Feb. 7-14, 2015
PSEG Long Island
We pledge to build a Long Island utility with PSEG's same record of service, reliability and customer satisfaction. It will take some time to make all the improvements we’re planning, but in the end, we will create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud. Keeping the lights on isn’t just a job for us: It’s our mission. We bring that spirit to work every day.
We recognize that our ability to prosper as a business depends on helping others prosper. Thus, we define success not only by the bottom line but the environmental and social dimensions of our performance. As the name "Public Service" implies, community service is one of our core values. We will work to give back to our communities and neighbors and enrich the quality of life in the region. Connecting with our customers, investors, employees, communities, government officials, regulators and suppliers helps us run a better business and meet environmental and social expectations. We believe our stakeholder relationships are best served by an approach that is both proactive and interactive, reflecting a healthy dialogue and frank exchange of ideas.
“I worked hard last Congress to secure over $300 million in Sandy-relief funding to get the Mastic-Shirley sewer project off the ground, and this money needs to be spent ASAP in order to get this three year project moving, which will improve quality of life for residents, mitigate flood risk and reduce nitrogen levels in the ground and surface waters.” US Senator Charles Schumer
Senator fast track for New Wastewater Treatment Plant at Brookhaven Calabro Airport
Another push went underway Monday at Brookhaven Calabro Airport to bring 5,300 homes and a business corridor in Suffolk closer to the reality of having a local wastewater treatment plant break ground in an environmentally and economically challenged area.US Senator Charles Schumer urged the FAA to approve the Town’s application to build a new waterwater treatment facility at the regional airport. Since the Town receives funding from the FAA, it requires FAA approval by this summer to transfer land to the County so they can break ground on the $196 million phases of the project on schedule.
The project, estimated to cost between $300 and $350 million dollars in total, will be the largest sewage infrastructure undertaking in Suffolk County in the last 35 years. $300 million in Community Development Block Grant funds from the Sandy Relief bill are allocated for 4 sewer projects in Suffolk’s most vulnerable areas in order to ensure that the areas are built back resiliently. An additional $83 million in low-interest loans for the projects were announced in October by Governor Cuomo.
“I worked hard last Congress to secure over $300 million in Sandy-relief funding to get the Mastic-Shirley sewer project off the ground, and this money needs to be spent ASAP in order to get this three year project moving, which will improve quality of life for residents, mitigate flood risk and reduce nitrogen levels in the ground and surface waters. I am urging the FAA to quickly approve Town of Brookhaven’s application to take control of this parcel of land so that the treatment plant needed for this sewer project can be built as soon as possible,” said Schumer.
County Executive Steve Bellone echoed the needs of proper sewage for the area. "I have made it my administration’s top priority to protect the quality of Suffolk County's drinking, surface and ground water as I have worked vigorously with our leaders, including Senator Schumer, to invest in wastewater infrastructure and technology in order to protect our region’s future from nitrogen pollution and potential future storm damage,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “The full implementation of the Mastic-Shirley sewer project is vital in restoring our coastal vegetation along the south shore which is essential to protecting these communities against future storms like Superstorm Sandy. We are grateful for the Senator’s efforts to expedite the transfer process in order for us to break ground on this much-needed wastewater treatment plant.”
“Vision Long Island applauds Senator Schumer for his leadership in fast tracking this sewer infrastructure project for economic development and environmental protection for a peninsula of 45,000 residents. This project has been in the works for over a decade originating from a community vision and thankfully now, due to federal support, coming to fruition,” said Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island.
Low lying areas in Suffolk County that do not have sewer systems had storm surges that exceeded the FEMA 100-year floodplain during Superstorm Sandy. According to Suffolk County, Sandy highlighted a long-neglected environmental problem in low-lying South Shore communities: rising nitrogen pollution fed from failing septic systems and cesspools. As nitrogen has poured into Suffolk’s aquifer, bays and rivers, it has caused not only a water quality crisis, but eroded protective coastal wetlands to the point of failure during a storm.
Suffolk County is working hard to ensure that it is not forgotten in New York State’s upcoming budget, asking for $26.5 Million in state aid to help offset a loss of up to $40 Million in sales tax revenue and marking the smallest request to the State in his three years as County Executive.
In a trip to Albany Monday, Country Executive Steve Bellone met with Suffolk’s Assembly Caucus, Senate Republicans, new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the Governor’s office in separate sessions displaying what was seen as a concise proposal for the County’s needs. "Folks used to come from Suffolk County with a 120-page novel, with a lot of ideas big and small," said Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider. "Steve Bellone's approach is to come in with a focused and more targeted set of asks that are fair and achievable."
