October 23rd - 29th, 2016
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“Valley Stream residents, and all Hempstead town taxpayers deserve an IDA board that is transparent, encourages public input and is highly sensitive to the tax implications that their actions will have on middle-class homeowners,” Santino said. “By replacing the IDA Board, we will clear the way for new members who will be responsive to homeowners in America’s largest township.” - Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino speaking about Hempstead's IDA Board
“There are only three central high school districts in NY state- Sewanaka, Valley Stream and Bellmore-Merrick, and doing a PILOT in areas like these can be difficult and required much attention as to how it may impact the school districts. I am not opposed to PILOTs but its this type of PILOT in which there was not true notice--no one showed up at community meeting---and no community impact and the tax was calculated correctly." - Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages speaking about Hempstead's IDA Board
"Although not funded as many large organizations are during disaster, many strides have been made as the flood waters receded, with Friends of Long Island grassroots organizations logging tens of thousands of volunteer hours, raising over $1 million in financial and in-kind donations, bringing thousands of people closer to coming home, and making their communities more resilient towards future events. As we enter the 5th year post-Sandy, the work will continue in order to help Long Island recover and heal from not only the storm, but to correct some of the inadequacies in the way that recovery was handled to make communities stronger in the future." - Jon Siebert, Friends of Long Island
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Tax Breaks for Green Acres Mall Create Fire Storm
Residents in three school districts, community leaders and elected officials are up in arms over PILOTs and tax incentives that were granted by the Town of Hempstead IDA in 2014 to help rehabilitate and expand Valley Stream’s Green Acres Mall.
The Town of Hempstead has begun to look at possible actions including the filing of a lawsuit against its own IDA to force a reversal of the decision, restoring the mall to the tax rolls, and hold new public hearings. Supervisor Santino is also calling for the Town Board to remove the members of the IDA and to replace them with members who have the trust of the residents of Valley Stream. “Valley Stream residents, and all Hempstead town taxpayers deserve an IDA board that is transparent, encourages public input and is highly sensitive to the tax implications that their actions will have on middle-class homeowners,” Santino said. “By replacing the IDA Board, we will clear the way for new members who will be responsive to homeowners in America’s largest township.”
In December of 2014, the town’s IDA had granted the mall’s owner a sales tax exemption of $6 million, a mortgage recording tax exemption, and a $14 million PILOT over 10 years, with an option to extend it for five more years. The tax break will shrink the mall’s tax payments by about $6 million annually for the 10-15 year period starting this year, with the financial burden being shifted over to Valley Stream properties. The first round of tax bills that were affected by the increase just came out; on average, October’s tax bills increased between $322 and $758 in school districts 13, 24 and 30.
Residents that are now realizing the increase say that they were not aware of the impact that the tax breaks would have on their taxes, and were not given proper notice of the meeting to speak out against the decision. IDA Executive Director Fred Parola said the IDA posted the necessary notices and contacted public officials in Valley Stream to notify them of two meetings held in the village before the decision was final in 2014, but no one showed up. “Nobody was interested,” Parola said regarding attendance at public meetings before the tax breaks were awarded. “So maybe they should be looking in the mirror when they point the finger.” One of the hearings took place on Dec. 15, 2014 — a Monday, at 10:30AM; there are no other meetings listed on the Town’s IDA website for public hearings on the matter. IDA members, who are not elected but are appointed by the Town Board and can be replaced at any time, claim that certified letters were sent to Mayor Fare, the Town of Hempstead, Valley Stream School District 30, and the the Valley Stream Central High School District. They did not send letters to Valley Stream School Districts 13 and 24. The Mayor did admit that he received the letter, but stated he took no action on it.
Over 500 residents recently attended a meeting at the William L. Buck school opposing the PILOT decision, joined by elected officials including Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare, Councilmen Blakeman and Gaylor, representatives of Town Supervisor Santino’s office, Assembly members Sloages and Curran, Nassau County Comptroller Maragos, and State Senator Kaminsky. Assemblyman Solages said of the deal, “There are only three central high school districts in New York State- Sewanaka, Valley Stream, and Bellmore-Merrick. Doing a PILOT in areas like these can be difficult and required much attention as to how it may impact the school districts. I am not opposed to PILOTS, but not this type of PILOT in which there was not true notice-no one showed up at community meeting-and no community impact and the tax was calculated correctly. The IDA board was negligent for not including a community impact study. The Supervisor should appoint a new Board and they should start over. The Town violated the basic due process rights of residents. This will have a disastrous impact upon the local schools next year as they try to stay within the 2 percent tax cap and will harm our children. I personally live in District 24 and will be affected by this; school districts 30 and 13 will be also be impacted. You are supposed to calculate the school tax and general tax, and the executive director did not.”
