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July 28th - August 3rd, 2018

Regional Updates

D&F Development Group

The D & F Development Group, LLC (The D&F Group) provides the highest quality combination of experience and knowledge to make certain that project goals are attained. We offer an entire spectrum of real estate expertise from a single source – including project development, construction and property management.

The D&F Group is proud to be among New York’s premier developers of affordable family and senior housing, working closely with a wide array of for-profit and not-for-profit partners. Yet, their diversity and extensive background enable them to provide comprehensive services relating not only to affordable housing but to all segments of the real estate marketplace. Furthermore, their versatility means they can handle all aspects of a project from inception to finalization. Depending on the specific project, they can provide any one or more of the individual areas of real estate services they offer.

The D&F Group brings agility, efficiency and dedication to each project … committed to ensuring that all budgetary, scheduling, regulatory, aesthetic and other requirements are fulfilled.

“Transit is an engine for economic development and communities that invest in their transit systems are building a foundation for growth. NICE is essential to the region’s economic vitality, and with further innovation and investment, the benefit to the greater community, as well as riders, can be significantly increased.” - Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on NICE Bus' recently unveiled programs

"I am proposing that the town board create a Grand Avenue Overlay Zone in this main commercial area of Baldwin. Overlay zones run across existing zoning, and are designed to achieve specific aims and guide development. This overlay zone would finally break this redevelopment gridlock that has seen too many companies run into the same financial challenges and finally transform this downtown business district." - Hempstead Majority Leader Councilwoman Erin King-Sweeney

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NICE Begins Testing of Rideshare Service, ‘Schedule-less’ Routes

NICE has begun to test two now services that are expected to make it easier for passengers to catch a ride in Nassau County.

As we previously reported, NICE is in the process of rolling out a new rideshare-style service that will utilize smaller vehicles and allow riders to request pick-up at their door.  Called the NICE Link platform, it will be integrated through the transit company’s current app, GoMobile.  Rides will cost $4.50 and the testing will begin on weekdays during peak hours in a zone connecting to the Hempstead Turnpike, Merrick Road, the Meadowbrook Parkway and the Wantagh Parkway as well as the Freeport LIRR station.

NICE has also begun testing a new ‘schedule-less’ route model on the n40/41 branch from Freeport to Mineola.  The new model will allow for buses to come every 10 minutes during peak hours as opposed to having set times of arrival.  The goal is to create a more responsive system for commuters and will rely on GPS technology recently installed in a system-wide technology upgrade.  Night service has been added to the route as well.

“Communities across the U.S. are increasingly reinventing and expanding their investment in public transportation with further innovation and investment,” NICE Chief Executive Officer Michael Setzer said in a statement.

The moves should provide a boost to the local economy, according to a statement released by Nassau County. 

“Transit is an engine for economic development and communities that invest in their transit systems are building a foundation for growth,” County Executive Laura Curran said in the statement. “NICE is essential to the region’s economic vitality, and with further innovation and investment, the benefit to the greater community, as well as riders, can be significantly increased.”

Vision honored NICE bus with

You can read more here.

NYC Department of Regional Planning Releases Geography of Jobs Report

Vision attended a work session held by the NYC Department of Regional Planning as they rolled out their “Geography of Jobs” report for the region.

One of the more salient points to see was that 75% of the jobs created since the recession occurred in the five boroughs. However, Long Island would hold its own in the report with 110,000 jobs created during the study period and a growth rate on par with other metropolitan areas around the country. Unfortunately, the Long Island data on building and development is not fully reflective of our growth due to under-reporting or lack of reporting from our varying municipalities.

It was important to see this roundtable include housing, economic development, transportation and planning leaders from many regions and municipalities in a very inclusive fashion.  While Long Islanders can agree that regional planning doesn’t address our unique needs, this approach was data -driven, respectful from the bottom up, and the beginning of what could be opportunities for all communities involved.

Congratulations to the NYC Department of Regional Planning for a great study and productive meeting and special thanks also to the NY Building Congress for hosting.

Nassau County Extends RFEI Deadline

As Vision previously reported on here, Nassau County has released an RFEI in an attempt to solicit plans from developers and corporate organizations who are hoping to develop the property.

In an effort to gather more feedback, Nassau has extended the deadline for the RFEI so as to give developers more time to weigh in.  Submissions to the RFEI can now be submitted electronically to up until 3:00 PM on August 17, 2018.

All RFEI updates will continue to be posted on the Nassau County Planning Division website:

You can read more here.

Hicksville Chamber Street Fair Talks Up Revitalization

Vision Board and staff were out recently manning the downtown revitalization tent at the Hicksville Street Fair sponsored by the Hicksville Chamber Of Commerce.

It was great to speak with well over 200 residents and business owners with 80% in support of up to 4 story development by the train station. We are still hearing negative feedback on the proposal at the former Sears property, but people are now learning to separate their opposition to that project from the uplifting projects around the train station area.

Congratulations to the Chamber members, local civics Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Committee members and Vision staff for the support all day.

