May 21st - May 27th, 2017
Albanese & Albanese LLP
“D&F Development Group wishes to thank Vision Long Island for their invaluable assistance and support throughout the development process of Brooke Pointe, a new 39 unit residence in Valley Stream. This project is a further demonstration that beautifully designed transit oriented housing can be affordable and provide the kind of homes that we can all be proud of.” -Peter Florey, D&F Deveopment
“For 15 years, this was a vacant, blighted, terrible property. 15 years of neighbors having to look at broken windows, multiple fires, vermin; it was absolutely horrendous.” -Hon. Edwin Fare, Village of Valley Stream Mayor
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Over 350 Turn Out Thursday Night for Meeting on Downtown Hicksville Revitalization
Another meeting in Hicksville was held Thursday night regarding the ongoing downtown revitalization process. There was not as many people out as last time as lots of questions were answered at the November meeting but over 350 attended despite the bad weather. Ongoing questions included parking, traffic, school district issues and the tax positive nature of the proposed zoning.
Continued opposition to the proposed development outside the revitalization area at the Sears property is definitely unwelcomed distraction on the progress thus far as well as the two proposed parking garages to accommodate the third track plan. These garages were planned without community input and to most, this was the first they had heard of them. Outside of those issues, many spoke in support of the revitalization effort and questioned though whether there would be action in their lifetime. Hicksville has been planned and replanned over the last 50 years. It was clear that residents want to move pass the planning stage and into more substantive improvements.
Immediate action steps include moving forward with the SEQRA process on the zoning with the Town, hearing from NYS about their ideas for two parking garages, working on quality of life, maintenance and code enforcement issues and doing a tour of downtown Farmingdake to see a local community that has successfully undergone revitalization with similar planning.
The good news is that we received tons of input and the Hicksville community saw more government resources focused on their community than in recent memory.
Elected officials in attendnace included NYS Assemblyman Michael Montessano, Nassau County Legislator Rose Walker, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilperson's Rebecca Alesia, Anthony Macagnone, Michelle Johnson, Lou Imbroto & Thomas Hand. Government officials included Hector Garcia from the MTA, Sean Sallie from Nassau County Planning, James McCaffrey, Town of Oyster Bay Economic Development, Leslie Macarrone, Town of Oyster Bay Planning, Ralph Healey, Town Attorney's office and many others.
Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Committee members were out including Hicksville School Board President Phil Heckler, Duffy Park Civic's Paul Molinari, Northwest Civic's Joel Berse Hicksville Garden's Civic's Susan Petrosillo, Irene Guarasci, Midland Civic's Linda Ruggiero and others.
Thank you to Lionel Chitty from the Hicksville Chamber for co-hosting the meeting with Vision and the Town of Oyster Bay. Kudos to Councilperson's Rebecca Alesia and Anthony D. Macagnone for their leadership in moving the zoning process forward.
Ribbon Cutting for Affordable Transit-Oriented Development in Valley Stream
Vision was happy to be out to support and speak at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Brooke Point Apartments adjacent to the Gibson train station in the Village of Valley Stream this week. This 39 unit Smart Growth Award winning project features one and two bedroom units with a community room, rooftop lounge fitness center, and other amenities, and is situated on what was a vacant commercial site. A total of 20 one-bedroom and 19 two-bedroom apartments occupy the second and third stories sit above ground-floor parking. Support services are provided to residents through the Long Island Center for Independent Living.
The $15 million project took two years to with the affordable apartments’ monthly rents ranging from $930 to $1,980, with rates based on a sliding scale for residents who make $45,000 to $85,000 a year. A lottery was held for the apartments this past fall. Due to the extreme need for affordable rental units, the apartments are now 100% occupied, and there is an extensive waiting list for openings. According to the developers, most residents came from within a five-mile radius of the building and are under the age of 40 which is exactly the demographic public officials are hoping to retain in their communities. Valley Stream's Mayor Ed Fare says this project is a win-win because it replaces a block of storefronts that had been abandoned for more than a decade. “For 15 years, this was a vacant, blighted, terrible property. 15 years of neighbors having to look at broken windows, multiple fires, vermin; it was absolutely horrendous,” Mayor Fare said.
Kudos to Mayor Ed Fare and his team for their hands on approval of the project, and to developer (and Vision Board member) Peter Florey for building an exemplary project at truly affordable rents. Glad to see the investment from New York State, Nassau County and Bank of America as well. Architect BHC and the work of Kevin Ryan and the Valley Stream Chamber were also critical.
You can see coverage of the ribbon cutting here.
