March 26th - April 1st, 2017
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"We need to educate Long Islanders about the policy changes needed to design roadways for all users, not just for automobiles. We have a responsibility to speak up and encourage more to get involved and plan for facilities to be more accommodating in the future." - Glen Cove Plaza Village Mayor Jean Celender
Over 100 Gather for Fifth Annual Complete Streets Summit
Over 100 local businesses, civics and road safety advocates gathered for solutions to improve the safety and economic growth along Long Island’s roadways. The annual Long Island Complete Streets Summit was hosted by the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in East Farmingdale.
Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender was the keynote speaker highlighting what we need to accomplish on our roadways to truly make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists. She reviewed the state of traffic calming and Complete Streets projects with the challenges and solutions facing municipalities in carry them out.
A work session was held highlighting 5 of LI’s Pedestrian & Bicycle hot spots to identify preliminary recommendations for safety improvements. Those five areas have seen recent deaths or accidents and many of them have planned future growth that would have more folks walking so improvements are needed. Four of these areas are either have planned or actual growth totaling nearly 3,000 units of transit oriented development with an increase in walking and bicycling expected.
Speakers this year included Michael Vitti, C.L.I.M.B.; Sylvia Silberger, Car-Less Long Island; Frank Wefering, GPI / Greenman-Pedersen, Inc..; Pete Kremer, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff; Margaret Kubilins, VHB; Hon. Legislator Laura Curran, Nassau County; Hon. Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Town of Hempstead; Sean Sallie, Nassau County; Chris Lucas, NV5, Hon. Ralph Ekstrand Mayor, Village of Farmingdale & Hon. Jorge Martinez, Deputy Mayor, Incorporated Village of Freeport, Other municipalities that provided updates included Hon. Valerie M. Cartright, Councilwoman, Town of Brookhaven, Jack Schnirman from the City of Long Beach and the Incorporated Village of Valley Stream.
This coalition is a contingent of chambers of commerce, civic associations, local governments, engineering and professional trade groups, transit advocates and members of the public who want safe streets for all modes of traffic. The group looks to coordinate Complete Streets planning efforts, communicate on finding opportunities for local projects, act as a clearinghouse for information and lobby with a united voice for safe roadways.
Toward that end, members of the group at the meeting are seeking a meeting with NYS DOT to review the needs of improvements that can be made along the 5 roadways spotlighted. In addition there was interest in the group to see at least some portion of red light camera funding can be dedicated towards road safety improvements in each County – not just dedicated to general fund support.
Public Information Session Held for Heartland Town Square
Vision was out this week at the Town of Islip for the Heartland Informational meeting. The board room was to capacity with some watching the presentation on a monitor outside. The 16 million square foot project will have an estimated build life of 32 years, and is expected to generate almost 24,000 job years during construction, and almost 26,000 permanent jobs.
The long-awaited proposal has been stalled since 452 acres of the Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center was purchased by developer Jerry Wolkoff in 2002 for $20 million. In August of last year, the Islip Planning Board recommended 133 acres for the first phase of development, allowing the Town to monitor progress and traffic concerns. The Suffolk County Planning Commission recently unanimously voted to recommend a zoning change for the project, along with six conditions, including certification that all contractors and subcontractors participate in apprentice programs, that traffic is monitored by the town once 50 percent of occupancy is obtained at the first phone of development and thereafter, and that groundwater drawdown is monitored. The Town would be able to override these and other recommendations by a super-majority vote.
The informational session outlined the proposed development phases, what areas would be preserved, including 8-9 acres reserved for civic space and a cemetery on the north side of the property where about 5,000 are interred. An economic and fiscal impact study was undertaken, outlining the cost that the development will have to the Town during the construction period. For the first five years, it will end up costing the town about $3.7 million to hire new employees and obtain equipment for the project. Years six through 32 will allow the Town a tax-positive gain, with a total of $111 million projected for the Town through the project lifespan. The nearly 24,000 construction job years will generate approximately $1.5 billion in earnings, and the nearly 26,000 permanent jobs crated will result in approximately $1.2 billion in annual earnings, and $2.7 billion in annual sales.
