April 30th - May 6th, 2017
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"We need infrastructure. We rank 26th in world in transportation infrastructure. We are in the precipice of technological innovation in energy. In the history of our country when we give the middle class a chance we never never never had let us down. Let's bring back the optimism for our country and our future" - Former Vice President Joe Biden addressing the Annual Conference of the Congress for the New Urbanism in Seattle
Vision Long Island is Proud to Announce the Honorees for the 2017 Long Island Smart Growth Awards!
Congratulations to this year's winners!
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1500 Downtown Supporters Attend Annual Congress in Seattle
Vision is out this week in Seattle at our national CNU conference with 1500 other folks from around the country who are redeveloping their downtowns.
The 25th annual Congress covered issues that apply to Long Island through sessions on walkability and street design, missing middle housing, parking techniques and transit oriented development. Sessions and tours covering the approach Seattle has underway as well as the future of the New Urbanist movement.
The opening night event was with Vice President Joe Biden addressing a joint meeting of CNU and ULI. The Vice President opened by saying the public is generally ahead of the political system. He challenged the notion that middle class white men are regressive in their views. Referencing that at rallies and public events supposedly racist white guys support equal pay for equal work and are against domestic violence. He said that 10-15% of the population is xenophobic, racist and that hasn't changed.
He addressed the political disconnect between elites and the working class public by saying "People don't expect government to solve their problems but they should understand their problems."
"The only group in country going down are white men between 45-54 - highest suicide rate, highest divorce rate, highest rate of opioids. We aren't reaching out to those folks."
"It is appropriate to question a man's judgement. What we shouldn't do is question a man's motives. We don't get to know each other anymore. We have devolved into this moshpit of attacking each other."
"Globalization has left a lot of people behind. We have to think bigger about how we maintain a democratic world order that includes everyone. What are the rules of the road? We need infrastructure. We rank 26th in world in transportation infrastructure. We are in the precipice of technological innovation in energy"
"In the history of our country when we give the middle class a chance we never never never had let us down. Let's bring back the optimism for our country and our future"
Great opening day and night. Stay tuned for updates on the sessions and tours.
Governor Cuomo Signs Shared Service Initiative Into Law on Long Island
Vision Long Island was out this week to view the Governor sign a bill into law charging Counties with the task of convening all levels of local government to find ways to share services, work on joint purchasing and find other ways to reduce cost.
The version in the final bill was heavily modified from earlier proposals to meet the needs and realities of the pressures facing local government. Under the altered plan:
1) The County would create and chair a shared services panel of every town, city, village, school district and BOCES in each County charged with developing a tax savings plan.
2) Once completed the plan would be submitted to the County Legislature for 3 public meetings and the issuance of an Advisory report.
3) The proposed plan would go back to the shared services panel for a vote. If approved the County would implement.
4) If the shared services panel fails to approve the plan the County will release a report explaining why. Then the plan gets redeveloped.
5) Each member of the panel can remove in writing a proposed action that effects the local government they represent.
6) If the Counties have an approved plan they can apply to the State for funds that match the cost savings in the plan. They would have to jointly apply and agree on the distribution of the funding.
7) There is no language in the bill that lays out any penalty for non-compliance.
Criticisms of the proposal say that local governments are already sharing services and are more efficient and lean in spending than larger levels of government. They say the 2% tax cap was put in place to guard against expansive growth of local spending. The other criticism is the drafting of this plan for each County functions as an unfunded mandate and the time and resources invested in shaping the plan take away from delivering basic services.
Some County legislators question the ability of cash strapped Counties struggling with their own budgets to manage this process.
Supporters claim that this proposal is a softening of early proposals to weaken or dissolve local governments and any money saved in the process is very positive.
Elected officials at the bill signing included representatives from Suffolk County, Town of Babylon, Town of Oyster Bay, Mayor of the soon to be dissolved Mastic Beach, and the former Mayor of the Village of Hempstead.
You can read more about the shared services initiative here.
Suffolk County Unveils 30 New Hybrid Buses
Suffolk County has unveiled 30 new hybrid buses as part of a $25.6 million plan to upgrade its existing fleet.
The buses are electric-diesel hybrids that are expected to reduce fuel costs by 10 to 15 percent. They will also have wheelchair access and fare boxes that will produce change in the form of a redeemable bus card, a first for Suffolk Transit. The buses cost approximately $650,000 each. Additionally, 40 smaller transit buses will be added by the end of June as part of the effort to replace half of the count’s 14-vehicle fixed-route fleet.
The new buses cost, on average, $50,000 more than more conventional diesel buses, but are equipped with vehicle locators and automatic passenger counters in order to better manage the bus system. The Federal Transit Administration will also help to cover $20.5 million in costs for the new buses and buses. NYS Department of Transportation and Suffolk County will each pay $2.56 million for the remainder.