Suffolk Leg. Approves Traffic Study on Road with Schools and Homes
The Suffolk County Legislature recently amended the 2017 Capital Budget to include a traffic study of Rocky Point Yaphank Road (County Road 21), which has an elementary school, middle school, and high school all in the study’s corridor. The vote was 12 for the proposal, with 4 against, one not present, and one abstaining.
The Resolution, sponsored by Suffolk Legislator Sarah Anker, aims to have a study conducted for this north-south corridor, which connects directly to Route 25A. This particular section of roadway has experienced a significant number of accidents where cars run off the road into the woods or on to school property. A condo/co-op association is also situated directly across from the schools.
Vision submitted written testimony supporting the approval of the study. “We have toured the intersection and have spoken to some of the community leaders in the area. In our experience the key issue is the design speed of the roadway which well surpasses standard measures of a safe walkable corridor, “ said Vision Director Eric Alexander. He continued, “We recognize that Suffolk County is now creating sidewalks in select locations and even narrowing select roadways towards the goal of advancing their approved Complete Streets policy. These are steps in the right direction but more resources need to be put into the physical improvements of many dangerous Suffolk County roadways.”
Fire Destroys Gunther’s in Northport, 2 Other Businesses and Apartments
The famed Gunther’s Tap Room in downtown Northport Village, once frequented by famous writer Jack Kerouac, was gutted by a fire this week. The neighboring Clipper Ship Tea Company and 7T8 European Fusion restaurant, as well as apartments above the businesses were also damaged.
Village officials said Tuesday that they will help co-owners Brad Vassallo and Eddie McGrath to make sure they get the permits they need for the extensive work ahead. The building will have to be brought up to current code, as over 50 percent of the building was damaged by the fire and burst pipe due to the fire, which damaged Clipper Ship Tea Company and 7T8 Fusion.
Gunther's has been a staple in the Northport community for approximately 55 years. Gunther's is most well known as the local watering hole of choice for famous resident Kerouac, "King of the Beatniks," who frequented the bar in the mid-60s.
Clipper Ship Tea Company's owner said on a donation page that the business may never be able to re-open in the same location. The donation page, "Clipper Ship Tea Destroyed by Fire," is seeking funds to help the business get back on its feet. A GoFundMe page for one of the residents displaced by the fire can be found here.
Darin Parker, the owner of Main Street Café in Northport, is leading an effort that raised $8,700 overnight for the now homeless residents. Main Street Café will continue to collect donations for those residents through the weekend.
You can read more about the fire in Northport Village here
Governor Cuomo Announces Plan to Combat Long-Term Crisis at Penn Station, Schumer and Gillibrand Weigh In
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an aggressive three-part action plan to address New York’s transportation challenges starting with the near-term crisis at Penn Station and the ripple effect it will have on the entire transit system at CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan this week.
"The intolerable state of disrepair in Penn Station and its ripple effect of delays and dysfunction throughout the subway system have reached a breaking point, and we must enact this comprehensive action plan now to find both short and long term solutions to these growing challenges, upgrade outdated infrastructure and meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "This multi-pronged effort will address the chronic failures of the system and make critical, long overdue upgrades to ensure our system is of the highest caliber. After decades of neglect, it's time to seize the opportunity to make real changes to our transportation system."
In 1971, Amtrak assumed control from Penn Central. LIRR and NJ Transit lease space for about $150 million a year. Each workday, more than 600,000 people travel through Penn Station, which is owned by Amtrak and the federal government – more than triple the facility’s designed capacity, and twice as many passengers as JFK, LaGuardia and Newark International Airports service daily, combined. Amtrak is proposing emergency improvements and repairs that would reduce the number of trains at Penn Station by about 20 percent during peak travel times and as a result, will have commuters searching for alternative methods of transportation that will crush an already overburdened subway system and clog roads and bridges. Cuomo is not optimistic as far as the six week timetable for repairs goes, saying “even if Amtrak could get this done in 6 weeks, if you reduce trains coming into Penn by 20%, it will be a summer of hell for commuters.”
The Governor has set up a Penn Station Task Force, composed of transportation experts and stakeholders, to focus on alternative transportation solutions to deal with the effects of the Amtrak service cuts. Some of the temporary solutions for the emergency repair project include increased Park & Ride operations, modifying HOV lanes (increasing the number of people to quality for HOV usage), free coach buses for commuters into Manhattan to get a feel for public transportation and to relieve congestion, and the usage of high-speed ferries.
The Task Force will also assess the viability of any proposed long-term management solution for Penn Station, in order to enact a long-term strategic solution to the systemic issues plaguing Penn Station’s physical plant and transit operations. Cuomo is asking the task force to consider three options:
1. New York State takes over Penn Station: The State will use design-build in combination with a public-private partnership to perform the emergency repairs and operate Penn Station in the long-term. As part of this effort, the State will combine Penn with the Farley Train Hall, the new LIRR concourse, along with the Gateway Tunnel to create one reimagined, unified transit hub.
