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August 19th - 25th, 2017


Regional Updates

Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana LLP

Founded in 1976, Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana LLP is one of Long Island's most acclaimed and distinguished full service law firms. The Firm has always enjoyed a solid reputation for successfully representing clients in real estate, land use and zoning, tax, trusts and estates, tax certiorari, corporate, construction, commercial and litigation matters. Areas of expertise have expanded to include banking, bankruptcy, employment and labor, municipal incentives/IDA, entertainment, and more. Throughout the Firm's growth, one thing has remained constant — its focus on obtaining results for clients. Headquartered in Uniondale, NY, the Firm is conveniently located for clients in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. Personal attention and quality representation that is both practical and cost-effective are hallmarks of the Firm's policy towards clients.

“Tonight the community spoke loud and clear, alongside every one of their elected officials across party lines, at our public hearing in the WFHS auditorium. We have always been together on this issue and have decided to stop taking ‘No’ for an answer by formally taking the first step in our legal action against the LIRR under the NYS Railroad Law by having this hearing. We will now meet with our engineers and our legal team to go over the testimony and will soon announce our next step.  Our strength comes from the unity and common purpose we seek in improving our community. I thank everyone who came out and spoke so passionately on the issue.” - Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico speaking on a much needed at grade crossing across LIRR tracks

"Unelected faceless bureaucrats who showed up with a closed mind tonight - Instead of figuring out how to get to yes.  You are making enemies of those of us who decide on billions of dollars of transportation funding for your agency" - U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin speaking on LIRR's response to to the crossing debate.

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Brookhaven Holds Public Hearing on Needed LIRR At-Grade Crossing

This past week Vision Long Island attended a hearing spearheaded by Town of Brookhaven Councilman Dan Panico in order to address transportation access for an at-grade LIRR crossing in the Mastic Shirley Penninsula.

Mastic Beach, Mastic, and the Shirley area, known by many as the Tri-Hamlet community, has only 3 LIRR grade crossings for the peninsula with over 45,000 residents. This issue became apparent during a recent road closure for railroad grade improvements that led to traffic being backed up for 2 hours, along with much longer than usual response and return time for EMS services.  The area also has over 350,000 visitors to Smith Park County Park between Memorial and Labor Day alone, along with a year-round campground.  All of this made it clear that a railroad crossing at Hawthorne Street/Titmus Avenue in Mastic is both needed and long overdue.

At the hearing Town engineers presented an updated planning analysis from the original GPI Coastal Evacuation report that was sponsored by the William Floyd Community Summit.  Congressman Lee Zeldin also spoke, stating that there is Federal money that can help and that the State, who manages the Federal dollars, should put this project in their capital plan.  Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who helped secure $5 million in this year's NYS budget for additional access to Sunrise Highway, also spoke in support of the project.

Other elected officials that spoke in support include Assemblyman Dean Murray, NYS Senator Tom Croci, Suffolk Legislator Kate Browning and Village of Mastic Beach Mayor Robert Miller.

The plan also received support from the community at large with Bob Vecchio, the President of the William Floyd School District, stating that the average time saved would be up to 15 minutes each day.  Beth Wahl, President of the Chambers of Commerce of the Mastic's and Shirley, spoke on the economic need for the local small business community tied to this crossing.  There were also comments from Rudy Sunderman and Charles Voelger, who are Chiefs of the Mastic Fire Department and Ambulance Company respectively, about how a new crossing would improve response time for emergency vehicles.

The project has been estimated at around $640,000 by the Town of Brookhaven’s Greg Kelsey, which is on the lower end of costs for similar improvements.  Harry Wallace, representing the Unkechung Nation, expressed  was astounded that a project of relatively minimal cost cannot move forward in short order.

Vision Long Island's Director Eric Alexander testified in favor of an at-grade crossing and reviewed the history of planning with the Montauk Highway Project starting in 2002 which included investments in sewers, new zoning and road improvements.  In the 15 years since that project was started, this is the one item that has not been completed.

Over 200 residents and business leaders were out tonight. Eleven local residents spoke in favor with two who both live on the road of the proposed crossing, opposed. The LIRR also sent two staffers who attempted to explain opposition to at grade crossings even in the face of such overwhelming community support.

“Tonight the community spoke loud and clear,” said Councilman Panico, “alongside every one of their elected officials across party lines, at our public hearing in the WFHS auditorium. We have always been together on this issue and have decided to stop taking ‘No’ for an answer by formally taking the first step in our legal action against the LIRR under the NYS Railroad Law by having this hearing. We will now meet with our engineers and our legal team to go over the testimony and will soon announce our next step.  Our strength comes from the unity and common purpose we seek in improving our community. I thank everyone who came out and spoke so passionately on the issue.”