There is currently a PILOT for the property, which is set to expire or be renewed in 6 years. It was said that as the project is developed, properties will be added to the tax rolls and no longer be part of the PILOT program. Before the sales, the property generated no tax revenue or payments. Since the property was acquired, $21.3 million has been paid through the PILOTs, with Brentwood School District receiving over $15 million, and other entities such as the county, town, and the fire and library districts receiving the remainder.
There were questions from the board concerning walkability and bikability to the Deer Park LIRR station, access points for commercial vehicles, and parking. Those in attendance seemed to favor the project, but did have concerns regarding traffic, impact to schools, and environmental impact. Parking was also brought up, with a board member questioning if the parking will be adequate without parking garages. Discussed also was whether the Town board will move ahead with both 15% of the 9,000 proposed residential units being reserved for workforce housing and 10% of the units being restricted to affordable housing. It was said that there could be the possibility of a “more seamless corridor to the east” of the property for pedestrian-friendly accessibility to the Deer Park LIRR station, and that a shuttle would be provided to the station.
The Town will host a public meeting on April 26th at 6pm at Islip Town Hall West at 401 W. Main Street, Islip, to hear concerns. The presentation from this week will be available for viewing on the Town's website, where public comment can be submitted until April 15th. The video from the meeting will be made available on the Town’s public access channel soon. You can check out the development’s website here, and media coverage from CBS.
You can view the informational meeting itself here.
Brookhaven Supervisor Delivers State of the Town Address
Supervisor Ed Romaine delivered his fifth State of the Town address last week in the auditorium at Brookhaven Town Hall. The theme of the address was “Building on Strength, Protecting Our Future, Moving Brookhaven Forward” and he delivered an optimistic look at the great strides that have been made this past year, his new initiatives and the challenges that face the Town in the years ahead. Declaring that the “state of Brookhaven is good and getting better,” the Supervisor opened his address by acknowledging the efforts of the Town Board and the Commissioners, Department heads and employees who serve the residents of the Town of Brookhaven, as well as housing options for veterans in Lake Ronkonkoma and one coming soon in Middle Island.
“With the largest coastline of any Town in New York State, Brookhaven knows full well global climate change and sea level rise are the most significant challenges in the decades ahead,” said Romaine. “Planning, zoning, and building codes will have to be revised to reflect this growing threat.” Supervisor Romaine said the Town will strengthen its commitment to protect and preserve “what is left” for future generations by strengthening planning, zoning and building codes; better protecting coastal marshes, restore wetlands and restrict residential and commercial development in flood zones; and cutting the Town’s greenhouse gas emission by 50% by the year 2020 to address the issues of climate change, rising sea level, and carbon pollution.
$18 Million Peconic Crossing Apartment Development Breaks Ground in Downtown Riverhead
This week, Vision joined civics, non-profits, and elected for the groundbreaking of Peconic Crossing, an $18 million apartment complex in downtown Riverhead. The development will be within walking distance to stores, restaurants, banks and local schools, and is located in proximity to public transportation.
“The Town has done careful planning to redevelop Riverhead one project at a time,” said Vision Director Eric Alexander. “This development fits perfectly with that planning strategy to continue to revitalize Main Street.”
Developed by Rochester-based Conifer Realty, building the project will create 45 income-restricted apartments on West Main Street while utilizing GREEN building practices. The four story building will have both one- and two-bedroom apartments. It is being built on the former site of the Long Island Science Center, which was recently demolished. Amenities will include a fitness room, a community room, and a laundry room. The building will also include a ground-level artist gallery for residents to create, collaborate, and live.
The project is aimed at working families that earn less than 90% of Suffolk County’s area median income, currently sitting at $76,464 for a family of 4. Artists and people who were displaced by Superstorm Sandy will have preference when sorting residency applications.
Leasing will begin approximately 120 days prior to occupancy which is projected to be in 2017. For those interested in being added to a mailing list for detailed information and to receive an application once leasing begins, click here.
Rental Housing Proposed for Millennials and 55 and Over in Uniondale
Vision was out this week in the Town of Hempstead in support of a mixed next-generation and Golden Age housing at the former Holly Patterson facility in Uniondale. A creative design allowing for two bedroom, two bathroom units with common living room, dining area and kitchen would create affordable, shared living for the next generation units. The proposal is for 378 units averaging about 23 units to the acre.