Town of Hempstead officials said at the meeting that there was no fiscal impact study completed that would show the effect of the decision on the taxpayers. Long Time IDA board member Jonathan Kohan said at the meeting that there was a fiscal impact statement prepared ahead of the deal, and that the IDA was “getting a second set of eyes” to review it to ensure that there were no errors in those calculations by hiring a firm to complete a second analysis, which should have results within the next 45 days. However, the IDA board says that there is no legal way to reverse the decision. Since the well-attended meeting, Comptroller Maragos has ordered an audit of the IDA’s tax-break program, saying that “we need to provide incentives investments that create real jobs and economic activity, but not on the backs of our hard-pressed taxpayers,” calling the decision “legally questionable” and a “disservice” to Valley Stream residents.
The IDA will meet Wednesday to hire a firm to undertake a second analysis of the deal. Although that will be the only agenda item regarding Green Acres Mall on the agenda, elected officials and residents are planning to attend the meeting in opposition to the PILOT given.
You can read more about the IDA decision and actions being taken against it in Newsday, LI Herald, LIBN, News 12, and also see and sign the petitions here and here
Village of Westbury Holds First Downtown Revitalization Initiative Public Meeting
Vision joined Village of Westbury elected officials and staff for the first public meeting for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) this week. Over 100 residents were in attendance, filling the room to capacity, discussing placemaking, open space, small business, housing and arts & culture.
A total of 122 municipalities across the state had applied for the grant, including around 20 on Long Island. Ten $10 million grants were awarded, one in each Regional Economic Development Council. Applicants were evaluated on its existing viability, the ability to sustain year-round activity, having community support for downtown improvements, having the ability or past history of job growth in or in close proximity to its downtown, as well as other factors. Built into the award is up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local planning committee to draft a Strategic Investment Plan that will identify specific economic development, transportation, and housing and community projects.
Prior to this week’s public meeting, a Kick-Off meeting was held with the consulting firm, BJH Advisors of Brooklyn, which included a tour of the Village to familiarize the team with the commercial and residential areas, new multi-family real estate development, availability of public and commuter parking lots, as well as the proximity of the LIRR Station and The Space at Westbury performing arts venue to the downtown district. Discussed were ways to work on developing the south side of the Village’s business district as well as other areas. “We would like to bring redevelopment efforts there and possibly attract a major employer or research center,” Mayor Cavalaro said.
The state would like to see the area’s assets and resources quantified by the consulting firm, and have the needs of the downtown prioritized by the first quarter of 2017. Helping with that process will be a local steering committee formed by the Village that will have residents, business owners, government officials and other stakeholders to weigh in on the needs of the downtown.
You can read more about the first steps being taken to help Westbury achieve its goal of being one of New York's and Long Island's most attractive, sustainable, diverse and vibrant places to live and work in LIBN, and read more about New York’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative here
Sandy Hills Project in Middle Island moves Forward with Affordable Housing
Concern for Independent Living, Inc. is pleased to announce the planned opening of Concern Middle Island in December, 2016. Concern Middle Island is a mixed-use Supportive Housing program designed to provide housing and services for individuals and families.
It is located at 147 Rocky Point Road, Middle Island. All residents will enjoy the project’s amenities, which include laundry facilities, a fitness room, a community room, off-street parking, and a computer room/library. Concern for Independent Living was awarded $7.5 million in capital funding through the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Homeless Housing and Assistance Program in 2014 in order to move the project ahead. “We are so pleased to partner with OTDA on this much needed Long Island project,” said Concern’s Executive Director, Ralph Fasano said of the funding. “It will not only provide beautiful housing for those most in need, it will help to decrease Medicaid costs, create jobs and revitalize the community.”
The project has 20 one-bedroom, 47 two-bedroom and 5 three-bedroom apartments for low-income individuals and families. Eligible applicants must be over eighteen years of age, meet income limits (units are available for households at 50%, 60% and 90% AMI). Full-time students are not available to participate in the lottery. Rental rates start at $767 for one-bedroom, $896 for 2-bedrooms, and $1351 for 3-bedrooms.
The postmark deadline for initial applications is November 11, 2016. Applications can only be processed for the initial lottery if they are mailed to the PO listed on the Application. For income thresholds, rental prices, and to download an application, click here
Kings Park Downtown Revitalization Action Plan Released
Last Saturday, Vision Board and staff held the final public meeting of the Kings Park Downtown Revitalization process with the Kings Park Civic Association and the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce. We took input on the report from the nearly 300 residents and business owners who came out in the rain. The Action Plan covers sewers, walkability, downtown housing, destination marketing and management as well as many other components of successful downtowns.
The Action Plan was put together based on input from hundreds of Kings Park residents, business and property owners, the Town, Civic and Chamber of Commerce. In addition to an overall concept plan, it contains recommendation for improvements to walkability, enhancing character, zoning modifications, and public space improvements. The recommendations include short, medium and long term strategies.
The design team who helped to translate all of the community input into a cohesive plan includes Elissa Kyle of Vision, David Berg from DLB Consulting, Dean Gowen and Allan Giantemaso from Wendel and Glen Cherveny from GRCH Architects.
Vision would also like to thank Linda Henninger and Sean Lehmann from the Kings Park Civic Association, Tony Tanzi and Adam Wood from the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, The Kings Park School District, Kings Park Fire Department, Fort Salonga Association, San Remo Civic Association, Kings Park Youth, Kings Park Soccer, St. Josephs CYO, American Legion, VFW, Discover Church, the Town of Smithtown and Suffolk County for their assistance and support.