Councilman Panico also asked the LIRR if they put funding for this project in any of their capital plans despite the constant requests by local officials.  "We need something to happen for these communities"

Congressman Zeldin forcefully ended the hearing by speaking of LIRR staff who attended as "unelected faceless bureaucrats who showed up with a closed mind tonight - Instead of figuring out how to get to yes.  You are making enemies of those of us who decide on billions of dollars of transportation funding for your agency"

You can learn more and help this important issue to the area’s economic development and resilience by signing the online petition for a grade crossings here. Vision has been circulating them along with local community leaders and the initial hundreds of signatories were presented this evening.

Glen Cove IDA Approves Tax Breaks for Village Square

In a unanimous vote the Glen Cove IDA has approved $1.24 million in tax breaks to RXR Realty in order to build Village Square, a downtown Glen Cove mixed use project.

Village Square will feature 146 apartments and 15,000 square feet in retail space as well as a 16,000 square foot plaza that will be deeded to the city for public events.  The IDA also approved an 18 year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) that will start at approximately $183,000 over the first three years.  Payments will in by 2% annually after that for the next 15 years.

While there is a consensus that the redevelopment of the site will be a good thing for the City, there has also been some disagreement on the tax breaks.  RXR has previously received breaks to build out the Glen Isle ferry station.  However, Mayor Reggie Spinello pushed back on the criticism by noting that the site has sat undeveloped for years.  He also pointed out that the PILOT is currently worth more than $30,000 than current property taxes.

RXR currently owns most of the property on the site but is still negotiating to purchase a final parcel from All Island Real Estate Holdings.  The company is also currently 64 parking spaces short of the necessary amount to meet zoning requirements, but is negotiating with the City to pay for use of spaces in an adjacent municipal lot.

You can read more here.

Riverhead Town Board Votes to Approve Riverview Lofts

This past week saw the Town of Riverhead vote to approve the downtown Riverhead loft apartments, a project that will provide 116 apartments on Main Street with a significant number of affordable units.

Part of the plan for the apartments will include a tier system for the studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The first tier will include households that earn 60 percent of the average median income with 25 studio units in this tier renting for $976 per month; 44 one-bedroom units for $1,210, and 18 two-bedroom units at $1,452.

The second tier will be for households that earn 90 percent of the AMI with rents ranging from $1,125 to $1,655 at a total of 13 apartments.  The final tier is for households earning 130 percent of the AMI and includes 15 units with rents ranging from $1,326 to $1,955.

Some attendees expressed a distrust for the parking study that showed an excess of spaces, and others asked questions concerning the school district impacts. However, multiple downtown developments across Long Island have generated roughly only 3 students per 100 units. The developers of the LOFTS have projected 14 students, which is high.

“It’s a fantastic project for downtown,” said Town Supervisor Sean Walter. “Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t tell me about their problems trying to find rental apartments, mainly for millennials.”

The project - like all downtown projects underway - will be tax positive.

This project is also part of the Town's Master Plan and has been in the planning stage for well over a year. We applaud developer Georgica Green’s investment in Main Street along with many other new projects, restaurants and events.

Vision supported this project along with other Riverhead downtown developments such as Summerwind and Peconic Crossing which both received Smart Growth Awards.  The process for revitalizing this downtown that was damaged by excess development on Route 58 and the outlets has been a long one but the block by block strategy implemented over the last few years is now shown to be bearing fruit.

You can read more here.

"Great Ideas" for Placemaking: Incremental Development and Missing Middle Housing

In celebration of the recent CNU25 in Seattle, the Congress for the New Urbanism has been compiling 25 of the “Great Ideas” that have come out of the movement.  They have conducted interviews with those that put these ideas into practice to learn more about them.  This month they are featuring “Incremental Development” and “Missing Middle Housing.”

Incremental development acknowledges that many of the best places are those that were developed by many different builders over time.  There may have been a master plan as in Savannah or Philadelphia, but the individual buildings were built by many different builders each bringing their own character to the neighborhood.  Instead of relying on large national or regional builders who build their product on large sites in hundreds or thousands of residential units on large parcels, it allows small local developers, who may even live in the same neighborhood to redevelop individual small parcels that fit within a neighborhood.  It allows local people who are looking to improve their town to learn to become a developer to help make that change.