The proposed plan is split into two sections on 18 acres. Parcel 1 will be non-age restricted, intended to house students and young people in order give millennials and opportunity to move from their parents’ homes and basements, and have the opportunity to live on their own. This portion calls for 190 units situated on 9.5 acres, with 2-3 story buildings and 508 parking spaces (2.67 spots per unit). Each unit will contain 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms of equal size, a living room, dining room, and kitchen.
Parcel 2 will be designed for those 55 and over, as there is a high need for housing for 55 and over rentals in the community. This portion will have 198 units on 8.6 acres in 2-3 story buildings, with a total of 331 parking spaces (1.67 per unit). These units will also have 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, but will feature a small bedroom with a larger master, as well as a dining room, living room and kitchen.
Both Parcels will each have their own clubhouse with an outdoor pool, with Parcel 1 also having room for a volleyball court. Additionally, each parcel will be separated, with separate secure entrances, and a fully landscaped perimeter with a 6 foot decorative vinyl fence. There are also 4 Nassau bus routes that service the area- two heading north-south, and two east-west.
By far the most important voices were from actual Uniondale residents with local churches and the chamber out in support. One of the civics wanted to preserve the site as open space and cited past community activities on the former site. Other residents had questions about traffic, parking, school district impact, potential site contamination and property management.
You can read more about the request to change the zoning for the two proposed apartment complexes here.
State and County Close to Emergency Funding Solution to Prevent NICE Bus Cuts
With 19 NICE bus routes either being cut completely or reduced by April 9th, over 5,400 riders are hopeful that talks of emergency funding from both Nassau County and New York State to stave off the cuts come to fruition. Emergency funding for both Nassau and Suffolk County bus systems was a major priority of the Long Island Lobby Coalition in this month’s trip to Albany, along with solutions towards long-term, sustainable funding streams.
NICE bus is facing a $6.8 million operating deficit as Nassau County cut funding to the bus system in the last budget. Currently, Nassau pays the minimum necessary to receive state funding- $2.5 million dollars from the county budget. NICE relies on Nassau County for a part of their annual operating budget. The fares that passengers pay only cover 38 percent of the total cost of the transit system, with the remainder funded by New York State (52 percent), the federal government (5 percent) and the County (5 percent). Luckily, state and federal funding was not cut for 2017.
As of now, Nassau Legislators are still trying to see where they can come up with funding to stave off the cuts. In Mineola this week, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves said that, “my understanding is the state will match whatever we put in. And I think the bottom line is $1.5 million. And I’m still not sure where that $1.5 million is coming from. It’s something that we have to keep working on ... But we’re not going to give up.” Nassau County did have unexpected sales tax returns that exceeded projections by $11.9 million in 2016, as well as capital funds that have not been used when budgeted in the past that could be a source to draw from for 2017.
Additionally, Assemblyman Dave McDonough, the ranking minority member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, confirmed at Long Island Lobby Day that there are hopes that there will be a $10 million appropriation for Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester towards non-MTA transit systems in this year’s budget, with optimism that it will move ahead. Concerning the measure, McDonough said in an email, "while the Governor’s Executive Budget provided no additional aid for non-MTA transit, the Assembly and the Senate have included additional funding in their one house budget proposals which would include LI bus services. I feel confident that we will be successful in securing that aid which would help to prevent serious reductions in bus service, in both Nassau and Suffolk, which is essential for those citizens and students that would have no other means of transportation. I was pleased to join with representatives of Vision Long Island in Albany recently regarding this matter."
State and NICE officials have said that with new revenue, they would prioritize keeping the endangered routes with the highest ridership, with hopes to retain all routes. While advocates for buses are appreciative of the effort to save Nassau riders from cuts this year, they caution that without a long-term solution, the same cuts can occur next year. As NYS officials debate ridesharing legislation and negotiate a final agreement, ensuring that a $.50 surcharge for each ride on Long Island gets directed to local bus systems and not the MTA as originally planned is one way towards funding Nassau and Suffolk buses. Additionally, passing legislation to redirect a portion of the MTA Payroll tax to Long Island transportation priorities including NICE bus service in Nassau and Suffolk Transit in Suffolk will allow for sustainable and expandable systems, with the counties working towards efficiencies in the systems.
You can read more about the latest moves to help put a stop to NICE bus cuts in two Newsday articles here and here, and also see Assemblyman McDonough’s push to secure funding for non-MTA transit entities here.