Approve Long Island’s First Community-Focused Sports Complex
Residents of the Farmingdale School District approved a $36 million bond this week to create Long Island’s first community-focused public school sports complex and aquatic center. The vote to approve the project came in at 1610 to approve, and 1390 against.
The complex, to be built at Weldon E. Howitt Middle School, will include competitive and competitive and community pools, a competitive track, new synthetic turf for various ballfields and stadium lighting for night games and events. Those who voted yes towards the approval of the project feel that it is a good fit for the area, and will co-benefit the downtown as well as the school. According to the school district, the approved project will begin breaking ground by next April, with plans for the aquatic center needing approval by the state. That approval can come as soon as next year.
With the state-mandated tax caps affecting school districts, projects of this magnitude can be next to impossible without piercing the tax cap and by yielding a tax savings. The Farmingdale school district is in a unique position where they will be retiring a larger debt, which will actually give a savings of $71 per year for the average homeowner. The debt on the proposed project will not be incurred until the 2021-22 school year when the district will retire a larger debt, school officials said.
The school district is looking to work with the Village of Farmingdale to help revitalize the downtown, while making this project useable not only by the school district, but by the community at large. You can read more about the project’s approval in Newsday, and get further details about the scope of the project here
Four Years After Sandy, Progress and Barriers Towards Recovery Remain
This weekend marks four years since Superstorm Sandy, the largest Hurricane in history in terms of diameter, and second costliest hurricane ever in the US with property damage estimated at over $70 billion. That cost, however, does not reflect collateral damage inflicted in the days, months, and now years after.
The immediate post-disaster response included an outpouring of community response and support, with electric out for several days to weeks in some areas, and the reality of the scope of destruction coming into focus. Since Sandy affected 24 states in the U.S., response four years later,” said Dan Caracciolo of the 11518, that number is shrinking. Two, we will be here until it's zero."e from National groups was slower to come on Long Island. Grassroots community groups formed to assist their neighbors with food, clothing, “mucking out homes”, and to start to navigate the process of disaster recovery; recovery group based out of East Rockaway. “There are two things good about that. Oimmediate relief, recovery, and the endless cycle of finding out how to apply for FEMA, SBA loans, and receiving National Flood Insurance Policy claims. Sadly, although there has been progress, many affected still are not back in their homes, and communities are still struggling to recover from the effects. "There are still people not home yet no
The New York Rising program, aimed at using part of a $60 billion federal appropriation to help individuals and communities recover from Sandy, Irene and Lee and become more resilient was slow to start, and riddled with problems for those recovering. One year into the process, the original contractor that operated the program was replaced, with a lot of paperwork coming to a grinding halt or misplaced. The process itself was ever-changing, with new payments structures, regulations, appeals processes and restrictions towards rebuilding. Now that we are at the 4 year post-Sandy mark, more people are getting home and elevating their houses, with many others still finding that there are gaps in what is covered by the grant program and the needs. With many still not home and available funds for mortgage assistance and to supplement the rental prices of the unrepaired homes mounting, coupled with an already short supply of affordable and short-term housing on Long Island, many are still wondering when recovery will end, and “the new normal” will begin. The New York Rising program also has a community component, with 22 communities on Long Island receiving between $3 million and $25 million to assist with recovery and resilience projects. After over 500 meetings held in 8 months by the local planning committees, the first round of projects have finally moved ahead, with some areas beginning to work on the second round of projects. Many committee members across Long Island have expressed frustration with the amount of time that it is taking for the projects to move ahead, with questions as to why some projects cannot move ahead concurrently, rather than waiting for the first project to be done to move on to the next one.
Residents are still battling their National Flood Insurance Policy’s claims, saying that they were not paid out the due amount right after the storm. Investigations have taken place looking into potential fraudulent actions by NFIP engineers, short-changing those trying to recover from receiving full payouts needed for their recovery. FEMA, who runs the NFIP program, has reopened the Sandy claims process in an unprecedented move after pressure from local community and elected officials from all levels of government, with cases being reevaluated when requested, and settlement offers being offered. Many say that the settlement offers are not adequate; while others feel that the amounts are proper, allowing them to move the recovery process ahead faster. Flood insurance costs have gone up dramatically for many in the flood zones, with additional increases expected in the future as the NFIP comes to reality with the fact that payouts are far exceeding the amount of money generated from premiums. FEMA has also responded to requests of community leaders and elected officials in New York by changing policies and procedures to the NFIP program; these changes include providing policyholders with all documents created during the course of the flood claim administration process, implementing a national certification process for all engineers retained to provide structural damage assessments, and ensuring the transparency of fees paid to engineering experts by implementing a standardized fee schedule for all engineering services.