Great to see Nassau Legislators Rose Walker, Laura Schaefer and NYS Assemblyman Michael Montesano join us as well.

Stay tuned for next steps in Hicksville’s journey...

Village of Freeport Debuts Unified Outage Management System

In the almost 6 years since Hurricane Sandy devastated our area, Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy has been working toward preventing the extensive damage caused by the storm from occurring again.

To the effect, the Village has debuted a $300,000 outage management system that will try to streamline communications from first responders and village officials.  This will help to increase coordination during power outages and non-911 emergencies

“Superstorm Sandy changed the way we think about and respond to extreme weather events,” said Emily Thompson, deputy general counsel of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. “The local community reconstruction committee, working with the state, identified the need for a robust outage management system as a priority for Freeport.”

“[We] must continue to prepare for any emergency,” Kennedy said. “It’s paramount to our safety.”

The new system was un-veiled in July by Mayor Kennedy and Al Livingston, superintendent of Freeport Electric.  Emily Thompson of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) was also present.  The project was funded with money designated for storm resiliency by GOSR and the NY Rising Project. 

The new system makes Freeport, the second largest village in New York, the first municipality in the state to implement such a system.  It will go a long way in making the Village more responsive to local emergencies and disasters by streamlining the large staffs at Freeport Electric, the police and fire departments, and the local DPW, all of which have their own protocols to follow.

The new system took two years to create and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of the first week of August.  This is just one of the many efforts Freeport has taken in recent years to mitigate potential storm damage and upgrade its system to protect its residents.

You can read more here.  

Garvies Point Continues to Make Progress

The progress at Garvies Point has continued unabated throughout the summer.

The Beacon, Garvies’ 167-unit condominium is in the process of being built and is currently in the vertical construction phase.  Construction is expected to continue through the rest of the summer and is slated to be completed in 2019 along with Harbor Landing, the rental portion of Garvies Point.  The Beacon has already sold more the 30% of available condo units.

Garvies Point will also feature 28 acres of open space and a one-mile waterfront esplanade with outdoor seating, miles of trails and bike paths, playgrounds, kayak and boat launches, a dog park, beach, and amphitheater.  Vegetation is currently being cultivated at the edges of the development as well.

Garvies Point has also been active in the local community, recently attending the opening of Glen Cove’s new Heritage Garden.  The opening was part of a week-long celebration of Glen Cove’s 350th anniversary and is a reminder of the pride residents have in their local community.  Glen Cove residents, businesses, and community organizations were given the opportunity to sponsor pavers with special messages for future generations. 

Joseph Graziose and Michael Leone of RXR, Garvies’ parent company, sponsored the newly opened garden.

You can check out Garvies Point's website here.

GIVNGO Gas Opens in Floral Park

Vision enjoys seeing businesses on Long Island invest in local communities and one of the best recent examples is the Pink Tie organization setting up the latest GIVNGO gas station in Floral Park.

Vision attended along with the Mayor of Floral Park, the Floral Park Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Trinity Solar, and 1st Equity Title this past Friday at the ribbon cutting.

GIVNGO Gas is the brainchild of PinkTie.Org, a local charity organization that emphasizes local groups in its giving.  The gas stations donate a portion of the proceeds from every gallon pumped to local charities.  The idea is that it gives an easy and passive way for local communities to provide resources and services to those in need.

Congratulations to Mike Cave, Rich Cave, and their entire team for their continued philanthropic efforts that truly give back to our local communities.

Finding a New Approach in Baldwin

The following op-ed originally appeared in Long Island Business News here.

It’s long overdue to revitalize downtown Baldwin.

Grand Avenue, Baldwin is at the heart of this Hempstead Town hamlet, which I am proud to represent as a Hempstead Town councilwoman. When I first took office in 2015, I committed to the people of Baldwin that this area, which has been blighted by the sight of too many vacant storefronts, must change. There is no reason that this diverse community should not have a thriving downtown for residents to enjoy.

Recently Engel Burman Basser Kaufman, which was designated by the Town Board in 2017 to redevelop portions of Grand Avenue’s commercial district, withdrew their application, citing a difficult and shifting economic landscape. While I believe that all parties operated in good faith, it seems clear this is indicative of a need for a new approach.

For too long, the strategy has been to engage one entity to acquire and redevelop parcels into a plan that they design. I believe it is time to take a new direction, one that recognizes that the many regulations and zoning requirements have created a prohibitive environment for developers. The process of seeking variances from the existing zoning is often prohibitive.

That is why I am proposing that the town board create a Grand Avenue Overlay Zone in this main commercial area of Baldwin. Overlay zones run across existing zoning, and are designed to achieve specific aims and guide development. This overlay zone would finally break this redevelopment gridlock that has seen too many companies run into the same financial challenges and finally transform this downtown business district.

Rather than having to produce a plan that would require firms to seek a variety of variances from existing zoning, the overlay zone would, if created, save developers considerable time, as much as two years, in the process of seeking approvals for construction. In a world where time is money, developers could potentially save millions of dollars in the process.