Although the requests were smaller in comparison to other years, Bellone would also like to see renewals in other taxes that generate revenue for the county of 1.5 million residents. 1% of Suffolk’s sales tax, which generates $293 million annually is set to expire in November. The 3 percent hotel/motel tax, which brings in $9.3 million a year and helps pay for tourism promotion, parks and cultural events is one that requires renewal.
Assemblyman Steve Englebright said that there talks about what other municipalities such as Albany (6%) and New York City (5.85%) charge for this tax.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is pushing for $10 million in state aid for bus rapid transit system that would include Suffolk Bus service. Currently Suffolk County receives far less aid than neighboring Nassau County and other areas. Suffolk currently pays $30.3 million, or 46 percent, of busing costs, while the state picks up $23 million, or 35 percent. Nassau pays $4.1 million, or 3 percent, of busing costs, while the state picks up $62.3 million, or 53 percent. Westchester spends $17.3 million and gets $51.3 million in state bus funding.
This additional aid has been a priority for the LI Lobby Coalition for the last two years and is needed for Sunday service and expanded routes for workers and students.
Suffolk's largest request is for a change in the state's Safety Net program, which provides welfare for single adults and several other groups. This would net the county $15 million if the state and county to return previous 2010 50-50 share as opposed to the 71 percent share the county now pays.
He also requested a change in funding formulas for remedial services for preschoolers which would increase the state funding share from 59.5 percent to 61 percent to save the county $1.5 million annually.
For more on this story, visit Newsday.
It has been over two weeks since a storm that dumped over two feet of snow on parts of Long Island, some residents are still facing hazardous conditions on sidewalks and parking lots in their downtowns, residential and commercial areas. At least one pedestrian fatality is being attributed to poor walking conditions.
Vision was out with News 12's Drew Scott today in downtown Bay Shore to see the walking conditions. Seniors, disabled folks, families and all citizens walking need safe passage through the winter. It is the job of local businesses, municipalities and in the absence of that support volunteers to safely clear the areas for walkers.
75 year old Sebaptiste Augustin was killed last Wednesday due to ice and snow covered streets not being cleared when he was struck by a vehicle while walking down West John Street in Hicksville on his way to work. His son said that the sidewalks on the way to work were covered with snow, so his father walked in the street.
Vision Long Island’s Director Eric Alexander says that it is the responsibility of businesses and homeowners to clear their front sidewalks. Other areas are the responsibility of towns and villages. Some towns fine homeowners and businesses that neglect their sidewalks. Alexander encourages municipalities to be as vigilant for their own sidewalks and streets.
With excess snowfall being piled up along shoulders and sidewalks, North Hempstead Township recognized the need for steps to be taken to deplete the accumulation within its boundaries. A $60,000 lease was made on a snow melting machine the size of a bus that will melt an astonishing 100 tons of snow per hour. It is now up and running at a LIRR parking lot in Port Washington where mounds of snow from the lot and adjacent areas remain over two weeks later.
"It piles up in the corners, it piles up in between cars. We had a lot of snow already -- there's nowhere really to put it," Highway Superintendent Thomas Tiernan said. Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said that with the frequency of recent storms, the town should be more concerned about what happens after the snow is plowed and wants to stay ahead of it. " Parking is an issue in Port Washington. We want to optimize the number of spaces available so they are not taken up by mountains of snow." Piles of snow can also be removed from intersections, where the large accumulations can block driver and pedestrian lines of sight and increase the potential for accident or injury.
North Hempstead is one of the only towns that uses snow melting technology to deplete massive snow piles. They feel that using this technology can also help use less man hours for snow removal, which can rack up a lot of overtime in large snowstorms.
More can be seen about this incident and the unsafe accumulations that were still lingering over a week later on News 12.
You can read more about North Hempstead's snow machine here.
Last Friday, the Disaster Assistance Recoupment Fairness act of 2015 was introduced to Congress by Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey. This bill, cosponsored by first- term Congresswoman Kathleen Rice who represents NY’s 4th Congressional District, aims to prevent FEMA from requesting reimbursement of funds allocated in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
“It’s appropriate and important that FEMA do all it can to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars, but that’s not what we’re talking about here,” Rice, whose district was significantly affected by Sandy in October of 2012, said in a statement. “We’re talking about people who had their homes destroyed and their lives turned upside down by Sandy. People who needed help. They may have made an honest mistake during the overwhelming and confusing application process, or else received an overpayment through no fault of their own. Either way, they can’t afford to be forced into debt after they’ve already used these funds to rebuild their homes, and this legislation will ensure that they don’t have to.”
Recently, FEMA launched a new Disaster Assistance Recoupment Offensive to attempt to recoup overpayments and allocations given due to administrative errors post-Sandy, many on Long Island. Roughly half of the households of the 4,500 that were scrutinized in September 2014 have a annual gross income of $30,000 or less.