One of the most significant findings and recommended actions in a report that was submitted to FEMA through NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was a concern of the Long Island Lobby Coalition pertaining to a lack of clarity in the scope of coverage under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Thousands of homeowners struggled and continue to struggle with insurance claims post-Sandy, with many policy holders being underinsured due to the fact that that they do not understand what their NFIP policies cover, do not cover, and what supplemental policies are available to fill the gap. The report by the Attorney General agreed that there is a lack of clarity in the scope of coverage under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy, and recommended an increase the transparency and clarify the scope of flood insurance coverage and any applicable exclusions, to provide consumers with a better understanding of what is and is not covered under their flood policy, through the creation of a plain language disclosure sheet. FEMA has vowed to make the needed changes.
Another project that has finally gained traction is the $1.2 billion Fire Island to Montuak Point project (FIMP), which will aim to strengthen the barrier beaches of Fire Island, elevate homes and roads, and offer voluntary buyouts and possible relocations for residents in the flood zones. It’s estimated that the project, that has been proposed for over half a century but not funded until after Sandy, will elevate or raze almost 5,000 south shore homes. Some of the beach replenishment projects have already started to take place, providing 15 foot dunes in vulnerable areas, with plans to renourish for 15-30 thereafter as needed. The draft plan went through a round of public input meetings in September, and is now in the process of being refined by the Army Corps of Engineers for full implementation.
You can check out some of the progress that has been made in terms of Sandy recovery and future efforts to create resilience in the Herald, see the NY Attorney General’s recommendations for flood insurance reform, see more about the $1.2 billion FIMP project, and view the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program proposed projects here
New MTA Board Appointees Push for Changes in Priority
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent appointees to the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have formed a three-person rebel faction, questioning some of the panel’s initiatives while also pushing their own, breaking up what some say would be “business as usual” in the MTA board and getting fresh ideas. “We didn’t appoint them to be yes people,” said Anthony Shorris, a deputy mayor who helped select the appointees.
The MTA board oversees the agency that operates the city’s subways and buses, as well as suburban commuter railroads. The agency has a roughly $15 billion operating budget, and a nearly $30 billion capital program. Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Executive Director and Vision Long Island Board member Veronica Vanterpool, and David Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York were nominated by NYC Mayor De Blasio in June to fill vacant positions on the board that are to be appointed by the Mayor. In total, there are 23 members of the MTA board; 6 are appointed by the Governor, 4 by the NYC Mayor, 3 by the MTA Commuter Council, 3 by unions, and 7 by County Executives within the MTA’s realm. Some of the MTA board members appointed by unions, County Executives and the Commuter Council are non-voting members, with a total of 13 voting members as of now. There are currently three vacancies on the Board, two of which will be voting members.
With two of three of De Blasio’s appointees being confirmed by the Governor and NYS Senate, there is a more of a shift towards questioning some of the initiatives of the board, while other ideas are brought to the table. Additionally, there is a more inclusive demographic on the board, with the three Mayoral appointees.Polly Trottenberg, appointed by the Mayor’s office in 2014, Vanterpool are two of three women;. Vanterpool, who is Puerto Rican, and Jones, who is African-American, are two of only three members who aren't white. “Historically, the MTA board has not reflected the riding public,” said Vanterpool, referring to the demographics of Board members. “I’ve been on the other side of fare increases, and I’ve stood witness to the hostility and tensions from riders who feel like this board is completely disconnected from the system.”
Vanterpool said a top priority is getting improvements to buses. Jones said he wants subsidized fares for low-income residents, and Trottenberg’s focus is on a project to replace MetroCards with a more cutting-edge ticketing system.
The new MTA Board members praised the inclusiveness in the process displayed my sitting board members, and it seems to be well received on both sides. “Board members may bring various perspectives from their backgrounds and professions, but in my experience, no one on the board views these or any members as a rebel faction,” said Chairman Tom Prendergast.
You can read more about the changes in the Wall Street Journal and Daily News.
Parts of Suffolk’s Recommended Budget Hurts Most Vulnerable
The following letter was drafted by Vision Board Member and Suffolk County Welfare to Work Commission Chairman Dr. Richard Koubek and sent to the Suffolk County Legislature ahead of revisions to the recommended 2017 Operating Budget.
TO: Members of the Suffolk County Legislature
Re: 2017 Recommended Budget Program Restorations and Taxes
The Welfare to Work Commission writes to you, with urgency and understanding, regarding the serious challenges you face with the 2017 Recommended Budget. In his widely acclaimed address to the U.S. Congress a year ago, Pope Francis said to the members, and to all elected officials beyond that Chamber, “You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good … especially those in situations of greater vulnerability and risk.” We know you feel the weight of this “demanding pursuit” in the face of a structural deficit between $135 and $179 million, while, as the BRO report states, you must “provide services at needed levels.”
It is the mission of our Commission to elevate the needs of vulnerable Suffolk residents at risk. We write just one week after a disturbing Long Island Association report revealed that Long Island’s middle class is shrinking while poor households – defined as those earning under $46,164 - are increasing. This definition of poor households squares with our Commission’s 2012 report on poverty in Suffolk County.