Proposed Federal Budget Worrisome for Agencies, Governments, Most Vulnurable
Non-profits and local governments throughout the country are watching President Trump’s proposed budget closely, many in fear that proposed cuts to certain programs will negatively affect operations, and hinder efforts to help some of the most vulnerable.
The President’s plan proposes to zero out nearly $3 billion in funding for the longstanding and popular Community Development Block Grant program, a federal revenue sharing plan that, since 1974, has provided aid to cities and town centers across America to eradicate blight, seed revitalization projects and improve public safety. CDBG already receives about half of the funding that it did in 2000. About a third of CDBG funds are used towards public infrastructure, about 25 percent towards housing, with the balance being allocated towards administration, planning, public services, economic development, and property acquisition.
Many agencies, big and small, are reliant upon funding from CDBG. The New York City Housing Authority receives $2 billion of its $3.2 billion operating budget from HUD, with $17.1 billion in unmet capital needs. With this proposed cut, NYCHA could see $150 million in cuts from HUD. “The cumulative effect on low-income people is going to be devastating,” said Sunia Zaterman, the executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. One local example on a smaller scale in terms of the amount of funding is the Open Arms Care Center, a food pantry in Riverhead. CDBG funding accounts for about 25 percent of their budget, allowing the agency to serve 500 to 600 households annually. Without funding from CDBG, “we could potentially be shutting down, and if not shutting down, then having a serious cutback in the amount of people we could serve,” says Zona Story, chair of Open Arms Care Center. Riverhead Town received about $135,000 in funding this year and allocated $100,000 of it toward the Home Improvement Program, which provides home repair loans to people who fall within income guidelines.
You can read more about the potential impact of cutting CDBG funding on Long Island here.
Public Input Wanted for Proposed SEQRA Amendments
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) proposes to amend the regulations that implement the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The principal purpose of the amendments is to streamline the SEQRA process without sacrificing meaningful environmental review.
Although the DEC has not identified any potentially significant adverse environmental impacts that will result from the proposed amendments, the DEC has chosen to use a generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) to discuss the objectives and the rationale for the proposed amendments and provide opportunity for public participation. The DEC has also combined the GEIS with the impact statements required by the State Administrative Procedure Act to reduce duplication.
There will be 4 public hearings, with the one being held on Long Island being held on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 6:00 PM at the Suffolk County Water Authority, 260 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge, with a public information session from 3:30PM-5PM before the public hearing. The purpose of the public information sessions will be for DEC staff to answer questions regarding the amendments.
For more information, including proposed amendments and additional public meetings locations and dates, click here.
Long Island Coalition for the Homeless to Hold “Have a Heart for the Homeless” Candlelight Vigil
Please join the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless at their “Have a Heart for the Homeless” Candlelight Vigil on April 4th, 2017 from 6:30PM – 8:30PM, in the Multi-Purpose Room in Roosevelt Hall at Farmingdale State College. The participation of every person who cares will make a difference. Let us show that Long Islanders want to eradicate homelessness and hunger that exist in our affluent society. Please wear RED!
There will be free hair cuts, face painting, story time for children, balloon animals, a candlelighting ceremony, and more. Your group can also help by conducting drives to collect NEW baby items, toiletries, cleaning supplies and non-perishable foods. You can check out the 2017 Vigil KIT that includes everything you need to conduct a successful drive here. You can also join as a sponsor of this important event. Sponsorships include opportunities for Information Tables at the event, as well as company logo on all Vigil T-Shirts! A sponsorship brochure is available here.
Baldwin Downtown and Commercial Resiliency Study Open House
Nassau County, the New York State Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, and the Baldwin Downtown and Commercial Corridor Resiliency Study Project Team will be holding an Open House on Wednesday, April 5th at Baldwin High School, Cafeteria A, 841 Ethel T Kloberg Drive, Baldwin from 7PM-9PM.
The purpose of the Baldwin Downtown and Commercial Corridor Resiliency Study is to develop an implementable plan that ensures economic and physical resiliency within the Hamlet of Baldwin. The study will consist of goals that focus on green infrastructure improvements, as well as commercial and mixed-use development opportunities. Active participation and collaboration by municipal officials, local/regional agencies, community stakeholders, residents and the general public will be essential to reaching these goals.