In 2011, FEMA had attempted to recover $385 million from almost 90,000 residents affected by Katrina. Congress authorized the agency to waive a majority of the money that it sought to recover in that instance. In contrast, FEMA is attempting to recoup $5.8 million from approximately 850 residents who received assistance from Sandy. Post-Katrina, the agency claimed to get better at making sure payments only go to the proper people and in proper amounts. According to FEMA, many of the payments were used inappropriately, such as reconstruction listed as a primary residence when it was a vacation home, or for repairs that were later covered by insurance.
"I've gone into panic mode now because I don't have $4,000 to give back to FEMA," said Karen Westerlind of Lindenhurst in a recent interview with News 12. Ms. Westerland just moved back home July of this past year, and says that she is not sure why FEMA wants to recoup the funds.
Mayor Paul Pontieri continues to move forward with the revitalization of the Village of Patchogue. Over the past decade, the village has developed a new but familiar look. Many longtime residents praise the turnaround saying it has the feel of the old vibrant Patchogue with a something for today’s young people.
The revitalization of the village has brought in new apartments including apartments for artist and the new Four Corners, complete streets components to increase walking, and a vibrant main street with nearly any vacancies. Main St. is now home to a variety of small businesses restaurants, entertainment, and retails shops contributing to the growth of the local chamber and drawing in crowds from neighboring communities. Pontieri, known for his strong desire to make the village a family oriented destination said, "We're the land of $300,000 homes. You have to bring in young families. You want to be a walkable community".
As part of an approximately $6 million plan, Mayor Pontieri plans to focus on street repairs and drainage. A major portion will be the $2.5 million set aside to remove asphalt and install drainage structures, underground chambers and sewer lines to 55 homes on River Avenue in south Patchogue. The project has already received approval from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and is scheduled to go out to bid this month.
According to the superintendent of Patchogue's Public Works Department, the village recently received $18 million in federal and state grants to add sewer lines to 650 homes in south Patchogue. "We're going to do what's financially and fiscally responsible to do," said Mayor Pontieri, giving some assurance to the residents concerned about the cost.
Repairing 35 miles of small streets throughout the village and adding new seats to the Patchogue Theater also are part of the plans for 2015 as well as replacing streetlights with more energy-efficient lights to brighten neighborhoods.
“Pontieri's plan is a logical next step after focusing on the downtown area”, said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander. "He needed to bring more development to improve his tax base, then he brought in more businesses to grow the retail base. “After redeveloping a downtown, residents want amenities and attractions such as walkable streets and neighborhood parks.”
Making Patchogue a family-orientated destination starts with creating a master plan to improve village parks by refurbishing playground equipment, and adding new ballfields and tennis courts, Pontieri said. This would include five parks which have only seen a few upgrades since installation in the 1950’s.
That project was going to be funded by a $1 million bond utility, but the village received a private $5 million donation from an unidentified foundation a couple of weeks ago, Pontieri said.
The village owned the theater will recieve $1 for from every sold ticket at the theater to be placed into a capital reserve account for repairs and upgrades.
The village, which owns the theater, is to receive $1 for from every sold ticket at the theater, with the money put into a capital reserve account for repairs and upgrades.
Fo more on this story, visit Newsday.
Babylon Town Board could set in motions some zoning changes near the Copiague Train Station this spring. The 35 acre area being considered is currently home to some industrial sites, retail buildings, and parking lots, all within walking distance of the train station.
This process will begin with a public hearing on a study of possible environmental impacts. of development. Available on the Town’s website is a draft of the study which anticipates increase in traffic and demand for municipal services such as fire and schools, would also bring more growth and economic development to an otherwise desolate area.
"There's a trend of seeing young people preferring to live in downtown areas," said Jonathan Keyes, director of the town's Office of Downtown Revitalization. "We're cognizant of that trend and want to be a part of it."
The 2009 Copiague Vision Plan, with input from the community, suggested a $144 million buid out plan requiring construction in the area over the next decade.
This scenario suggested an increase in residential units nearly fourfold to 420 units and in retail spacing up 245,064 square feet, housed in buildings of up to four stories. More than 96,000 square feet of industrial space would be converted to other uses, and park space -- including Veterans' Memorial Park -- would be greatly expanded.
Buildings with five or more residential units would contain 20 percent designated as affordable housing. The pedestrian experience on thoroughfares such as Great Neck Road would include buildings constructed closer to the street and parking pushed to the rear.
"The market's there," said Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a Northport-based smart-growth planning organization that is not affiliated with the Copiague effort. However, he noted that several key components would need to be in place for a full revitalization of the area. "Safety and security, parks, the right mix of small businesses, a sense of community spirit . . . It's not just about putting housing close to transit," he said.