We are especially concerned about the following items in the Recommended Budget that we believe will disproportionately affect poor and vulnerable Suffolk residents:
$1.5 Million DSS Reduction: The BRO reports that this DSS cut will require eligibility for the child-care subsidy available to working-poor families to be reduced from 125 to 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Just last year, eligibility was at 165 percent of FPL. Using national standards, our Commission has consistently recommended that eligibility be set at 200 percent of FPL as it is in Nassau ($48,600 for a family of four.) This is the threshold definition of “poverty” on Long Island. Reducing eligibility from 125 percent of FPL ($30,370) to 100 percent of FPL ($24,300) will burden already-struggling working-poor families. We therefore urge you to restore $1.5 million to the DSS budget since the resulting reduction in eligibility for the child-care subsidy will have these very negative impacts on poor parents in need of child care:
- Some working-poor parents will place their children in unregulated, illegal and, sadly, some in dangerous child-care settings.
- Some working-poor parents will quit their jobs and some may have to enroll in Public Assistance.
- State Child Care Block Grant (CCBG) funding, already too low to meet Suffolk’s child-care needs, will decline because it is based on previous year’s claims, which, due to the lowering of eligibility, will fall even further for Suffolk.
- Elimination of Public Health Nurses: We urge you to restore a $560 thousand reduction in DOH funding for Public Health Nurses because this cut will eliminate critical pre-natal, children’s health, metabolic screening, chronic disease management, child-abuse and neglect programs for low-income families and communities.
- Contract Agency Administrative Fee: Our Commission’s 2012 poverty report outlined the chronic underfunding of many contract agencies who often subsidize County contracts with their own funds in order to meet contracted program expenses. We therefore urge you eliminate the proposed 1 percent administrative fee(which will yield only $84,197 in additional County revenues) since, as the BRO reports, this fee “could have negative fiscal impact on the … contract agencies that provide valuable services to County residents.”
- Elimination of Eight Suffolk Bus Routes: The Commission has already questioned the elimination of eight bus routes that cost $4 million since buses serve a wide array of vulnerable riders – working-poor people, senior citizens, disabled people and students who cannot afford automobiles. We therefore again urge a moratorium on these bus line eliminations until a County demographic and ridership study is completed.
Our Commission understands that the “demanding pursuit” of the common good requires fiscal responsibility. The program restorations we recommend above could require $6 million at a time of serious fiscal crisis. We therefore lift up for your consideration two revenue-raising options included in the BRO report:
- Increase Taxes to the NYS Cap: The BRO notes that the recommended budget calls for tax increases that are $2,000,220 less than what is allowable under the State tax cap. The recommended budget's tax increases will result in an average $36 increase per household. If the tax cap limit were met with an additional $2,000,220 increase in revenues in the General Fund, we estimate that the total additional average household cost would be only about $3.42 or $39.42 annually. As the BRO reports, the General Fund property tax has not been increased for seven years. This $2 million could be used to relieve one or more of the funding problems identified above.
- Pierce the Tax Cap: The BRO states that the Legislature could pierce the tax cap with a supermajority vote. Huntington recently voted to pierce the tax cap. Other towns and villages are considering doing the same. We are estimating that a .5 percent pierce of the tax cap would yield a $3 million revenue increase (beyond the additional $2,000,220 million if the County reached the full tax cap limit) thereby creating an additional $5 million in revenues that could address the budget problems we identified above. Piercing the tax cap by .5 percent would only cost the average taxpayer about $45 a year in total County taxes, which translates into 12 cents a day.
The Commission understands that any call for a tax increase – even one as minor as we propose – could cause each of you some political distress. However, Pope Francis movingly captured the bottom line in your deliberations in his address to Congress: “Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.” Your budget deliberations this year take place amid a national political climate of unprecedented divisiveness, partisan gridlock, personal recrimination and fear. Your vote for a modest tax increase to fund programs that serve vulnerable, working-poor Suffolk residents is indeed “care for the people” and would be a powerful antidote to the poisonous negativity that now afflicts our politics. In addition, it would be a tribute to your personal integrity and courage.
We hope you will fold our recommendations into your deliberations.
St. John's of Huntington to hold Annual Harvest Fair
Saturday October 29th from 10am until 4pm, St. John’s Episcopal Church will be holding their annual Harvest Fair in downtown Huntington. The festival will include live music, Holiday Boutiques, Silent Auction, Luscious Baked Goods, Top Quality Raffle Baskets, Vermont Cheese, White Elephant, Antiques & Fabulous Finds, Casual & Professional Thrift Shop, Hand Crafted Items, and the Canterbury Gift Shop. St. Johns is located in a historic church at the corner of Main Street and Prospect Street across from the library. For more info: http://www.stjohnshuntington.org/st__john_s_harvest_fair
Race2Rebuild 5k for Sandy Residents in Long Beach
Join Race2Rebuild in Long Beach, in partnership with the City of Long Beach, to mark the fourth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and support continued recovery. Run/walk the 5K and kids run one mile on the beautifully restored Boardwalk.