Come learn about the recommendations for addressing storm resiliency and economic revitalization in Baldwin’s commercial corridors. As a member of the community, your input is essential!
For more information click here.
Building “Solar Ready”- How and Why?
The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, along with Sunpower by Empower, NY Building Technology Group and Vision Long Island will be hosting a free two-part workshop on how and why building Smarter looks better, costs less, and saves more.
April 28th 1:30pm to 4:30pm
Part of Vision Long Island’s mission is to promote smart growth in all areas, inclusive of all environmentally responsible building practices. While solar may not make sense for all Transit Oriented Developments today, electric rates and renewable policies change quickly and our energy future is unknown. It is extremely important to plan now and design current projects to accommodate energy projects later on.
Suffolk EDC Loan Fund to Support Retail Businesses in New Transit-Oriented Developments
The Suffolk County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) is pleased to introduce a First Generation Transit Oriented Development Retail Revolving Loan Fund (TOD Retail RLF) intended to provide small business loans for retailers seeking to locate their businesses in commercial spaces in designated transit oriented developments throughout Suffolk County.
The loans range from $20,000 up to $75,000, priced at a fixed rate of 3%, and are available to fund leasehold improvements, machinery and equipment, and working capital. The loans may be senior debt instruments or be subordinated to certain bank loans. The loans are awarded on a competitive basis, at the SCEDC discretion and are subject to applicant qualifications. The loans are subject to the TOD Retail RLF policies and procedures and subject to availability of funding.
For more information, call (631) 853-4800 or send email to SuffolkEDC@suffolkcountyny.gov
Suffolk County Releases Guidelines for Downtown Revitalization Grant
The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning has released the new set of guidelines for Round 15 of their Downtown Revitalization Grant Program. The grant will be made available for downtown and downtown-adjacent capital improvement projects.
You can review the guidelines in full as well as the scoring system here. A sample resolution and the full Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Panel for 2017 is also available at the link. Questions concerning applications and eligibility can be forwarded to Heidi Kowalchyk at 631-853-5925 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Applications must be received by 4:30 pm on Friday, May 26, 2017 by the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.
Technical Assistance Grants for Affordable Solar Projects Available
NY-Sun is now accepting applications for the Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance program. This new funding opportunity supports the development of solar projects for multifamily affordable housing and community solar projects serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, with up to $200,000 for each approved proposal.
Many LMI households are unable to access benefits from conventional residential solar installations. To help expand access to solar benefits for LMI households, NYSERDA is seeking proposals for projects leading to:
Projects related to on-site solar installations for owner-occupied houses are not eligible for funding through this solicitation. However, NY-Sun provides support to LMI homeowners through the Affordable Solar Program.
Applications may be submitted by local governments, affordable housing, community organizations and service providers working to make solar accessible to LMI communities in New York. NY-Sun will accept and review applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. Visit the program webpage for more details and the application.
If you have questions about the solicitation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
What's happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
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Port Jefferson Historical Society
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April is National Autism Awareness Month
April is National Autism Awareness Month, representing an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year.
One of the greatest concerns parents of children with autism have is, who will take care of their children when they no longer can? On Long Island, which has one of the nation’s largest clusters of children on the autism spectrum, there is growing concern of what happens when these children become adults. Not willing to leave that concern to others, a group of committed Long Islanders have joined together to form a new not for profit, 501(c)(3) organization, Long Island Autism Communities, Inc. (Its primary mission will be to develop supportive integrated communities for adults with autism.
Charles Massimo, founder of Long Island Autism Communities and a father of two boys on the autism spectrum, noted that he and his Board have identified an ideal location in Patchogue in close proximity to the village with easy access to transportation, a local hospital, healthcare providers, potential employers, supermarkets, banks, retailers, etc. and all of Patchogue’s thriving recreational and cultural offerings. It is exactly what the vision called for in giving the residents the best possible future into their adulthood.
Plans are to have the first community completed on or about 2018. The vision is for the first community to include residents with autism and some without a disability including a community director and caregivers. The homes would be designed with warm and inviting decors, while accommodating the special needs of individuals with autism such as sensitivity to certain outside stimuli such as excessive light or noise.
You can learn more about Long Island Autism Communities, and buy tickets for their upcoming event, An Intimate Evening with Jorma Kaukonen on April 8th here
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