3. Amtrak Uses Private Contractor: Most Amtrak terminals in the country are not currently operated by Amtrak, but rather by qualified operators. This model could be adopted at Penn Station.
Governor Cuomo had sent a letter to President Trump this week outlining the first two options, and discussed the third option at the press conference. “The President has talked about a trillion dollar infrastructure program,” said Cuomo. “What better single project could you have than this project? It would be an international transit hub, it would be the most used transit hub in the United States, it would be transformative for this state and for the Northeast region. We could get it done for him, and we could get it done in real time.” The Governor said that he had spoken to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Assembly Speaker Carl Hestie, and Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, with the three supportive of the need for action.
The Governor also spoke of the need to refurbish subway cars, some that are over 40 years old, rather than purchase new ones in some cases, as new cars take three years to be produced and delivered. The subway system has experienced an increase in delays, jumping to 64,500 delays a month. Outside of antiquated subway cars, capacity restrictions due to smaller cars, the utilization of the fixed-block signal system, much of it installed prior to 1937, means that trains need to have about 400 feet between them, rather than being able to be 10 feet away from each other with a new system. Connectivity of Wi-Fi and cell phone signals in the subways tunnels was also presented as a need.
In order to bring fresh ideas and best practices to the table, the Governor launched the MTA Genius Transit Challenge- an international competition seeking groundbreaking and innovative solutions to increase the capacity and improve the reliability of New York City’s subway service. This competition looks to harness the innovative capacity of outside experts who can team together to combine new perspectives, skills and technical understanding to develop immediate solutions. Competitors will be given comprehensive briefings on the transit system and will be challenged to find solutions that can be implemented with speed and efficiency. The competition will be judged by a panel of technology and transportation experts, and the state will provide a $1 million “Genius” award for the best ideas in all three categories and the MTA will likely contract for those systems.
Late this week, U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand slammed the President's proposed budget cuts to critical transportation programs that help fund regional mass transit systems throughout New York. The Senators especially pointed to the Administration’s proposed cuts to Amtrak as an example of “doubling down on dilapidation” at exactly the moment when more is urgently needed to repair and modernize our aging transit infrastructure. Specifically, the President's proposed budget slashes $760 million in federal funds for Amtrak, virtually eliminates the New Starts program—which helps fund the new Gateway Tunnel Program—and cuts the Highway Trust Fund, which is the primary source of funding for States and the MTA to receive federal dollars for repairs, by $96 billion. New York State receives over $1.6 billion annually from the Highway Trust Fund and hundreds of highway projects are currently underway with the help of this money. Specifically, the Senators noted that the Highway Trust Fund is a major source of funding for the MTA’s capital plan and the proposed cuts by President Trump could cause a number of critical repair projects to be delayed or even cancelled. “New York City is a major transportation hub that services hundreds of thousands of commuters through Penn Station, Amtrak, LIRR and regional mass transit,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The President’s budget cuts would only further delay long overdue repairs to make our transit systems more safe and reliable. I will do everything I can to fight these harmful cuts and protect the funding that helps support our transit systems.”
NYMTC Public Hearings on the Region's Transportation Plan
Vision was out at the second of two New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s (NYMTC) public meetings in Mineola weighing in on the Regional Plan for Transportation for Long Island.
Vision and others spoke to varying elements of the plan including population forecasts, transit-oriented development, downtown development trends, needed walkability improvements on State and County roadways. Testimonies also brought up the concerns of the state of the local bus system, lack of coordination among larger governments and authorities, and lack of inclusion of local municipalities in regional planning.
The plan was produced based on public workshops held last year and is a regional plan with real merit as it is tied to State and Federal Funding, and has all of the transportation agencies and all of the areas Counties at the table.
Special thanks to NYMTC's Gerry Bogacz and his team for keeping the spotlight on the varying agencies investing in transportation projects.
For more information and for downloadable reports you can check out nymtc.org. The comment period on the Regional Transportation Plan ends May 30th.
PinkTie.org Holds Annual Charitable Event in Westbury
PinkTie.org was founded by Mike Cave in 2012 fulfilling a personal commitment to making a difference after his beloved Aunt succumbed to Breast Cancer. As the fastest growing charitable networking organization on Long Island, PinkTie.org’s Business Professionals Networking For a Cause share a methodology to grow personally and professionally through giving back. Building a strong presence and foundation in the community in which they thrive professionally, the Caves have engaged others who share their vision and found a way to positively influence a vast network of like-minded individuals.