The smaller buses will hit the road this summer on routes with lower ridership.
You can read more on this subject here.
100 Attend Long Island Clean Energy Task Force Meeting
The Clean Energy Leadership Task Force recently held a meeting at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College that was attended by almost 100 people.
The meeting opened with a keynote address by John B. Rhodes, President & CEO of NYSERDA, who spoke about the Governor’s initiatives on wind and solar energy.
The meeting then progress to a report on the Clean Energy Communities Program, which was presented by Sarah Oral of Cameron Engineering and Michael Voltz from PSEG Long Island. While presenting they announced that since the launch of the program, 13 Long Island communities have completed at least four high impact actions and are now “designed” CEC communities. 11 of these communities will receive grants for clean energy projects.
Next on the agenda was an Earth Day Panel that discussed Long Island’s Energy Outlook. This panel included Sammy Chu or Enerlogic LLC, Michael Voltz, Ryan Madden of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Adrienne Esposito from the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Gordian Raacke from Renewable Energy Long Island, and David Scheiren of SunPower by EmPower Solar. The panel talked about historic accomplishments in the growth of wind, solar, and efficiency in recent years, and identifies challenges and policies that could advance clean energy in the future.
Vision Long Island supports the Clean Energy Task Force and the efforts it makes to bring clean, sustainable energy to our region.
Vision Long Island Co-Hosts Designing "Solar Ready" Event
Vision joined the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, along with Sunpower by Empower, NY Building Technology Group to host a free two-part workshop on how and why building Smarter looks better, costs less, and saves more.
Designing “Solar Ready” from the beginning ensures the most energy production, the most savings, and an aesthetically pleasing solar PV system that blends in with the design of the building. Some municipalities on Long Island have even adopted codes that require a Solar Ready design to receive proper permits.
The sessions covered a presentation of renewable market trends from Neal Lewis, an update on LI's energy future from LIPA CEO Tom Falcone and technical work sessions on residential and commercial solar opportunities.
More work is needed to connect solar and renewables to current and planned mixed use development but this session was a start.
Hempstead IDA Revokes Green Acres Mall Tax Breaks
This past Thursday the Hempstead Town IDA voted to revoke a set of controversial tax breaks for the Green Acres Mall that took effect this past October.
The revocation of these tax breaks came after months of public outcry concerning the $6.5 million reduction in taxes the mall was to pay last year. The breaks were originally scheduled to reduce taxes by a similar amount until finally expiring in 2022. The loss of funds for the Town have been attributed to an increase in property taxes, which raised the ire of both elected officials and community members.
In the lead up to the vote the IDA received numerous comments from local community members and stakeholders to assess the impact of the breaks. The comments indicated that the community was not happy with the agreement, with the school district claiming that it had never received details in spite of being affected heavily by the loss in revenue.
The tax breaks were a controversial subject when enacted, causing an uproar that ultimately led to 6 of the 7 members of the IDA resigning. The board blamed pressure from public officials as reasoning for the resignations at the time. This came after Town Supervisor Anthony Santino had called for an official vote to remove the members who had voted for the breaks.
The new members of the board ultimately voted to remove the tax breaks, stating that the mall’s ownership did not deliver on the agreed upon amount of jobs.
You can read more on this story here.
East Farmingdale Route 110 Plan Released
A preliminary plan for the East Farmingdale Route 110 area has been released.
The plan was influenced and changed through a series of community input meetings and feedback. Through the process it became clear that five story buildings were not a way forward doe the community. Some of the outreach associated with this plan included reaching out to existing property owners and we know that some are clearly involved. More may need to be done to ensure that existing businesses are not adversely impacted. In spite of sentiments that this plan may not be attainable, at least one real project can emerge from this draft.
Vision Long Island is happy to see Tom Joseph and the East Farmingdale Civic involved to reflect community concerns and keep balance. Despite any challenges that exist in moving a plan of this scope forward the Town of Babylon's new planners and Victor Brandon Dover author of this draft are prepared to handle it.
You can read more on the newly released plan here.
APA Long Island to hold Annual Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarship Breakfast on May 19th
On May 19th, the APA Long Island Section will hold its annual Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarship Breakfast at Molloy College’s Suffolk Center at Republic Airport in Farmingdale (see www.molloy.edu/about-molloy/suffolk-center). A healthy breakfast buffet will be provided. This year’s program includes two panel discussions to provide additional depth and double the AICP CM credits! Both Vision Long Island's Director and Planning Director will be speaking on the panels at this year's event.