R. John Anderson of Anderson|Kim Architects has led small developer workshops help educate future developers about understanding local land use regulations, developing a pro forma and other skills needed to enter the field of development.  A Facebook group also allows people to share their knowledge and experience with others.  They are focused on walkable places and learning to develop simple buildings with character that enhance neighborhoods.

Missing Middle Housing is another idea that falls under the umbrella of incremental development.  While much of the housing being constructed over the past half century has taken the form of either single family homes or large apartment buildings, there are a range of housing types in between that often get overlooked.  Dan Parolek of Opticos Design coined the term to describe townhouses, smaller 3-6 unit apartment buildings, courtyard apartments and other types that were common in towns and cities in the early 20th century.  These types of housing can help fill different needs while still fitting into a neighborhood context.

Elissa Kyle, Vision Long Island's Placemaking Director and point person for these concerns, recently spoke about Missing Middle Housing on Long Island at the APA Long Island Section's Arthur Kunz Memorial Scholarship Breakfast. "There are many opportunities for incremental development," she said, "and missing middle housing in and around our Long Island downtowns if zoning codes were updated to reduce regulatory barriers."

To learn more about CNU’s 25 great ideas look here. You can read more on Missing Middle Housing here and here.

Driverless Cars Present Future Revenue Problems for Local Governments

As technology marches forward large cities are beginning to grapple with the fact that autonomous vehicles will soon be showing up in greater numbers on their streets.

Driverless vehicles are slowly but steadily becoming a reality on the streets of America and could quickly turn into major revenue loss for cities.  Numerous cities tend to rely on parking fees and fines to financially support certain aspects of their budgets, namely transportation.  Citations could also see a drop as cars with a technical expertise would lower the issuing of such fines. 

In order to assess the possible costs of such a scenario, a national government-centric publication known as Governing has conducted a national analysis.  This study looked at the 25 largest U.S. cities and sifted through parking revenue, citations, camera fines, gas taxes, vehicle registration, licensing, and other such fees.  In total, the 25 cities studied generated almost $5 billion in auto-related finances during 2016, or around $129 per capita.  New Yok City alone generated $1.2 billion last year.

While the rise of autonomous cars will hurt such revenue sources including gas taxes (driverless cars are electric), there will be opportunity for cost saving procedures.  Traffic enforcement would be the most notable possibility for reduction, though it’s still early to say for sure.  The full integration of driverless vehicles is most likely at least a decade away, but is beginning to look inevitable.

While some cities will see little affect from losing these auto related revenue sources, others will be hit hard.  Resort towns tend to rely heavily on parking fees and big cities benefit extraordinarily from gas taxes.  Traffic citations also help to fund a large portion of the budgets for rural and suburban communities that act as gateways for more popular destinations.  Non-governmental entities will also need to adjust as convention centers and similar places rely on parking fees to help keep the lights on.

No matter how you look at it the rise of driverless cars creates a set of issues that municipalities would be wise to address now as opposed to waiting for when revenue begins to dry up.

You can read more here.

Los Angeles Fights Heat Island Effect with Revolutionary Street Top Material

The City of Los Angeles has dedicated itself to fighting the Urban Heat Island effect with a new material known as CoolSeal that will coat its streets.

The Heat Island effect is a phenomenon where asphalt, concrete, and other similar materials absorb and retain heat, causing cities to average higher temperatures than surrounding areas.  Lost Angeles, which is surrounded by desert and utilizes thousands of miles of asphalt, is considered one of the primary examples of the effect.  As part of an effort to fight rising temperatures, city officials have begun looking at new, innovative ways to reduce temperatures within the city.  One of the possible solutions is CoolSeal.

CoolSeal is a gray-colored coating that is designed to reflect sun away from the asphalt in order to prevent it from rising to uncomfortable temperatures.  The coating was tested on a parking garage in the city and was found to reduce temperature by up to 10 degrees versus concrete that was not treated.  The hope is that the reduction in temperature will lead to cooler neighborhoods and less need for air conditioning while hopefully lowering heat related deaths.

The material was originally developed for the Department of Defense in order to lower the temperature of taxiways for spy planes.  This would lessen the ability of satellites to spy on the planes since they relied on thermal imaging to gather information.  The material has since been updated in order to be even more reflective.

However, the financial possibility of coating a majority of the City is still in doubt as CoolSeal currently costs approximately $40,000 per miles and lasts seven years on average.  Los Angeles is exploring what it would take to cover a third of the city’s pavement as that is estimated to be what’s needed to effectively lower the temperature.

You can read more here.

