May 7th - May 13th, 2017
Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP strives to provide clients with excellent, responsive legal counsel. They deliver that service in a manner free of excessive legal actions and its related expense. The law firm works hard to fully protect their clients’ interests without incurring unwarranted costs. To accomplish this goal, their attorneys take a disciplined approach to each matter, carefully measuring client costs against associated risks and rewards.
"There has been no change in AIM (Aid to Municipalities) funding for many years which is an area where we need increased support. You should never take away power from local governments. When you try you end up in political battles that go on for a long time. There is more the state can do to enhance efficiencies and some shared services than talk about consolidation." - NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli
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Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers Meets in Riverhead
The Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers Co-chairs Bob Fonti and Gina Coletti met at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts & Hospitality Center last week for their 2nd quarterly meeting with over a hundred chambers of commerce, elected officials, municipal employees and businesses in attendance. Elected officials in attendance included Suffolk County Legislators Bridget Fleming and Leslie Kennedy and Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy, with Chief Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman in attendance as well. Those participating learned of current and upcoming initiatives by the county to support business, programs available to strengthen chambers and their communities, as well as best-practices demonstrated and events being held in dozens of towns and villages.
Legislator Fleming discussed Suffolk County’s new grant and loan program that is being made available to residents in order to assist them in conversion to newly approved alternative septic systems, as well as the creation of a Public Transit Working Group in order to help find a balance between finances, service, and finding ways to work with the expansion of roadways and working towards implementing bike sharing. Legislator Fleming also discussed 80 units of workforce housing moving forward on the East End of Long Island, 40,000 square feet of industrial space at Gabreski Airport, the start of a state-of-the-art Health and Wellness Center at SCCC with an Olympic-sized swimming pool opening to the community, and the rebuilding of the Sag Harbor cinema which burned down recently, and is critical to the local economy. The Legislator also spoke of the reconstruction of the Riverside traffic circle that will help the revitalization of the Riverhead local economy. “There’s great support county-wide for these projects that are going to have a tremendous impact on the vitality of tourism and downtowns in Suffolk County,” said Legislator Fleming.
Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers Co-chair Gina Coletti announced the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Grant’s 15th annual round of funding, which assists downtowns with $600,000 of partial funding of capital projects located in or adjacent to downtown areas on municipally-owned property. The application deadline for this grant program is May 26th. NYIT’s Workforce Development Series was introduced, along with the upcoming Suffolk County Marathon, and information about New York’s proposed Constitutional Convention, which will go to voters in November.
Chief Deputy County Executive Kaiman acknowledged the high rate of property taxes in Suffolk, and the newly signed state bill that aims to have local governments and school districts share services to reduce cost to the taxpayer and create efficiencies. Kristen Jarnagin discussed the rebranding of Discover Long Island, which is aiming to transition the perception of Long Island as a seasonal destination to year-long for both visitors as well as Long Island’s 3 million residents. Last year, Long Island’s $5.5 billion tourism industry generated $700 million in tax revenue and employed over 100,000 people.
A few companies in attendance highlighted some of the programs they had to help local businesses such as Constant Contact’s email marketing programs and their impact, with discounts available for SCAC members. Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers Co-chair Bob Fonti announced the launch of the new SC Chambers mobile app which will allow the members access to connect with one another and help provide an edge in marketing and exposure in today’s global economy. Bob introduced the app’s creator, Hilary Mathwasa of PD House. Hilary provided a live presentation to the SCAC members on how to download and use the mobile app. Sponsors Bridgehampton National Bank explained their equipment finance programs, with National Grid discussing available programs for businesses as well.
County Comptroller John Kennedy discussed the assessment of the hotel/motel tax, saying that “the good news is now, ladies and gentleman, that we have grown the hotel/motel tax $900,000,” saying further that there is a 3% uptick in volume, and 6% increase in compliance of the tax. Legislator Leslie Kennedy thanked those in attendance, saying “I realize that you folks represent and are our economic engine in Suffolk County.”
The Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers, Long Island Business Council, and Vision Long Island jointly hosted the meeting, which was sponsored by Bridgehampton National Bank and National Grid. You can learn more about the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers by visiting their website, or by calling 631-223-8525.
Comptroller DiNapoli Addresses Financial Conditions of Long Island Municipalities
Vision was out earlier in the week to hear NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli address his fiscal stress monitoring system for local governments and the prospect of infrastructure funding and support LI municipalities at the LI Regional Planning Council's meeting. The Comptroller identified $40 billion in existing water and wastewater infrastructure needs. He also highlighted the 82 existing projects funded under the NYS clean water revolving loan fund.
"We need to see greater funding partnerships for our local governments from state and federal governments," said Comptroller DiNapoli. "The good news is that this year's state budget will provide $2.5 billion for water infrastructure funding. If the President is serious about expanded infrastructure funding that could also help address some of our needs."
As for funding prospects for local government operations, he state that "There has been no change in AIM (Aid to Municipalities) funding for many years which is an area where we need increased support. The Counties have benefited by the recent Medicaid funding formulas. Local governments have not benefited from the increased support for schools."
