December 22nd, 2018 - January 11th, 2019
For nearly forty years, Zyscovich Architects has strived to create projects with purpose, bringing new life and vibrancy to cityscapes through integrated urban planning, architecture and interior design. To this day, Zyscovich Architects has remained true to the original concept: design projects that have purpose and meaning.
Public Comment Period Open for Belmont Arena DEIS
Vision was out this week with over 400 residents and local business owners at the first public meeting on the DEIS for the Belmont Arena. The bulk of the crowd included neighbors from Elmont and Floral Park but some were also residents from neighboring Queens communities.
The existing road network is at or above capacity at peak times under current conditions. The nature of this development will generate large traffic demands at the beginning and end of arena events rather than spread out over the course of the day which is likely to lead to significant congestion. Due to the location of the site, the majority of visitors will be arriving by automobile since there is not significant transit access. According to the DEIS document, the primary mitigation for these traffic surges appears to be signal timing at a number of intersections near the arena, not any physical changes to the roadways. While the improvement of signal timing may create some improvement, it is unlikely to make a significant difference.
The proposal for the encouragement of carpooling and ride sharing are also not likely to make a substantial improvement. Carpooling may work for regular ticket holders, but isn’t very viable for most others, and ridesharing and taxis may reduce the parking demand on site, but does nothing to reduce traffic around the site. The DEIS also does not specify whether these mitigation measures would be financed by the developer or the public.
The current arena proposal states that two round trip trains to Jamaica will be scheduled for each major event. This may be useful for residents of the city, but will not help most Long Islanders access the arena. It will help for events that draw a mix of both city and island residents, but most Islander fans live east of Belmont Park and taking the train to Jamaica, then back east to Belmont is not a convenient trip. In order to maximize the benefit of the existing train station at Belmont, the eastbound track should be repaired and used so that visitors from the east can transfer at Mineola or another station east of Belmont. This can reduce travel times by fifteen or more minutes making the trip more attractive for more users which can help reduce the traffic impacts.
The two round trip trains per event can be helpful to mitigate a small portion of the traffic for arena events, but the community needs a viable train station year round. This community does not have rail service like most Long Island communities which puts its residents at a disadvantage.
Given the difficulty in accessing the site from points to the east, where most of the N.Y. Islander’s fan base live, it presents the question of how viable is this location as a long term home for the Islanders?
2) Compatibility with Local Businesses/Surrounding Community:
There seems to be little discussion and commitment of jobs for community residents. It is our understanding that to date union labor or a local workforce with prevailing wages have not been secured for the site.
As proposed in the draft are the smallest amount of public benefits we have seen for land use proposals of this scale on Long Island. It is heartening to hear there may be other public benefits that arise out of the upcoming public hearings and needed public input.
4) Land Use Precedence & Community Process:
The process that created this DEIS should be managed in coordination with local community and small business leadership along with the local municipalities. Vision has been listening to neighbors in Elmont, the Village of Floral Park and adjoining communities across the Nassau/Queens border who have not been engaged to date.
5) Smart Growth Impact Statement:
The Smart Growth category of “Compact Land Use” is not intended to jam as much development possible on a given site but to create a focused, walkable Main Street area that this development does not contain.
It is worth noting that Vision lobbied for the passage of the Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Act which places this section of criteria in the EIS for review. It’s unfortunate to see a mall proposal rated in this section.
We are hopeful that the feedback, questions and concerns that will be generated over the three days of public hearings and the written comments that follow will be seriously considered and yield major changes in the proposal.
Additional public meetings were held this week at the Elmont Public Library where those in attendance could comment on the DEIS. Written comments for those who were not able to attend will be accepted until February 11th, and can be submitted to Michael Avalia, ESD, 633 Third Ave. 37th Floor, NY NY 10017.
Forge River Watershed Sewer Project Holds Final Public Meeting Before January 22nd Referendum
Vision was out this week for the final public Open House information session for the proposed Forge River Watershed Sewer Project at the Mastic Fire Department. About 250 residents came out the the information session, which was held in both the afternoon and evening.
Additional feedback has been given and received at recent community meetings with the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association, Pattersquash Creek Civic Association, with others to come prior to the referendum.
Funding Secured for Sewer Connections in Central Islip
The Town of Islip was recently awarded $800,000 from Empire State Development to pay for infrastructure work needed to link a 10-block radius of Central Islip to an existing sewer system, which h nicely compliment the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding received recently.