Sign the Petition for an Additional LIRR Crossing for Mastic/Shirley

The Mastic Beach, Mastic, and Shirley area, known by many as the Tri-Hamlet community, has only 3 LIRR grade crossings for the peninsula with over 45,000 residents. The area also has over 350,000 visitors to Smith Park County Park between Memorial and Labor Day alone, along with a year-round campground. A recent road closure for railroad grade improvements led to traffic being backed up for 2 hours, along with much longer than usual response and return time for EMS services.

A railroad crossing at Hawthorne Street/Titmus Avenue in Mastic is needed for the area, and is long overdue. There has been pushback from the MTA in the past for this important crossing for the community. We need federal officials to help fund the project through the Federal Railroad Administration, and New York State elected officials and the MTA to move ahead with the plan.

You can learn more and help for this important issue to the area’s economic development and resilience by signing the online petition for a grade crossing here.

Long Island Business Council to Hold Candidates Forum on September 19th

The Long Island Business Council will be holding a Nassau County Candidates Forum on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 at the East Farmingdale Fire Department, located at 930 Conklin Street in Farmingdale from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM.  The forum will feature Republican Candidate Jack Martins and the winner of the Democratic primary.

You can RSVP for the event by calling 877-811-7471 or emailing ck@visionlongisland.org.  Attendance is free for LIBC members and $45 for non-members.

You can view the flyer for this event here and register online here.

Long Island’s 5th Annual Car Free Day to Take Place on September 22nd

The 5th Annual Car Free Day will take place on September 22nd this year.  Take the pledge to leave your car at home on Friday, September 22nd and celebrate sustainable transportation on Long Island.  In 2016, 4,111 Long Islanders pledged to be car free or car-lite, resulting in the avoidance of 84,000 miles of driving and 42 tons of CO2 emissions!

You can take the online pledge here and be eligible for prizes.  All pledges made through 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday, September 22, 2017 will be entered into the prize raffle drawing. Prize eligibility is available to those physically living or working on Long Island in Nassau or Suffolk counties.

Restore NY Communities Initiative Informational Meeting to be held online September 25th

Empire State Development Corp. will host a free workshop on September 29th for municipalities interested in applying for some of the $80 million in redevelopment funding available through Round 5 of the Restore NY Communities Initiative. ESD has also scheduled informational workshops for Sept. 25 in Schenectady and Sept. 26 in Rochester, as well as a live webinar covering Restore NY application requirements at 10 a.m. on Sept. 25. More information on the workshops available here; email RestoreNY@esd.ny.gov to register for the webinar.

29th Annual Keys for the Homeless Conference to be held on October 20th

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless in co-sponsorship with Stony Brook University of Social Welfare, will be holding its Annual Keys for the Homeless Conference on October 20th.  The event will feature a keynote address from Richard Hooks Wayman, the Executive Director for the Children’s Defense Fund.  The theme of the Conference will be Breaking Down Barriers: Serving our Most Vulnerable.

The Conference is currently accepting sponsors, which will be available through October 2nd.  Sponsorships start at $1,000 for our Corporate Partners and $500 for Non-profit Partners.  Journal ad opportunities are still available as well.  If you have any questions you can go here to find more information and can contact Ksusha Cascio by email here or phone at 631-464-4314 x 123.

Central Islip's "Good Neighbor Awards" to be Held on October 26

The Central Islip Civic Council will be honoring four individuals for Outstanding Community Service on Thursday, October 26th.  Debra Cavanagh from the Central Islip Coalition of Good Neighbors, Islip Councilman Steve Flotteron, Rob Goldman Suffolk Community College, and Barbara LaMonica from Central Islip School District.

The event will take place at Watermill Caterers at 711 Smithtown Bypass in Smithtown.  You can find more information for the event and civic council here.

National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant, due September 11th

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with arts at their core. This funding supports local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for existing residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place. Applications due September 11. To find out more, click here.

Suffolk County to Provide Septic Improvement Grants

Starting July 1st, you may begin the process and submit your application for the Septic Improvement Program.

The Septic Improvement Program is available to qualified owners of residential property located within Suffolk County.

Grant funding, of up to $10,000, will be provided toward the purchase and installation of Suffolk County Department of Health Services approved Innovative and Alternative nitrogen removal onsite wastewater treatment system (I/A OWTS) and leaching structure, as well as toward attendant engineering and design services. An additional $1,000 may be available toward installation of Pressurized Shallow Drainfields for a maximum grant of up to $11,000. All other costs, including, but not limited to, costs above the authorized grant amount, irrigation repairs, electrical improvements unrelated to system installation or other improvements necessary for the installation are the responsibility of the property owner/applicant. Post-installation landscaping restoration is also the responsibility of the property owner/applicant.