In response to a question regarding why school districts were not included in the Governor's consolidation proposal, DiNapoli stated that he didn't think people would want to see outright elimination of school districts or local municipalities. He noted that they likely wouldn't save as much money as one would think and that local municipalities deserve more credit for saving money.
The Counties leading consolidation plans was also questioned. The Comptroller mentioned that Nassau County has to figure out its own issues before it gets involved in local governance. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine referenced that Suffolk County borrows every week to meet its own payroll.
The Comptroller closed by saying "You should never take away power from local governments. When you try you end up in political battles that go on for a long time. There is more the state can do to enhance efficiencies and some shared services than talk about consolidation."
The Council provided updates on initiatives on tax alternatives and nitrogen planning. Kudos to John Cameron and the LI Regional Planning Council for pulling together a productive meeting.
$87 Million in Water Quality Improvement Projects Announced
Governor Cuomo recently announced $87 million in grants, administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, to municipalities and not-for-profit corporations for water quality improvement projects.
The program provides grants for projects that improve water quality, protect drinking water sources, reduce polluted runoff, and restore habitats in New York’s waterbodies, and are and made available through the Regional Economic Development Council. "New York is leading with critical investments in water infrastructure that protect long-term health, sustainability, and economic viability of communities across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "These grants will help ensure our communities have the resources necessary to protect our precious natural assets and help build a stronger, healthier and more prosperous Empire State for all."
Municipalities, soil and water conservation districts, and not-for-profit corporations are eligible to apply for the water quality improvement grants. Recipients can be reimbursed 40 to 85 percent of the project costs, depending on the type of project. Projects that are eligible include municipal wastewater treatment, drinking water protection through land acquisition, salt storage, polluted runoff abatement and control from non-farm sources, aquatic habitat restoration and municipal separate storm sewer systems.
Primarily funded by the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 and Environmental Protection Fund, the grants will be awarded for a variety of projects, including up to $60 million in funding for municipal wastewater treatment facilities, approximately $15 million in funding to protect sources of drinking water through land acquisition projects, approximately $1 million for projects to reduce nitrogen in Long Island waters, up to $5 million in funding for projects to relocate a salt storage pile away from drinking water and/or construct structures to cover a salt storage pile, and approximately $6.45 million for projects to control polluted runoff from non-farm sources.
The deadline to apply for the grant opportunities is July 28th. Pre-application workshops will be held statewide, with 2 on Long Island on May 16th at Hofsta University, and June 9th at Stony Brook University. The workshop schedule and additional information is available on the REDC website, where you can RSVP. All those who would like to have the application process explained or have process-related questions answered are encouraged to attend. More information about project eligibility and how to apply is available on DEC’s website. Eligible applicants can apply for WQIP funding through the Consolidated Funding Application here
Huntington Town Board Approves Housing Code
This past week the Town of Huntington voted unanimously to approve changes to the Affordable Housing Code. Changes to the Housing Code will include an increase in the number of low-cost new rentals and provide assistance for younger, first-time home buyers in the area.
“This was a long time coming for us to make some substantial changes for affordable housing for millennials,” said town board member Tracey Edwards, who sponsored the affordable housing resolution. “I’m very, very proud and excited that we’ve made this step and that we had the full support of the board.”
Other updates include a resolution adding language mandated by the Long Island Workforce Housing Act that will help to govern the number of residential units or mixed use development, the number of affordable units, a requirement that affordable units meet the same standards in furnishing and amenities as fair market units, and an option to contribute to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund by developers who do not wish to build affordable units.
Vision testified in support of the bill at two Town Board meetings and recognized that less than 500 TOD and downtown housing units have been approved in Huntington over the last ten years and less than 10% are affordable. Clearly increasing the numbers of affordable units is a top priority and this legislation moves the Town in that direction.
As part of the process Vision reached out to a number of developers that produce downtown and mixed use housing and the consensus in overcoming the barriers to affordable housing was to speed up the planning process, in certain cases provide State of Federal subsidy and limit expanded regulations. Town Board member Tracie Edwards committed to working with the Town’s Planning Department to shorten long timelines. In the recent NYS budget $2.5 billion was secured statewide for affordable housing subsidies where a certain percentage will come to Long Island.
It wasn’t all good news. In separate legislation, the Town Board also approved in a 5-0 vote burdensome regulations to the parking code. The parking updates will require developers to designate one spot for each unit either on site or within 1,500 feet as well as disallowing municipal lots to count as residential parking for apartments over stores. Unfortunately, this separation of residential and commercial parking will only serve to create blocks of inaccessible parking instead of providing for shared parking that would better serve an active downtown where people come for both work and entertainment. Vision opposed this legislation.
Northport Village Officials Work with Local Business Owners to Allow Rooftop Dining
Northport Village officials met this past Tuesday with local business owners to discuss the possibility of adding rooftop dining to the top of local establishment Skipper’s Pub.
