Sustainable Long Island
March 2013 
Sustainable Long Island Newsletter
The one-stop-shop...
For all Sustainable Long Island news! 
In This Issue
Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference
Long Beach Boardwalk Update
Sustainability on Long Island
APA Honors Ron Shiffman
Wyandanch Rising Update
Suffolk Brownfield Land Bank
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Board of Directors

Ruth Negr
n-Gaines: President
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Kevin McDonald: Vice President

The Nature Conservancy   
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Charlotte Biblow, Esq: Secretary

Farrell Fritz, P.C.
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Lauren Furst: Treasurer

Pathways to Wealth, LLC   

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Russ Albanese

Albanese Organization Inc.
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Lennard Axinn

Island Estates   

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Robert Bernard

Capital One Bank 

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Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY College at Old Westbury    

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Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch

Farmingdale State College, State University of New York 

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Pat Edwards

Citi Community Development     
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Amy Hagedorn

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Jeff Kraut

North Shore - LIJ Health System

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Mitchell H. Pally

Long Island Builders Institute

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Ron Shiffman

Pratt Institute

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Mangano, Bergman to Keynote 

Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference 

Friday, April 12, 2013 at the Carlyle on the Green

As we are quickly approaching Friday, April 12, 2013, Sustainable Long Island has announced Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Jonathan C. Bergman, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Texas A&M University-Commerce will keynote the Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference: The Road to Recovery. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy:
  • The Morning Plenary examining Long Islanders' "Road to Recovery" and how we can take this opportunity to rethink, rebuild, and renew our region moving forward. Speakers to date include: 
    • Gary Meltzer | Senior Partner | Meltzer Lippe
    • Mitch Pally | Chief Executive Officer | Long Island Builders Institute
    • Theresa Regnante | President and CEO | United Way of Long Island
    • Jack Schnirman | City Manager | City of Long Beach
    • Jed Morey (Moderator) | Publisher | Long Island Press 
  • Interactive Workshops on topics dealing with the aftermath of a post-Sandy Long Island, including:
    • Profitable Partnerships and Funding Resources 
    • Infrastructure Improvement
    • Health, Healing, and Housing
    • Food System Challenges and Solutions 
  • The 3rd Annual "Getting It Done" Awards honoring those who mobilized our communities and provided disaster relief in the wake of the storm.   
  • Sustainable Samplings Luncheon featuring a taste from dozens of Long Island's premier restaurants. 
Register today to secure your spot at the can't miss event of 2013!
  • Rethink what worked and what failed during Hurricane Sandy
  • Rebuild storm-afflicted communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties  
  • Renew the Long Island region by planning for a sustainable tomorrow
Sponsorship, exhibitor, restaurant, and advertising opportunities are still available! Contact Tammy Severino at 516-873-0230 or tseverino@sustainableli.org for details.

The Future of the Long Beach Boardwalk 

Cost, specifications released; push for stronger materials
Sen. Charles Schumer and city officials held a press conference at National Boulevard, where they called on FEMA to provide funding for a storm-resistant boardwalk. Sustainable LI was in attendance.
(via Newsday) - The new Long Beach boardwalk will be stronger than its predecessor, made of resilient tropical hardwood and furnished with antique aesthetic touches that will remind residents of its appearance decades ago, city officials recently announced.

 

City officials said bids for the rebuilding of the boardwalk -- a project viewed as key for the City's post-Sandy recovery -- will be opened March 28 now that the specifications are nearly in place.

 

"We have a chance to do this and do it right," said Jim LaCarrubba, the City's public works commissioner.

 

The City, working with engineer LiRo of Syosset, prioritized durability in preparing specifications for the boardwalk, LaCarrubba said. They were drawn up after a series of stakeholder meetings in which residents stressed "durability and resistance" and "accessibility to everyone," said Amy Engel of Sustainable Long Island, which helped run the meetings.

 

According to specifications unveiled, the middle half-mile of the century-old, 2.2-mile boardwalk will be a hybrid of wood and concrete.

 

The wooden sections will be made of a "sustainable tropical hardwood" that will be "low maintenance" and stronger than the boards superstorm Sandy destroyed, according to schematics released by the City.

 

The boardwalk will also have a wave-break wall made of vinyl and fiberglass sheeting aimed at preventing the type of damage caused by Sandy.

 

Antique-style lights will adorn the new boardwalk, said Peter Gerbasi, vice president of LiRo.

 

The timeline for rebuilding the boardwalk is dependent on availability of materials during a period when communities throughout the Northeast are recovering from Sandy and in need of the same equipment, city officials said.

 

LaCarrubba said he hopes sections of the boardwalk will be open this summer. Gerbasi said it's reasonable to expect that "most" of the project will be completed by the end of the summer.

 

The City intends to pay for the work with FEMA funds, officials said.

