ken Daly said.

According to a National Grid fact sheet, the plan calls for KeySpan Energy Delivery Long Island (KEDLI) to invest in gas main replacements, gas connections, and storm hardening. KEDLI became a subsidiary of National Grid when the UK-based company acquired KeySpan Corporation in 2006.

Click here for full story.

Shopping On Small Business Saturday Across LI

The holiday season has begun again, and downtown Long Island is embracing their patrons

American Express’ Small Business Saturday was a popular draw over the Thanksgiving weekend, although local businesses prepared to offer sales and entertainment for customers throughout the holiday season.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) joined Northport Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin, Northport Chamber of Commerce Secretary Dorothy Walsh and Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander tour the Village of Northport on Saturday.

“With so many shoppers excited for the bargains found on Black Friday, initiatives like Small Business Saturday give our local businesses a chance to compete against big-box stores during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year,” Spencer said.

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Positive Feedback For Valley Stream Mixed-Use Project

Public comments were accepted by the Valley Stream Village Board this week about a proposed mixed-use development.

Applicant Kay Development Group of Manhattan would need a zoning change to build 36 two-bedroom apartments on the site.

As proposed, the Promenade would be located on North Central Avenue and house a 4,400 square-feet of retail on the ground floor and apartments on four stories above. If approved, it would occupy 11,350 square-feet, including an empty lot where the former Party Boutique closed after a fire in February; the developer has since purchased the property.

An attorney for the developer previously described the board as a luxury development with amenities like balconies with plantings, a lounge, gym and laundry room on each floor and a 5,000-square-foot roof garden. The building would also feature around-the-clock valet parking and an attended lobby, which Sullivan said would make the location safer for residents.

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LI Wins $81.9 Mil From State For Econ Development

Long Island received an announcement of roughly $87 milion in NYS economic development funds out of the Statewide total of $709 million. Of that total roughly $16 million is earmarked for downtown and infrastructure related investments on LI. Downtown and related infrastructure projects include: Nassau: Glen Cove waterfront and wastewater improvements $600,000, Great Neck Plaza parking $675,000, Freeport waterfront park $325,000, Great Neck Wastewater Treatment $270,000, and Sea Cliff Village Hall -300,000. Suffolk: Wyandanch Rising over $5 million for various project elements, Patchogue parking design $60,000, Huntington Station community center at the Armory $1,500,000, Riverhead downtown agricultural museum $700,000, Hampton Bays Downtown $943,000, Meadows at Yaphank new town center sewage treatment $1,500,00 and $4 million for assorted Suffolk County sewage treatment expansion and upgrades. Another project of note is the LI Green Homes program spearheaded by the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College and numerous municipalities which received collectively $2.3 million.

There is an sense of excitment for the downtown projects and needed infrastructure projects who received the allocations. In the past, downtown projects like these would rarely recieve these types of allocations. The NYS Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Act helps direct and essentially gives extra points to downtown projects in the scoring of the projects. Thankfully the law is in place and the government officials are implementing it. Vision is and has been supportive of many of the above municipalities and projects and looks forward to these resources matched with private investment to grow our Main Streets.

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Rights To New Cassel Workforce Housing Announced

Dozens with dreams of moving into a new housing development just outside the Village of Westbury gathered yesterday to hear just who will turn fantasy into reality.

The Long Island Housing Partnership, Town of North Hempstead Community Development Agency and town board held the Workforce Housing Lottery at the “Yes We Can” Community Center Thursday evening.

“The development of 15 affordable homes in downtown New Cassel is another significant step in the revitalization of the community,” Long Island Housing Partnership CEO Peter Elkowitz said.

Applicants entered for a chance to own one of 15 homes. That includes a trio of new, two-story, three-bedroom single-family homes, 11 new, two-story, three-bedroom townhouses and a renovated, existing home.

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Mass Transit Tax Credit Passes

Senator Charles Schumer announced that the Mass Transit Benefit Tax Credit, among others, was passed by Congress Tuesday night in the Tax Increase Prevention Act (HR 5771), also known as the “tax extenders package’. The tax credit which expired January 1, 2014, passed with a one year extension allowing the benefits to be collected retroactively for 2014.