Paul and Marie Gallowitsches, the married couple who owns the Pub, have been attempting for two years to gain permission to open a rooftop dining area. The Village Board has been mostly resistant, holding several meetings in the past with the purpose of banning rooftop dining that ended in uncertainty after community pushback. Due to this, the Village is now exploring the possibility of allowing rooftop dining in some sort of fashion that is agreeable to all parties involved.
“Out of courtesy to them [the Gallowitsches] and anyone else who wants to do rooftop dining,” said Village Mayor George Doll, “we’re trying to develop something that we can all live with.” Mayor Doll was careful to note that the talks are not a guarantee of rooftop dining, simply a step in the discussion of possibility.
The owners of Skippers have said that rooftop dining is necessary for them to expand in order to serve more people. The infusion of business would help to insulate them from slow winter months, allowing them to stay open when business drops.
Supporters point to rooftop dining success in other Long Island Villages as proof that such establishments are good for local businesses. Vision’s Planning Director Elissa Kyle participated in the workshop and cited the success in other downtowns.
The focus of this meeting was centered around how many seats the addition would add and what could be done to prevent new parking challenges. There was also talk on what kind of requirements would need to be codified in order to prevent noise and ensure safety. Officials said they are researching similar code amendments in Patchogue and Port Jefferson that were adopted a few years ago to allow rooftop dining.
You can read more on this subject here.
Babylon Town IDA Approves New Affordable Housing Tax Policy
The Town of Babylon IDA has adopted a new tax code that will boost the construction of low-cost rental units through developer incentives. The policy, which is a first of its kind on Long Island, was approved unanimously by the 7 member board, and is aimed at alleviating a shortage of affordable rentals in the area.
Under the new guidelines, developers who are seeking tax cuts on housing with five or more apartments will need to designate 20% of the units as affordable for as long as they receive those cuts. The monthly rent for the affordable units cannot exceed 70% of fair market value as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In order to qualify, households cannot make more than 60% of median income in the area. In return for the reduction in rental costs, the developers will receive tax breaks greater than those normally provided by the agency, which will run through the next 20 to 30 years. Once those expire the owner will be free to raise the rents to fair market value.
While an IDA doesn’t normally subsidize housing, it began to craft a policy proposal after local businesses complained that they couldn’t find affordable housing necessary for a local workforce. An alternate plan was considered to rezone for more density in projects in Copiague and East Farmingdale, and may still be on the table.
Hempstead Approves Master Development Agreement for Downtown Baldwin
This past week the Hempstead Town Board voted 6 to 0, with one abstention, to award a contract for redevelopment of downtown Baldwin to master developers Basser-Kaufman and the Engel Burman Group.
The revitalization of the hamlet has been ongoing for the past 15 years with multiple developers either assessing and then walking away or proposing development that does not line up with smart growth policies. Now that approval has been given to a master developer, the group must pay $4 million in immediate startup costs while the town must complete property appraisals in the next 90 days. The developer will look to acquire through private sales. The developers will also be seeking tax breaks through the town’s Industrial Development Agency.
The local Baldwin Civic Association have and Chamber of Commerce expressed excitement about the development, citing a need to move forward on redevelopment in the downtown. Vision is working with Nassau County on the Grand Avenue corridor study and their plans for traffic improvements and the participation from the local community has been overwhelmingly positive.
You can read more on this story here.
Stamp Out Hunger Holds 5th Annual Food Drive on Saturday, May 13th
The 25th annual national Letter Carriers’ #StampOutHunger Food Drive is in four days—this Saturday, May 13.
On that day, all you have to do is leave a bag or bags of non-perishable food by your mailbox before your letter carrier’s normal pickup time.
Your letter carrier will deliver the food to a local food pantry in your community.
Get more details: http://www.stampouthungerfooddrive.us
Coltrane Home to Hold Special Screening at Cinema Arts on May 17th
On Wednesday, May 17th at 7:30 pm, the Coltrane Home will be hosting a special screening and event for the new movie Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story, narrated by Denzel Washington.
The event will include a special presentation on the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, with partial proceeds going to benefit the Coltrane Home. Tickets are $25 for Cinema Arts members and $35 for general public, and can be purchased here: www.cinemaartscentre.org
The event will also include a Q&A with renowned director John Scheinfeld and a reception with live music, short presentation about The Coltrane Home. There will also be a Special Guest Speaker: Reggie Workman, bassist and Coltrane expert.
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.
Vision Long Island Co-Leads Walking Tour of Long Island Downtowns
Vision was out this weekend co-leading a bus tour titled "Cultivating Opportunities for Sustainable Suburban Development.” for the APA national conference. Some of the 50 participants on the tour were planners from as far as Kuwait and Australia and Montreal, Toronto, Iowa, Utah, Illinois, Virginia, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The tour started at Mineola's TOD redevelopment let by Mayor Scott Strauss and ended at Valley Stream's revitalization efforts led by Mayor Ed Fare. We also checked out communities with plans and projects underway in Hempstead and Baldwin.
Thank you to Nassau County Planning's Sean Sallie and APA's Max Sokol for coordinating the tour.
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