 

Sustainability on Long Island Panel

Hofstra University's Sustainable Futures for Global Cities and Suburbs conference focuses on sustainability issues

Sustainable Long Island recently took part in a panel at the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University's conference: From the Outside In - Sustainable Futures for Global Cities and Suburbs. The panel, Sustainability on Long Island, focused on sustainability issues Long Island faces now and in the future, best opportunities for collaboration among environmental groups, and how Long Island communities would develop over the next decade. Below is just a small sample of some of the discussion that took place between the panelists, which also included
  • Lisa-Marie Pierre, Organizer/Chair, Hofstra University
  • Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment
  • Marielle Robinson, Power Up Communities
  • Lisa Ott, North Shore Land Alliance

What are the most significant opportunities for - and barriers to - building an effective sustainability movement in the region?

  • Opportunities:
    • Collaboration between local organizations, community members, and government.
    • Building partnerships, linking resources, and working from bottom-up.
    • The idea of "think global, act local." The public can take smaller, local-level approaches to advance sustainability; they don't have to become overwhelmed with huge campaigns. Examples: local farmers' markets; shopping locally to stimulate economy; biking to work, carpooling, walking etc:
  • Barriers:
    • Political will; community opposition and NIMBYism; lack of funding availability; time and feasibility; etc.

How much potential exists for collaboration between local environmental groups?

  • Huge potential: Ever since the LIREDC brought millions of dollars of funding to our area there has been a significant, positive shift in local groups - whether it be strictly environment, economy, or both - partnering together to share their leadership, vision, and expertise to form strategic plans, projects, and opportunities.
  • Cohesiveness between these groups can serve as a catalyst for job creation, community revitalization, and sustainable planning.

From your perspective, what are the economic and environmental development priorities for Long Island?

  • Priorities include providing every Long Islander with access to a thriving economy; a healthy environment; access to public transportation; clean land; water and air; a racially and ethnically diverse population; parks, community centers and recreational opportunities; a range of housing options; thriving downtowns; safe streets and neighborhoods; access to quality and affordable food; and employment opportunities.

 

American Planning Association Honors Sustainable LI Board Member Ron Shiffman 

Will receive APA's highest award as "Planning Pioneer"
 

APA's National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards honor the best planning efforts and individuals that create communities of lasting value. Sustainable Long Island Board Member Ron Shiffman will be honored with the Association's highest award, "Planning Pioneer," at its National Planning Conference in April. Below, take a look at some of a recent Q+A session between the New York Times and Mr. Shiffman, where he discussed his career and his teaching of planning and sustainable development at Pratt Institute.

Ron Shiffman, an Israeli-born, Bronx-raised urban planner and a Park Sloper long before the Slope was chic, has spent half a century trying to make New York a more livable city. The journalist Jack Newfield once wrote that Mr. Shiffman "has saved more New York neighborhoods than Robert Moses has destroyed."  

 

Many of Mr. Shiffman's fellow New Yorkers would agree. He is a former member of the New York City Planning Commission and the recipient of the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership. A burly, voluble bear of a man, Mr. Shiffman is at 74 also deeply engaged in of-the-moment issues. His efforts to make New York's residential neighborhoods more environmentally healthy have resonated throughout the city.  

 

Q Is green real estate a fad?

A: On the contrary, it's a necessity. With our mass transit, density and good bones, New York has the framework for being a more sustainable place. But if we don't take advantage of these benefits, we'll suffer. And as we learned from Hurricane Sandy, we have to develop good plans. We have to adapt to rising sea levels and to more severe storms, which will determine how and where we build. We have to create buildings that are both resilient and sustainable.  

 

Q What are the benefits of making New York a greener city?

A: Making New York greener will make it more pleasant. It will lead to a vastly improved environment, one that's more beautiful and has more open spaces where people can gather. There will be more trees and plants to absorb water, reduce heat from sidewalks, provide more shade and have a cooling effect on hot days.  

 

Q Some people think that a greener New York is simply a matter of sealing up windows so heat doesn't escape. What's your answer to them?

A: There's a lot of misinformation out there. Avoiding heat loss certainly results in a healthier environment and makes buildings cheaper to operate. But the larger issues involve reducing and recycling waste and reducing our need for natural resources. And of course less waste means less pollution.  

 

Q Is New York going green fast enough?

A: No place is going green fast enough. But the danger is that because people feel that they can't do enough, they throw up their hands and do nothing.  

 

Q In terms of being a green building, what's better - a tower or low-rise?

A: It's not an issue. You can have low-rise buildings that are environmentally sound - look at Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, with its interior courtyards. But although density is important, the solution isn't just to create more density. Parts of New York are too dense. There has to be optimal density, and that depends on a proper infrastructure.  

 

Q What can average New Yorkers do to make their buildings greener?

A: A lot. They can buy nontoxic cleaners and water-based paint, and get rid of all the toxic hazardous materials like turpentine under their sinks. One reason the Rockaways were so polluted after Sandy is that people's basements were filled with hazardous materials. They can make their hot-water systems more efficient. They can paint a black roof white so it reflects heat and keeps their house cooler.  

 

Q If you had one message for New Yorkers who want  be greener, what would it be?

A: I'm not good at sound bites. But I'd tell them that going green is not something to fear but something to embrace, something that will protect their children and grandchildren.  

 

Q What's your answer to New Yorkers who don't believe that climate change is a problem?