A 17-person committee is currently in the process of working with consultants to flesh out potential projects for the funding, with ideas such as affordable housing initiatives, boutiques and restaurants being suggested at the last public input session in December. The process will be moving along quickly, with an additional public meeting coming up on February 4th at Central Islip High School to hear feedback from the community-at-large regarding potential projects that the committee is suggesting. A list of DRI projects for Central Islip which will be incorporated in the final Plan will be completed by March 2019.You can learn more about the funding for sewer expansion in the Central Islip area here, and can read more about Central Islip's DRI process here
Another Crash Involving Pedestrians on Notoriously Dangerous Roadway
The City of Long Beach endured a terribly tragedy last weekend when a crash occurred on one of the Long Island's most dangerous roadways.
NY Officials Sworn in on Ellis Island
Vision Board and staff headed out to Ellis Island on the first of the year for Governor Cuomo’s inaugural event.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli briefly pledged to continue his work of service to root out corruption and keep New York’s fiscal house in order. New York State Attorney General Letitia James vowed to go after corporations and officials that hurt New York’s poor and working class. New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul spoke of her years of public service traversing across our very large and diverse state. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke, after a video biography of his career in public service, to end the divisions that come down upon us from Washington and use New York’s diversity as our strength.Some Long Islanders that joined the festivities included Nassau County Executive Laura Curran; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; New York State Senators Monica Martinez, James Gaughran, and John Brooks; New York State Assemblywoman Judy Griffin; Suffolk Legislators Rob Calarco, Bridget Fleming, Susan Berland, and Kara Hahn; Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen; Village of Rockville Centre Mayor Frances Murray; Hicksville Chamber’s Lionel Chitty; Hempstead Chamber’s Dennis Jones; Randi Dresner from Island Harvest; and Matthew Aracich from the LI Building Trades Council.
The event was a spirited way to start the New Year and it was good to see the values of public service ground the business of New York State government.
Gov. Cuomo said, "Let New York say that the federal government may shut itself down but it will never extinguish the Statue of Liberty's torch or erase the words of her poem, they will never close our harbor, they will never close our hearts, and they will never close this hall of dreamers or disrespect the legacy they left.
“It is New York's duty, it is New York's destiny, once again, to bring the light that leads the way through the darkness. To show the nation the way forward and upward. And we will… That is my pledge to the people of the State of New York, and we begin today," said Gov. Coumo.
Retail Vacancy Rates in Nassau on the Rise
Vision was out in Hicksville this week with Jennifer McGlogan from CBS talking about the increased vacancy rates of retail strip malls and bigger box stores across Long Island. There are opportunities for increased development in downtown areas but what gets built outside Main Street areas should be carefully planned with local community input.
“I have noticed the vacancies of retail shops in my hometown and all over Nassau County,” homeowner Michael Murphy told CBS2’s McLogan on Monday. The vacancy rate of 7.3 percent at Long Island shopping centers represents some of the highest numbers in 18 years. Shopping centers that had big box anchors, such as Fortunoff, Sears, Mattress Firm and ToysRUs, must transition and diversify. There were differing opinions as to what is contributing to the higher vacancy rates, including online shopping being utilized more frequently than visiting brick and mortar establishments, high property taxes, strict zoning laws and high-priced square footage.
There are signs of prosperity, however, with some vacancies transitioning into other uses, like medical offices, restaurants, gyms and furniture stores. Vision Long Island’s Director Eric Alexander said that one vacant store in Hicksville will become multi-family housing. “Main streets, as well as retail malls and strip centers, are all transforming. Change isn’t coming — it’s here,” Alexander said.
Retailers and civic groups say they want to be flexible, and open to new ideas. They hope to work together to come up with the right fit in order to repurpose and occupy some of the vacancies, reversing the current trend.
You can read more about CBS’s look into Nassau’s retail vacancy rates here .
Long Island’s Commercial Real Estate Outlook Strong for New Year
With the New Year just beginning, Long Island’s commercial real estate market is looking healthy, with low unemployment, a strong economy, affordability in comparison to New York City, and transit-oriented development being key drivers towards the positive trend.