This year’s panels will focus on the revitalization of downtown Hicksville and the opportunity for smaller-scale multiple-family housing development on Long Island. Speakers will provide an update on the collaborative planning effort is underway by the Town of Oyster Bay and the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce. The LI Section is also happy to host a panel of distinguished professionals who will discuss the gaps and opportunities that exist for small scale multi-family housing options.
Panel #1 [1.25 CM Credits Requested]
Panel #2 [1.25 CM Requested]
Brett's Bicycle Recycle Safety Event to be Held on May 20th
Brett’s Bicycle Recycle Safety Event is an annual event with lots of bicycle safety giveaways and three awesome bicycles that will be raffled off to anyone attending! There will also be food, cupcakes, shirts and donated items that will be raffled off. Come check out DJ Adam Boyer while getting educated about bicycle riding safety and bicycle equipment safety!
NYMTC Regional Transportation Plan: Long Island Meetings to be Held May 23rd and 24th
NYMTC has announced an opportunity for the public to offer comments and attend various public review meetings for the draft of its new Regional Transportation Plan (Plan 2045), related Congestion Management Process (CMP) Status Report and the draft Transportation Conformity Determination for the Plan and the 2017 – 2021 Transportation Improvement Program.
Long Island events include a Suffolk Event on May 23rd at the Riverhead Legislative Auditorium at the Suffolk County Legislature, Evans K. Griffing Building, located at 300 Center Drive in Riverhead from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Also there will be a Nassau event on May 24th at the Nassau County Legislature Chamber located at 1550 Franklin Ave in Mineola from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
Governor Cuomo Launches Seventh Round of Regional Economic Development Council Competition
We wanted to share the announcement from the Governor’s office regarding the seventh round of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs). Some important details to note:
The application process will start on Monday, May 1. As with prior REDC funding rounds, the application process is through the NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). Information related to the CFA can be found here. All 10 economic regionscan compete for designation as a “Top Performer,” there will be five winners that will receive awards of up to $20 million in grant funds, while the remaining five regions,identified as "Regional Awardees", will receive up to $10 million in grant funds.
The application deadline is Friday, July 28 at 4:00 p.m.This years priorities include:Identify projects for the State Life Sciences Cluster; Support Downtown revitalization plans; Identify workforce development strategies and shrink the skills gap; Implementing strategies through the project pipeline; andMeasuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.
NYS Climate Smart Communities Grant Program Funding Available
Funding will be available for inventory, assessment, planning and implementation projects that advance the work of municipalities in addressing climate change. Priorities for the 2017 round include specific adaptation actions that reduce flood risk and increase preparedness for future extreme weather conditions, specific mitigation activities related to transportation and reduction of food waste, and specific Climate Smart Communities certification actions that advance municipal ability in the future to implement adaptation and mitigation projects in the identified implementation categories.
A municipal resolution from the lead applicant authorizing application submission and documenting the availability of local match in the event of grant award must be submitted at the time of application.
For general information and questions on the Climate Smart Communities Program, please contact the Office of Climate Change, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Climate Change, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, 518-402-8448, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full-Time Case Manager Wanted in Amityville
The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH) is seeking applicants for a Full-Time Case Manager (CES) for their main office in Amityville.
This position requires an ability to understand policies and regulations; work with clients and the LICH Coordinated Entry Team to gather required documentation; manage record keeping and reporting duties; utilize Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Bilingual (English/Spanish) strongly preferred. A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in a Social Work or a related human services field plus two years’ experience or a minimum of five years’ related experience in human services arena is required.
Local travel will be also required for this position. Benefits after probationary period will be available. These include paid time off (vacation, holiday, sick, personal), medical insurance for the employee (premium paid by LICH), and Simple IRA plan (with employer match). LICH must conduct criminal background checks on candidates prior to offering employment for this position.
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.
PSEG Long Island Celebrates Small Business Week with Big Savings
PSEG Long Island is celebrating National Small Business Week by reminding local companies that the utility is here to help. Through our energy efficiency programs and rebates, PSEG Long Island is proud to support the economy on Long Island and the Rockaways.
“Providing our customers with opportunities to be more energy efficient is extremely important to PSEG Long Island, and small businesses are no exception,” said John Keating, Manager of Business Customer Programs and Marketing. “We take pride in supporting the economy across our service territory and hope that these programs will help grow the local economy.”
These energy efficiency programs provide small businesses with energy consultations that will provide details on how the utility can help them save energy and money. A consultation consists of a walkthrough of an existing facility where all existing data is collected on power equipment. Energy experts will recommend suggestions based on existing equipment and any potential energy efficiency upgrades.
For more information on PSEG Long Island’s available commercial rebates and incentives, as well as energy saving tips, please visit https://www.psegliny.com/savemoney.
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