You can read Newsday's article on this subject here.
The Village of Lynbrook is excited! The proposed rehabilitation of the Lynbrook Theater on Merrick Road, which has been years in the workings, looks like it will be moving ahead. The 100 year old building requires upgrades in order to be a part of the area's downtown redevelopment.
At present, the theater can accommodate 1,800 people. The plans for the future will include rocker seats, 4k projection and accommodations for those who are visually and hearing impaired. Capacity is slated to grow to 3,000 seats, which draws concerns from area residents over parking and concerns of congestion. However, various changes will be made to the surrounding area of the building to make traffic conditions safer for pedestrians, including improvements to stop light timing and crosswalks and the creation of a theatergoer drop-off area along Hempstead Avenue near Patrick Henry Park.
The energy around this project was best explained by Mayor Hendrick . “I am very pleased that Regal Cinemas is going to rehabilitate the movie house that has a long history in the Village of Lynbrook. The modernization of the physical layout of the building as well as the restructuring of the seating will make the Lynbrook movie theater one of the most beautiful and modern on Long Island. We are confident that this will attract new business to our Lynbrook USA”.
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Farmingdale Winter Wonderland Expo
Farmingdale, N.Y. (February 9, 2015) – The Village of Farmingdale is set for the Second Annual Farmingdale Village Winter Wonder land Expo “Taste of Farmingdale” Open House, to be held at Village Hall at 361 Main Street on Thursday evening February 26th from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. “We are preparing for a great event at Village Hall on February 26th and hereby inviting residents, the local community & Village merchants to join together and enjoy a casual evening with tastings and samples from Farmingdale Village.
For more information visit www.farmingdalevillage.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/farmingdale11735 Join the event on Facebook www.facebook.com/events/911407522233189/Farmingdale
Vision Long Island Partner, Suburban Millennial Instititue to Host First Annual Conference on jobs
In partnership with the National Center for Suburban Studies® at Hofstra University, the Suburban Millennial Institute is convening leaders in government, business, and advocacy on Friday, March 13th to discuss how Long Island can retain its Millennial population. Three moderated panels entitled “Work” “Live” and “Play” will discuss innovative and bold ideas for building a strong future with long-term economic growth on Long Island. The “Work” panel focuses on public sector jobs, “Live,” on private sector jobs, and “Play,” a panel of Long Island Millennial generation entrepreneurs.
The Suburban Millennial Institute is proud to announce Lee Zeldin, United States Congressman (NY-1) and Joan Kuhl, Why Millennials Matter as the keynote speakers.
Panelists include the following*:
“LIVE” panel: Moderator, Tawaun Weber, Vision Long Island
“PLAY” panel: Moderator David Calone, Jove Equity Partners
The conference kicks off at 8:00am and will run through 12:30pm, with refreshments served throughout the morning. Register for the conference at www.suburbanmillennial.com, and follow us on twitter @SuburbanMillenn.
Get Up To Speed At 15th Annual Main Street Forum
Sign up now for a one-day symposium about the New York Main Street Alliance.
Have A Heart For Island's Homeless At Candlelight Vigil
Wear red and join Long Island Coalition for the Homeless at Farmingdale State College March 31 to support your homeless neighbors.
Listnet LISA Awards to be held on May 6th
The objective of LISTnet (Long Island Software & Technology Network) is to promote Long Island as one of the national centers of excellence for Software and Technology solutions. This is achieved by facilitating collaborations between companies, establishing forums and events for the exchange of information, improving the quantity of the labor force and partnering with companies that provide the High technology Centers necessary for the growth of L.I. software and technology companies.
Each year Listnet honors partners in that growth at their annual LISA (Long Island Software Award). This year Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander is among the 13 honorees.
The awards will be held 6-9pm at the Garden City Hotel on May 6th 2015 for the "NEW" LISA LITE AWARD at the Garden City Hotel. For more information please visit our website at www.listnet.org or contact Peter Goldsmith at email@example.com or (631) 224-4400.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we "wear many hats," and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
To learn more or apply, send a resume, cover letter and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put "Vision Long Island Internship" in the subject heading. For more information, call our office at 631-261-0242.
What's happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Cold Spring Harbor
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American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Luncheon supports heart healthy lifestyles...
Vision Board and staff were in attendence at the "Go Red for Women" luncheon for the American Heart Association. Certilman Balin partner and Vision Board member Howard Stein was honored and over 1000 folks were in attendance. Great organization that focuses on healthy living and improved walking and biking conditions are a natural connection to their agenda.
Newsletter Editor: Mike Koehler, Communications Director
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