Long Island’s industrial market continues to be competitive, with the vacancy rate dropping from 6.5 percent for Q3 2017 to 5.1 percent for Q3 2018 – near historic lows – according to a Cushman & Wakefield report. “What’s happening is there are waiting lists for smaller tenants,” said Michelle Zere, executive vice president of Ronkonkoma-based Zere Real Estate Services, which focuses primarily on industrial real estate in Suffolk County. “There is nowhere for small businesses to go.” Tenants are pushing to renew their leases sooner rather than later, while low inventory has pushed up prices not only on the lease side, but on the sale side as well.
The office availability rate at the end of the third quarter was 11.2 percent, up slightly from the 10.8 percent rate for the second quarter but down from 12 percent for the third quarter last year, according to a CBRE report, which noted that average rent for office space increased 1 percent from Q3 2017 to Q3 2018. Overall, the office market is looked at as being stable in the coming year, with the availability rate at 10 percent in Nassau and 13 percent in Suffolk. Some in the industry feel that the growth in their portfolios are indicators of the tenants doing well, as they are requiring more space to operate even though companies are generally trending towards downsizing their required square footage due to technological changes and increased telecommuting. “Businesses are looking to cut costs and real estate is one of the things that can be streamlined. There are fewer private offices and more cubicles, which take up less room,” said David Hunt, president and chief executive officer of Hunt Corporate Services and Hunt Construction Services, both in Plainview.
Compared to the rest of the country, Long Island’s retail market is strong, but it still has its share of challenges as e-commerce continues to grow every year. The supermarket business has gotten challenging, with several A&P locations still left vacant. National retailers that are closing up shop or downsizing are leaving behind large buildings, with is leading to opportunities for changes of use. “We’re going to see shopping centers converted to mixed-use projects,” said Kenneth Schuckman, president of Schuckman Realty in Lake Success, “That’s something we haven’t seen yet, but it’s coming.”
The healthcare and assisted living industries are helping to keep construction companies busy, with companies such as Northwell building new facilities and making major investments in their current ones. In addition, transit-oriented development and other multifamily projects have taken off in recent years. Rental projects have been proposed or approved in 75 communities across Long Island over the past decade, with 44 of them in downtown business districts or adjacent to transit. It’s a movement that is gaining strength across the Island.
You can read more about the outlook of Long Island’s commercial real estate market here
Long Island Awarded Over $20 Million in Water Quality Improvement Grants
Long Island Awarded Over $20 Million in Water Quality Improvement Grants
Round 15 Awards for Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants were announced this past December as part of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council awards for the year. The WQIP program is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that funds projects that directly address documented water quality impairments.
Applicant Name: Nassau County Department of Public Works
Applicant Name: Suffolk County
You can check out all of the projects that were awarded for this round here
King and Suozzi Propose Bill to Restore SALT Deductions
Congressmen Peter King and Tom Suozzi have introduced bipartisan legislation that would retroactively restore the full State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction that was capped as part of the GOP's 2017 tax reform measure.
The King-Suozzi bill, introduced Friday on the second day of the 116th Congress, would repeal the $10,000 cap on SALT deductions, which the two lawmakers called "unfair" to Long Islanders who pay disproportionately higher property taxes than other parts of the country.
King and Suozzi's districts are among the top 25 nationwide for SALT claims. Over 450,000 homes in the two districts have claimed SALT deductions of around $20,000, far higher than the $10,000 allowable with the 2017 tax bill. On Long Island, where residents pay among the highest property taxes in the nation, roughly 530,000 homeowners, or 36 percent of all tax filers in Nassau and Suffolk, are affected by the cap.
The bill must pass the House Ways and Means Committee before going to the floor for a full vote. You can read more about the move to restore the deductions to hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders here
Motown Concert by Ronkonkoma Chamber for Charity
The Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce will be hosting Motown in Our Town, a tribute to
Tickets are $39.50, with proceeds helping students in the community. The Chamber also plans to make a donation to the Andrew McMorris Fund. Andrew is the Boy Scout that was killed in October by a drunken driver.
The event will be held on February 16th at 7:30PM at Connetquot High School, 190 7th Street in Bohemia. You can buy tickets here, or call 631-698-9696 for more information
Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarship Applications Being Accepted
Lindenhurst Village Creates to New Video to Highlight Downtown
Proudtown has spent the last several months in the Village of Lindenhurst, NY. They have been exploring its downtown, its beaches, its parks, its resources, but, most importantly its people. What they found is definitely a Village that is moving forward, and they’ve created this short video that showcases what this wonderful community has to offer
We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.
Vision Long Island