“This bill includes the extension of the mass transit benefit to keep more money in mass transit commuters’ pockets”, said Senator Schumer.“These critical tax breaks for teachers, commuters and others will help stretch every dollar earned by New Yorkers, and that’s why I pushed so hard to make sure they were extended for 2014″.

This benefit is available to commuters who receive employer offered transportation benefits and ride the bus, take the LIRR, take the subway or use another form of public transportation to commute to work. It will restore a tax benefit giving mass transit commuters the same tax break as those who commute by car receive for parking costs. Mass transit commuters will be able to receive up to $250 in tax benefits each month for the 2014 tax year. In the previous year, 2.7 million commuters nationwide took advantage of the benefit.

The bill consisting of almost 50 tax benefit is set to go to President’s desk this week for signature.

For more coverage of this story, check out Senatr Scumer’s press release.

LIPA Rejects Off-Shore Wind Farm, OKs Solar Arrays

The 11 solar arrays in Suffolk County got the green light from LIPA on Wednesday, but plans for an off-shore wind farm were sunk.

LIPA trustees voted on plans to create 280 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy promised by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his LIPA reform legislation.

The approval for solar will let LIPA begin creating plans for 11 arrays in Calverton; Manorville; East Shoreham; Medford; Yaphank and Kings Park. Expected to be turned on by 2016, the solar panels should create 122.1 MW of green power.

The trustees, however, dismissed Deepwater Wind’s $1 billion Deepwater ONE project. Stationed 30 miles off the coast of Montauk, 6 MW turbines on platforms in 100-120 feet of water would generate more than 200 megawatts of power by 2018 and hook up to the LIPA electrical system on the East End. Deepwater Wind, who already has a federal lease for the project, believes it could eventually produce up to 1,200 MW.

Several trustees expressed concern about the expensive price tag and possible elimination of tax loopholes with Deepwater ONE.

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First Tenant Moves Into New Farmingdale Transit Housing

The first tenant of a downtown Farmingdale housing development neighboring the LIRR station moved in Monday.

Jefferson Plaza formally opened its doors earlier this week, with Village Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, Vision Long Island and developers TDI and Bartone Properties touring the building.

“The administration has been nothing but supportive and it’s a pleasure working with them. The community seems to be receiving this very well. We have nothing but positive feedback to report,” developer Anthony Bartone said.

Jefferson Plaza is the largest of several Smart Growth projects underway in Farmingdale, a transit-oriented development that broke ground by the train station in November 2013.

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IDA Starts Countdown On Fourth LaunchPad Incubator in Great Neck Plaza

A business incubator will receive financial incentive to build a $4 million branch in the Village of Great Neck Plaza.

The Nassau County IDA approved LaunchPad Long Island for sales, mortgage and property tax breaks for their latest downtown location last week. Co-Founder Andrew Hazen said they had been waiting months for the IDA’s approval.

“We are choosing the contractors to build out the space and we hope to be in there by February,” Hazen said.

LaunchPad is expected to lease 7,200 square feet in a 22,500 square-foot building on Grace Avenue. Once complete, the new site will offer co-working spaces for at least 36 startup companies. The IDA believes it will create 50 permanent jobs, generate $12 million in economic impact and produce $90,000 in net tax benefits.

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Vision Long Island advances more livable, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible growth on Long Island through Smart Growth. Smart Growth focuses on infill, re-development, and open space preservation. It supports mixed-use, mixed-income communities that are convenient, attractive, pedestrian-friendly, and that make affordable housing and public transportation desirable and realistic.

Over the past 17 years Vision has counseled downtown Villages and Towns, and has been a resource for the County, State, and Federal governments, as well as the business and civic community on downtown revitalization, planning and infrastructure. Vision has made over 1,900 presentations, performed 20 community visionings and advanced over 60 public and private planning projects towards implementing the goals of Smart Growth on Long Island.

Vision Long Island

24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two

Northport, NY 11768

Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

Email: info@visionlongisland.org

Website: www.visionlongisland.org

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