Race2Rebuild brings families home after natural disasters. After the race, participants meet the family that they support, volunteer, and help rebuild their home. There are three ways to participate:
You can help fundraise for the Race2Rebuild Team Long Beach by clicking here
You can sign up as a race volunteer for the October 29th event here
You can register to race/walk for the October 29th event here
Design Professionals of Long Island to Hold 19th Annual Dinner
The Design Professionals Coalition of Long Island will be holding their 19th Annual Dinner, where speakers will discuss Smart Growth on Long Island and the progress that is transforming downtowns, villages and communities into vibrant destinations that are more livable, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible.
Speakers will review their experiences with successfully completed downtown redevelopments, those currently under development and plans and opportunities for the future. Topics will include holistic and comprehensive community-driven downtown revitalization, mixed use, mixed income and transit oriented development, infrastructure, public transportation, redevelopment and open space preservation.
Speakers include Don Monti, President and CEO of Renaissance Downtowns, and Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island. The cost is $75 per person, with reservation. This year’s Dinner will be held at the Milleridge Cottage, 585 North Broadway, in Jericho on Tuesday, November 1st from 6PM-9PM. For more information and to register, please contact Laura Bono at (516) 578-7942
Local Small Businesses Join Town and County Officials at Charting the Course Seminar
All business owners and professionals in the Huntington are invited to attend a seminar, hosted by Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer and Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, to help local businesses gain access to the wide array of services available on the town, county and state levels.
The “Charting the Course” seminar will have multiple speakers addressing business-critical themes, as well as a panel discussion which will bring together regional business, policy leaders, and key government agencies. Vision’s Director will be speaking at the session.
The first “Charting the Course” conference took place in June at Suffolk County Community College at the Selden Campus, featuring opportunities for local and regional businesses and County and State services to network. Local Chamber of Commerce members, Business Improvement Districts and representatives from local villages Northport, Asharoken, Huntington Bay and Lloyd Harbor have been invited to attend.
The seminar will be held at LaunchPad in Huntington, located at 315 Main Street on Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. You can register by email, or by calling (631) 854-4500
Donations and Volunteers Needed for Babylon Ends Hunger
On Saturday, November 5th, the Babylon Rotary Club is organizing its first Babylon Ends Hunger Program in order to help feed the hungry in the community.
In addition to collecting donations, the program hopes to enlist dozens of volunteers to spend two hours each packaging nutritious meal packets. This year’s goal is to package at least 30,000 meals for distribution to local soup kitchens and food pantries, as well as those less fortunate in Haiti, through Friar Supporters.
You can register to volunteer or donate here or contact Megan Noble at (631) 661-5300 for more information.
Hofstra University to Host Suburban Sustainability Symposium
The Hofstra Cultural Center in conjunction with the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra Center will be hosting a Suburban Sustainbility Symposium on Thursday, November 10, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library, First Floor, South Campus.
The suburbs are not often thought of as places where sustainable practices thrive. Yet, there are examples all over the United States where suburban communities are making great strides. Symposium speakers include a range of experts who are working on real-world solutions to suburban sustainability challenges within the realm of environment, economic development, social equity and suburban politics. Schedule is as follows:
9-9:35 a.m. KEYNOTE ADDRESS
John Cameron, Long Island Regional Planning Council
9:35-11 a.m. ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES
James Gennaro, New York City Department of Environmental Conservation; Bernadette Martin, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County; Neal Lewis, Molloy College; and Dr. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University
11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CHANGING SUBURBAN LANDSCAPES
Geri Solomon, Long Island Studies Institute; Lisa Ott, North Shore Land Alliance; Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island; and Sammy Chu, Green Building Council
12:30-2:20 p.m. POLITICAL CHALLENGES KEYNOTE LUNCHEON*
Moderated by Diane Masciale, WLIW21 with Henrietta Davis, Former Mayor, Cambridge, MA; Dr. Ronald Loveridge, Former Mayor, Riverside, CA; and Jack Schnirman, City Manager, Long Beach, NY
RSVP Required. Seating is limited.
2:20-3:45 p.m. HOUSING AND AIR QUALITY
William Achnitz, Community Development Corporation of Long Island; Dr. Martine Hackett and Dr. Christopher Niedt, Hofstra University; and Dr. Viney Aneja, North Carolina State University
3:45-5 p.m. OVER THE RIVER: TRANSFORMING LONG ISLAND EXHIBIT AND RECEPTION
Admission is FREE and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669 or visit hofstra.edu/culture.
2016 Celebration of Suburban Diversity
The 2016 Celebration of Diversity will be taking place on Wednesday, November 11th at 5:30PM at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Dedicated to funding diversity-related scholarships and research at the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, the annual Celebration of Suburban Diversity banquet brings together Long Islanders from across the multicultural spectrum, as well as individuals with disabilities and gay and lesbian communities. The evening is dedicated to the idea – and ideal – that we can be stronger for our differences if we come together to appreciate them.