The organization continues to grow exponentially and engages members of the local business community, corporations, hospitals, athletes, celebrities, and local charities – a true representation of those looking to make a difference where they live, work and play. Tons of celebrities joined the event from sports figures like Cecil Fielder, Jim Leyritz, John Starks and Wesley Walker; journalist Rita Cosby; and Scott Stabb of Creed performing, with many others attending.
Great job to the 1st Equity Title team, Rich Cave, Mike Cave, Ray Thomas, (and Vision Board member) Maribeth Pietropaoli for their leadership in pulling this immense event together.
You can learn more about the charitable organization here.
Vision Supports APA Scholarship Breakfast and Panels
Deepwater Wind Awarded Environmental Equinox Award
In 2005, CCE began hosting an annual Environmental Equinox Gala to honor leaders on environmental issues and celebrate a year's worth of victories and accomplishments. The equinox is the time of year when the sun crosses the equator and the length of the day equals the length of the night on all parts of the earth. The equinox is a symbol of achieving environmental and societal harmony, which is why CCE chooses this date each year to bring together stakeholders, elected officials, scientists, members of the public, advocates, and businesses devoted to this principle. The annual event celebrated 32 years of CCE’s grassroots accomplishments, with this year’s award going to Deepwater Wind.
Deepwater Wind has successfully built our nation's first offshore wind farm, off the coast of Rhode Island. This wind farm generates 30 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. In 2017, after a decade of hard work and resilience, Deepwater Wind was awarded the contract to build America's second wind farm—right off the coast of Long Island. Ninety megawatts of clean, home-grown energy will power the South Fork of our Long Island. This project is critical to achieving NYS's goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. Deepwater Wind will also be awarded alongside LIPA at Vision Long Island’s 2017 Smart Growth Awards in the Clean Energy category.
You can learn more about Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment here, and more about Deepwater Wind here.
Bridges and Interstates are Doing Better, Local Roads Are Not
You can read more about the progress being made on bridges, and shortcomings on local roads in the Wall Street Journal
Taste of Patchogue Charity Event Rescheduled for June 1st
The annual “Taste of Patchogue” event has been rescheduled, and will be held on Thursday, June 1st from 4:30-7:30 PM at New Village to Benefit the Patchogue Neighbor's Inn.
Enjoy a night out to support a great cause. Relish in the tastes from a variety of local restaurants serving up savory eats and live music filling the air all night! Blue Point Brewery wil be on hand to pour us some delicious brews. Crisis Crayons will be performing live throughout the event. Fishbat will be live streaming that day with Raffle Prizes.
Tickets are $10.00 each for food or $20.00 each for food and Blue Point Brewery (3 drink tickets). Tickets can be purchased at New Village office or on the day of the event, at the door. All proceeds go towards the Patchogue Neighbors Inn, a local soup kitchen.
You can purchase tickets here.
St. James Farmers’ Market Opening Day June 3rd
Join LI Greenmarket and the Community Association for Greater St. James for the start of a wonderful summer season and new Farmers’ Market on the North Shore of Long Island.
The St. James Lutheran Church will host a beautiful outdoor Farmers' Market. Our Opening Day will kick off with Long Island Food Vendors, kids’ crafts, and a welcoming ceremony! EBT/SNAP and WIC benefits accepted for the purchase of Fruits, vegetables, and other farm-fresh and healthy foods.
Vendors include Sujecki Farms, Finks Family Farms, St. James Brewery, Ruby Star Poultry Farm, With a Glass of Milk, Hormanns Best Pickles, Gianni’s Chicken Burgers, Knots of this World, and many more.
Opening day for the St. James Farmers’ Market will be on Saturday, June 3rd from 9am to 1PM located at 230 2nd Avenue, St. James. For more details, please call LI Greenmarket at (516) 543-6033.
Summer of Love at the Arts of Terry Festival in Patchogue June 4th
The Arts of Terry Festival is a full day of art exhibits, demonstrations, live music, and family friendly participatory activities inspired by the Summer of Love. A temporary mural will be painted on the exterior of the Patchogue-Medford Library that will remain in place through the end of the summer. Other library-organized, family-friendly activities including chalk art and tie dyeing during the Arts on Terry street fair. The library will also exhibit the photographs of Rowland Scherman, specifically those of political significance in the 1960's, including the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy and the civil rights marches led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Artspace Patchogue will be organizing performances and a special exhibition in their Artspace gallery, where resident artists will be exhibiting their work within the festival grounds.
This year’s Festival will be held on Sunday, June 4th from 12pm – 6pm. The festival route will be along Terry Street and Roe Walkway, and is open and free to the public.
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.
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.
In honor of Memorial Day, Vision Long Island would like to say thank you to all those who have given their lives for our freedom...
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