A: I'd re-frame the argument. I'd ask them: Do you want to pay less for energy? Do you want to live in a building with more light and fresher air? Do you want a cleaner city, one with less soot? Do you want to have to depend on a car to get around, especially as you get older, the way you do in places like New Rochelle? Set aside the issue of climate change. Think about what will make your living conditions better.  

 

Q What's the price tag for a greener city?

A: Studies show that with a green building, you can save 20 to 70 percent in operating costs for items like fuel, electricity and repairs. With more greenery, you lower heating and air-conditioning costs, a big issue now that we have more 100-plus-degree days a year.  

 

Q You seem to have retained much of the idealism of your youth. Why has that idealism stayed with you?

A: I've had a unique opportunity. As a teacher, I've always worked with young people, and I've always worked with real people - not just bureaucrats or academics - to solve real problems. I've been moved by their needs and their creativity to find new solutions.

 

Wyandanch Rising Plan Forging Ahead
Sustainable LI remains engaged in the process

In just a few months, the 'Wyandanch Rising" project's master developer, Albanese Organization, hopes to break ground on an apartment building, which would be the initiative's first major construction. The 'Rising' initiative started in 2003, with Sustainable Long Island remaining engaged in the implementation ever since. Read below for Newsday's story on the latest developments.

 

(via Newsday) - Build it, and they will come.

 

That's the belief being banked on by the master developer for the $500 million Wyandanch Rising revitalization project.

In just a few months, the project's master developer, Albanese Organization Inc. of Garden City, hopes to break ground for an apartment building, which would be the initiative's first major construction.

 

Wyandanch Rising is the Town of Babylon's public-private effort to revitalize the hamlet's downtown. It includes building a transit plaza near the Long Island Rail Road station, creating mixed-use buildings and completing the sewer line down Straight Path that has been under construction for more than a year.

 

The sewer work suffered delays in part due to Superstorm Sandy, said Jonathan Keyes, the Town's head of downtown revitalization. But, he said, "it didn't knock us off, we're still moving forward."

 

The mixed-use buildings and transit plaza are central components of the revitalization, Keyes said. Located on Straight Path north of the LIRR station, the two buildings will be connected by a passageway and have a public plaza between them. A third, commercial building is being designed.

 

Plans originally called for four buildings with both rental and condo units, but the two buildings being constructed will be just rental. "We could not interest lenders in providing loans for ownership," Albanese executive vice president George Aridas said. He added it "wasn't Wyandanch-oriented; it was a general real estate market reaction."

 

The buildings, which will also have retail space, will be on the site of a former shopping center, which the town purchased in 2011 through eminent domain for nearly $3 million. Aridas said he has been in talks with some of the shopping center's tenants, as well as with restaurants and commuter-oriented businesses, but none have committed.

 

"I'd love to have somebody come in and say, 'Let me sign that piece of paper and guarantee you rent,' " he said. "But if I can't show them I'm in construction that tends to be more of an empty promise."

 

Albanese has amassed $65 million to $70 million for the two buildings in the form of private capital, syndication of tax credits, state subsidies and debt, Aridas said. The largest source of funding on the first building -- $17 million -- is from federal tax credits for affordable housing, which will make up 56 percent of the first building and 65 percent of the second, Aridas said.

 

"There's not a lot of this type of unit on Long Island," he said. "It's one of the reasons why we lose a lot of our younger folks because we don't give them an opportunity to have a place to live that isn't doubling up or someone's basement or an illegal two bedroom."

 

Aridas said his company aims to break ground in May and start renting out units next fall. He said that as long as the economy continues to slowly improve, he is not worried about finding tenants.

 

"You mention Wyandanch to people, and sometimes they look at you like you have two heads," Aridas said. "But when people see the public improvements that are going in and when they see the beauty of these buildings and sort of get the idea of a walkable community, I don't have a lot of concerns about the receptivity of the market."

 

Suffolk Brownfield Land Bank 

New York State approves Suffolk County's request

(via Long Island Business News) - Last month, Empire State Development Corporation approved Suffolk County's request to create a land bank so it can speed the remediation of brownfield properties.

 

A nonprofit entity, the land bank will give the County discretion to acquire, dispose of at auction or redevelop tax foreclosed properties, including brownfield sites previously unsuitable for acquisition.

 

There are currently 133 brownfield sites in eight of Suffolk's 10 towns that may be eligible for remediation through the land bank, according to the County's Department of Economic Development and Planning. The properties total 265.9 acres and represent more than $28 million in uncollected tax revenue.

 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone developed the land bank concept in consultation with Legis. DuWayne Gregory, D - Amityville, and Legis. Tom Cilmi, R - Bay Shore, during 2012.

 

The land bank also establishes a board of directors of the corporation that includes representation from the County Executive's Office, the Legislature, Town government and the environmental community. The first brownfield properties will be transferred from the county to the land bank during the third quarter of this year.

 

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These challenging economic times have magnified the problems we Long Islanders face each and every day. With our leaders warning us of tougher times to come, thinking regionally and acting locally is urgent. It is in all of our best interests to stay engaged and do what we can together to build a more sustainable Long Island.

 

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