The Honoree this year is Jean Kelly, Interfaith nutrition network
For more information, please call (516) 463-9770
Attention Baldwin Residents: Public Input Session for the Baldwin Downtown and Commercial Corridor
On November 16th, Nassau County will be holding a public input session for the Baldwin Downtown and Commercial Corridor Resiliency Study. The study seeks to improve both physical resiliency in the face of future storms as well as economic resiliency in the Baldwin community with a focus on its main commercial corridors including Grand Avenue, Milburn Avenue, Sunrise Highway, Merrick Road and Atlantic Avenue. The study is being led by VHB, with Vision Long Island on the consultant team, and the meeting will be an open house format in the Baldwin High School cafeteria from 7-9pm. For more information please visit: http://www.baldwindccrstudy.com/
Attention Hicksville Residents: Update Meeting on Proposed Rezoning Nov. 17th
On November 17th, the Town of Oyster Bay will be hosting a meeting to update the public on the proposed zoning changes to the downtown area of Hicksville. Vision has been working with the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce and the Hicksville Civic organizations since 2010 to develop a Downtown Revitalization Action Plan to improve the area surrounding the train station. Revisions to the existing zoning were among the many recommendations in the plan. The meeting will be at Hicksville High School in Cafeteria A at 7pm. Click here for more information.
Upcoming Huntington Community Summit on Rental Housing
The Huntington Township Housing Coalition and the League of Women Voters of Huntington will be hosting a Community Summit on Rental Housing on Saturday, November 19th from 8:30AM-12PM.
Keeping Our Young People in Huntington: The Need for Affordable Rental Housing and Downtown Revitalization will continue the Town-wide conversation on the need for affordable rental housing that began with Ruland Road and then the HTHC public education campaign, raise awareness and strategize next steps to secure Town Board support.
The Opening Plenary, Cool Downtowns Are Needed and Possible, will feature Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri as the Keynote Speaker, describing the success Patchogue’s revitalization with its emphasis on affordable housing. The Reaction Panel, moderated my Dr. Richard Koubek of the Suffolk County Welfare to Work Commission, will include Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone, Peter Elkowitz of LIHP, Mitch Pally of LIBI, Russell Albanese of the Albanese Organization, and Elissa Kyle from Vision Long Island.
Three breakout sessions (Youth Flight from Huntington, Political and Decision-making Resources for Creating Affordable Rental Housing, and Density and Multifamily Housing: Coping with Sewage, Traffic and Water Conservation) will take place before the Closing Plenary.
Admission to this event, which will take place at the Cinema Arts Centre, is free.
For more information or to register, please click here.
Funding and Technical Assistance Opportunities from EPA and NPS
Local Foods, Local Places 2016-2017 Application
Applications due by November 6, 2016.
Local Foods, Local Places helps communities create more livable neighborhoods by promoting local foods. The program is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority.
The Local Foods, Local Places program will provide selected communities planning assistance that centers around a two-day community workshop. At the workshop, a team of experts will help community members develop an implementable action plan that promotes local food and neighborhood revitalization. Eligible applicants include local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit institutions and organizations proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city of any size anywhere in the United States. We expect that many of the communities we select will be economically challenged and in the early phases of their efforts to promote local foods and community revitalization.
Healthy Places for Healthy People
Applications due by November 6, 2016.
Healthy Places for Healthy People helps communities create walkable, healthy, economically vibrant places by engaging with their health care facility partners such as community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities. The pilot phase of this program is sponsored by EPA and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Healthy Places for Healthy People will provide selected communities with expert planning assistance that centers around a two-day community workshop. A team of experts will help community members develop an implementable action plan that will focus on health as an economic driver and catalyst for downtown and neighborhood revitalization.
Eligible applicants include local government representatives, health care facilities, local health departments, neighborhood associations, main street districts, nonprofit organizations, tribes and others proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city located anywhere in the United States. Applications that include representatives from both the community (local government or non-governmental organization) and a health care facility will receive special consideration.
Cool & Connected Fall 2016 Application
Applications due by November 6, 2016.
Communities interested in using broadband service to revitalize main streets and promote economic development are encouraged to apply for Cool & Connected, a planning program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities. Through Cool & Connected, a team of experts will help community members develop strategies and an action plan for using broadband service to promote smart, sustainable community development. Eligibility:
* Any community representative is welcome to submit an application to participate in Cool & Connected.
* Special consideration will be given to small towns and rural communities that face economic challenges.
* Special consideration will be given to communities in places where USDA has provided loans or grants in support of broadband services.
* Your community should have existing or anticipated broadband service that can be leveraged for community development.
Preservation Technology and Training Grants
Applications due November 3, 2016.
Funding Opportunity Number: P16AS00579
2017 Preservation Technology and Training Grants are intended to create better tools, better materials, and better approaches to conserving buildings, landscapes, sites, and collections. The competitive grants program will provide funding to federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, and non-profit organizations. Grants will support the following activities:
* Innovative research that develops new technologies or adapts existing technologies to preserve cultural resources (typically $25,000 to $40,000)
* Specialized workshops or symposia that identify and address national preservation needs (typically $15,000 to $25,000)
* How-to videos, mobile applications, podcasts, best practices publications, or webinars that disseminate practical preservation methods or provide better tools for preservation practice (typically $5,000 to $15,000)
The maximum grant award is $40,000. The actual grant award amount is dependent on the scope of the proposed activity.