It is encouraging that this approach enjoys the support of highly respected downtown leaders like Eric Alexander from Vision Long Island, who has been a leader in fighting for sustainable downtowns.

When you look at the examples of successful downtowns, in such communities as Rockville Centre, Patchogue, Farmingdale, Huntington, and so many others, both in New York and beyond, what one consistently sees is mixed-use, sustainable, walkable neighborhoods, access to public transportation, and a focus on retaining young people. During a recent tour of downtown Farmingdale with Mayor Ekstrand and Eric Alexander, I was struck by the vitality and dynamism of this community.

I am a huge proponent of mom-and-pop, locally owned small businesses. Indeed, one that I visit often is right in Baldwin, Sweet & Savory Café. This trendy cafe at the corner of Merrick Road and Grand Avenue features great coffee and fare and thinks outside the box. Small businesses like this can thrive if government acts as a partner to create the business-friendly conditions where young people will live, work, and raise their families.

We can do this in Baldwin, but we must first recognize that the traditional approach to zoning in suburban communities needs to change if we are to address the ever-increasing exodus of young people off Long Island. Young people want affordable housing, to be near to public transit, and are increasingly using bicycles and decreasing their dependence on cars.

I believe that an overlay zone will allow various developers to come to Grand Avenue in an organic way that will let them pursue creative options to redevelop this area and retain our young people, in ways that work for them both in terms of dollars and cents, and in coordination with local zoning regulations.

Let’s unleash the potential of our business community but it requires a new approach, new vision and a renewed commitment to strengthening a community’s future.

Erin King Sweeney is the majority leader of the Hempstead town board.

Island to Table Returns to Patchogue on August 26th

The Island to Table outdoor dining experience is set to return to Patchogue for a third consecutive year on Sunday, August 26th.  It will be located at Michael E. Reilly Memorial Park (Fireman’s Park) near the Great South Bay in Patchogue.  Tickets are $150 each. Cocktails start at 5 pm with the first course set to begin at 6 pm.

The 5-course dinner is a fundraiser run by HomeGrown Change, a local sustainability and educational group focused on teaching young people the ins and outs of gardening.  Last year’s event was a sellout, raising over $10,000 for the organization.

You can purchase tickets for the event online here, and email HomeGrown Change with questions and comments here.

Save the Date for AARP Long Island's Racial and Ethnic Disparities Forum on September 6th

Please join AARP Long Island in an important forum about the significant racial and ethnic disparities that currently exist among New York's 50+ multicultural communities. The event will take place on Thursday, September 6th, from 8 to 11 am, at the Hofstra University Club. We will update this article with registration information as soon as it's available, so keep an eye on this spot!

NYSDOT Offering Funding for Clean Air Act Complaint Transportation Projects

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program NYSDOT is making available up to $100 million in funding to support bicycle, pedestrian, multiuse path and transportation-related projects and programs that help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. These funds are provided through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ).

Eligible applicants include local governments, regional transportation authorities, transit agencies, natural resource or public land agencies, tribal governments, local or regional governmental transportation or recreational trail entities and NYSDOT (for CMAQ only). A total of $100 million is available, with $56 million for funding under TAP and $44 million for funding under CMAQ. The deadline is August 16, 2018,at 4 p.m.

Contact for more information or head to their website

Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that $275 million in grant funding is available to municipalities with infrastructure projects that protect or improve water quality and/or public health. This funding, available through the the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program, is part of the Governor's $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017. Grant applications and additional information are available on the Environmental Facilities Corporation website.

Applications are due on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 5 p.m.

NYS DEC Environmental Restoration Grants Now Available

These grants reimburse municipalities and community-based organizations for design and construction costs associated with the cleanup and remediation of designated brownfield sites. Sites must be identified by the New York State Environmental Restoration Program and have a DECissued Record of Decision (ROD) for the site.
Eligibility: Applicants must be a municipality or municipality acting in partnership with a community-based organization involved in cleaning and rebuilding a designated brownfield site. 
Funding: $10 million.
Deadline: September 7, 2018.
Contact: ERP Program Manager  - Phone: 518-402-9764; Email:;  Website: IntelliGrants_NYSGG/module/nysgg/ goportal.aspx?NavItem1=3

Huntington Station Teen Starts Petition for Breezy Skate Park

Daenys Cruz, 18, is turning what was originally a class project into a civic movement when he created a petition to request the Town of Huntington install a skate park at Breezy Park.

Cruz has been skateboarding for more than nine years ago when he was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.  He began skateboarding in an effort to stay healthy and has adopted Breezy Park as his favorite haunt.  However, he has also seen and heard the dangers of skating on public roads and is hoping to create a safe space near his home where he can continue to stay active.

“Skateboarding gave me a way to keep myself healthy,” said Cruz. “With diabetes, you have to stay active to maintain a good quality of life.”

You can view Mr. Cruz’s petition here where he has over 595 signatures as of the time of this writing.  He also explains, in his own words, why he thinks the park is a good idea.

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director

Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

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