Preferential consideration will be given to properties in environmentally sensitive areas.

Please note:

Submission of an application does not guarantee an award of a grant. The County reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the Septic Improvement Program at any time. This program is highly competitive and applications will be prioritized by area and other eligibility requirements and will also be based upon the availability of funding.

In addition:

  1. Grant Awardees will be required to execute a grant agreement with the County of Suffolk.
  2. Grant Awardees must permit Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program representatives the right to enter onto the property to perform any site assessments related to the processing of applications.
  3. Information and documentation that is submitted with the application may be subject to independent verification by the County.

If you would like to speak to someone directly about the program and/or Grant Application, please call the Department of Health Services at 631-852-5811. Staff will be available to answer your questions Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. You can also send an email to septicdemo@suffolkcountyny.gov.

Social Justice Grant: Pop Culture Collaborative

The Pop Culture Collaborative is now accepting applications for their 'Pop-Up' grants program. These rapid response grants are available on a rolling basis throughout the year for any individual, organization or company working to harness the power of pop culture to create just, authentic narratives of people of color, Muslims, immigrants and refugees through TV, movies, sports, music and all forms of entertainment and mass media.

The Collaborative is a new, multi-million dollar philanthropic resource created by Unbound Philanthropy, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and General Service Foundation—all organizations committed to growing and experimenting with pop culture narrative strategies as powerful tools for change in the real world.

They have designed these grants to help leaders in justice movements, the arts, entertainment, advertising, academia, and technology respond nimbly to increasingly common assaults on pluralism and inclusion in our society.

Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000, and projects must have an imminent time-hook or a project timeline that can be completed within a four-month time frame. Individuals with fiscal sponsorship, non-profit and for-profits are all eligible to apply. Projects should aim to advance social change and authentic narratives in popular culture for people of color, immigrants, refugees and Muslims.

You can find full 'Pop Up' Grant Guidelines and Application Information here, and can submit your idea here. Every idea will be considered, and applicants will be notified if the program wishes receive a formal proposal.

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, climatechange@dec.ny.gov.

NYS DEC Technical Assistance Grants Available

The New York State DEC continuously accepts applications for Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs). TAGs are a citizen participation tool available to eligible community groups to increase public awareness and understanding of remedial activities taking place in their community. TAGs are available to eligible community groups for the purpose of obtaining independent technical assistance in interpreting existing environmental information about an eligible “significant threat” site being remediated in the State Superfund Program or Brownfield Cleanup Program. Technical assistance is intended to help the grant recipient and the community it represents to understand existing environmental data developed about the site, comment on site remedial activities and proposals and share this information with the public.

Funding is limited to $50,000 per site, with no matching requirement. A community group must be a nonresponsible party community group or one that is in partnership with another nonresponsible party community group. The group must be a 501(c)(3), and a group whose members’ health, economic well-being or enjoyment of the environment may be affected by a release or threatened release of contamination at the eligible site. The group must be one whose membership represents the interest of the community affected by the eligible site. Eligible sites must be Class 2 sites on the New York State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites or sites being remediated under the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program that the DEC has determined pose a significant threat to public health and/or the environment.

For more information, you can visit the DEC’s site here.

Long Island Housing Services Seeking New Executive Director

Long Island Housing Services is seeking a new Executive Director.  The organization was founded in 1969, in the wake of the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the subsequent passage of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The organization was formed by a grassroots group of volunteers and civic and religious leaders. Its mission is to eliminate unlawful housing discrimination and promote decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education.

The Executive Director must be an experienced and seasoned leader and manager who will provide oversight of the organization, engage in the broader fair housing community, and develop and maintain strong relationships with funding sources, including local, state and federal government. The Executive Director must also have a strong and honed ability to motivate, develop, and manage staff. S/he must communicate openly and honestly, promoting inclusiveness, cooperation, and teamwork.

Applicants must apply by October 6th, 2017.  You can view the description of responsibilities, qualifications, and how to apply here.

Vision Long Island Joins Richard Rose to Discuss “the Death of Malls”

Vision Long Island’s Director Eric Alexander joined Richard Rose this past week on his Exit 10/55 in order to discuss the decline of mall-centralized retail.  The discussion centered on causes such as online retail and a shift of economic energy to our downtowns.  The status of the Nassau HUB and Hicksville's downtown redevelopment were also covered.

You can view the full discussion here, and check out future shows on Sundays at 11:30 on TV55.

Smart Talk

Editor:
Chris Kyle, Communications Director

Newsletter Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

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Vision Long Island
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Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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