Down Payment Assistance Program Extended for Suffolk County
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined by Legislator Kara Hahn and Community Development officials to announce the extension of the Suffolk County Down Payment Assistance Program this week. The financial program assists first time homebuyers with down payment funds in order to obtain homeownership.
“Having access to homeownership can be critical to the long-term stability of families and helps strengthen communities,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Yet, for many first time homebuyers, coming up with down payment funds is an insurmountable obstacle that can deny them the chance to own a home. This program helps to address that issue.”
Assistance will provide up to $10,000 in grant funding to eligible first time home buyers – helping an additional 35 Suffolk County families. A first-time homebuyer is defined by HUD as a person or persons who have not owned a home in the past three years. Since the program’s inception, Suffolk County has helped more than 1,700 families with down payments on their first homes. The area, known as the consortium area, includes all of Suffolk County, with the exception of Babylon and Islip Townships.
“It is important that we have young people stay here in Suffolk County, to work here, to live and recreate,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. ” I’d like to thank the folks from Community Development to make this a reality for individuals to stay. And it’s great to see that our residents are utilizing of this program.”
Some of the eligibility requirements outside of the “first-time homebuyer” provision include having an income of 80% or less than the area median income, having at least $3000 cash at the time of their application, a documented minimum income of at least $30,000 a year, and being able to qualify for a mortgage. The maximum purchase price for a single-family home, co-op or condominium for the program is $356,000.
Applications for the program are being accepted through November 30, 2016. Residents inside of the consortium area can download the application and view eligibility criteria and other information about the program through the Community Development tab on the County’s website, www.suffolkcountyny.gov. Applications will be accepted by mail only and can also be requested from the Community Development Office at (631) 853–5705. You can also check out News 12 for media coverage regarding the announcement.
Park & Trail Partnership Program
Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, are pleased to announce the second round of competitive grants through the NYS Park and Trail Partnership Program. This program is open to Friends organizations that support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites and is administered by PTNY, in partnership with OPRHP.
The Park and Trail Partnership Program is a $500,000 capacity-building matching grants program funded through the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. The program is designed to enhance the preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and promotion of New York State parks, trails and state historic sites; increase the sustainability, effectiveness, productivity, and volunteer and fundraising capabilities of not-for-profit organizations that promote, maintain, and support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites; and promote the tourism and economic development benefits of outdoor recreation through the growth and expansion of a connected statewide network of parks, trails and greenways.
Applications are due by December 2nd, 2016, and there is a 25% match for the grant. For more information and to apply, click here
$16 Million in Grant Money for Energy-Efficient Housing Construction
As a part of Governor Cuomo’s goal to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is offering $16 million dollars for the design and construction of energy-efficient housing. It has been projected that buildings that take advantage of this support will see yearly savings of 9 million dollars.
"Ensuring New York's buildings are constructed to the highest standards of energy efficiency is crucial to both our long-term sustainability and prosperity of the state,” said Governor Cuomo. "Smart choices about efficiency can simultaneously save money and protect the environment. This investment promotes that principle in order to build healthy communities and save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars."
Half of the 16 million dollars will be offered to builders of low-rise buildings, including single family homes, and the other half is meant for builders of mid- and high-rise buildings that consist of apartment units. Applications for this grant money will be accepted through December 29, 2017, or until funding runs out.
More information about the grant and the application process can be found on NYSERDA’s website.
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.
What's happening on your Main Street this weekend?
Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
To arrange a visit, call 516-571-8011 and for information and brochures, visit their website
For information, visit their website or call 516-822-7505
140 Merrick Road, Amityville
Tickets and more information available here
The YMCA Boulton Center
37 West Main Street, Bay Shore
Tickets and more information available here
Cold Spring Harbor
Showtimes at Islip Cinemas
The John W. Engeman Theater
250 Main Street, Northport
9 Railroad Avenue, Patchogue
Tickets and more information available here
For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665
Bay Street Theater
The Long Wharf, Sag Harbor
Tickets and more information available here
For information, visit their website or call 631-725-0770
For information, visit their website or call 631-268-2494
For information, visit their website.
As the four year anniversary of Sandy approaches, we reflect on what has been done, what still needs to be done, and what can be done better to help residents, businesses, and communities on Long Island that are still struggling to recover and to create resiliency against future events. Many conventional resources have faded away into the sunset as is typical in long-term recovery, but the grassroots community groups that formed after this devastating event continue to push ahead to minimize Sandy's ripple effect.
Although not funded as many large organizations are during disaster, many strides have been made as the flood waters receded, with Friends of Long Island grassroots organizations logging tens of thousands of volunteer hours, raising over $1 million in financial and in-kind donations, bringing thousands of people closer to coming home, and making their communities more resilient towards future events. As we enter the 5th year post-Sandy, the work will continue in order to help Long Island recover and heal from not only the storm, but to correct some of the inadequacies in the way that recovery was handled to make communities stronger in the future.
Eric Alexander, Director; Elissa Kyle, Planning Director;
Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator, Chris Kyle, Administrative
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Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
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