Tags Posts tagged with "Town of Huntington"

Town of Huntington

The Huntington-based Main St. Board Game Cafe has had to let staff go in the hopes of surviving. They are still selling board games to-go. Photo from Board Game Cafe Facebook

By Kyle Barr and Leah Chiappino

As Monday rolled around this week, and as local businesses were looking to find ways to attract customers during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, a new order handed down by New York State put most of those considerations on hold.

On Monday, March 16, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered many nonessential businesses to shut down, or in the case of restaurants, to lessen foot traffic and only allow takeout orders and deliveries.

PJ Cinemas has closed due to the state’s coronavirus mandates. Photo from Google Maps

“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our health care system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” Cuomo said. “I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols, but in their absence, we are taking this on ourselves.”

New York State, Connecticut and New Jersey will all be limiting social meetings of any sort to 50 people. Movie theaters, gyms and casinos were closed starting at 8 p.m. Monday.

The governor also announced restaurants and bars will be closed to sit down service and would need to refocus on takeout.

PJ Cinemas already announced closure until they, “receive further guidance from state, local and federal authorities.” All ticket sales will stay valid until they reopen.

Local elected officials said the restrictions were due to people’s reports that numerous bars had high activity over the weekend, despite warnings.

“We are discussing ways to make sure that it is enforced,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D). “We expect bars and restaurants will comply … by and large we’ve had great compliance from people.”

Businesses and local business groups took the news with a mix of understanding and worry. Most understood the reason why the state has taken such drastic measures but could hardly fathom how this might impact them long term. The change could not just mean shuttered businesses for the next few weeks, but permanent closures.

Jennifer Dzvonar, the president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, said local businesses are the “lifeblood of the community,” and times such as these require the community to come out in support, whether it’s ordering takeout from restaurants or buying vouchers or gift certificates.

The difficulties will be severe. As people are asked to stay home, some away from work, less will have money to spend. She said service businesses, including plumbers, carpenters and the like, will be hard hit since less have the money to spend.

Jennifer Dzvonar, the PJS/T Chamber president, said local businesses will be hit hard by the state mandates. File Photo

“Businesses need as much positive reinforcement as possible,” Dzvonar said.

She added businesses also often sponsor Little Leagues or other community events, so while the governor’s order is in effect such groups may have to go without for the time being.

Other chamber leaders in the area wrote quickly to members to try and offer assistance. 

Gary Pollakusky, the president of the Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce, said he is especially worried about businesses shutting down permanently. 

“When we look at our small businesses as the lifeblood of our communities, we should be focused on our mom and pop shops, more than ever in this time of need,” he said.

Jane Taylor, the executive director of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, said restaurants providing takeout meals is a good bridge until business returns to normal, but, “There is no question that our local businesses and restaurants are going to face challenges.” 

Northport Chamber of Commerce President James Izzo says the impact of the restrictions on the village could be devastating.

“Small businesses especially are trying to keep their [employees] paid, and it’s difficult to do that with no money coming in,” he said.

He added most village restaurants are trying to focus on takeout, removing or making their seating inaccessible. Most are trying to deliver food, which can be expensive.

“There’s two sides to this,” Izzo said. “You have some people who are afraid to come out who need food, need to eat and need supplies, and you have other people that want to come down, but everything is so limited. We have bars, but they don’t serve food, and you can’t have more than 10 people in a space, so that’s a done deal.”

Some boutique stores are open, but most are trying to supplement the lack of foot traffic with online shopping.

Izzo said that the village was quiet with minimal traffic Tuesday afternoon, while Sunday was busy with foot traffic.

“You can’t make a living one day a week,” he said. “We are a seasonal community and businesses depend on this time of the year after a long cold dark winter.”

He said the mood in the village is still hopeful, though uncertain.

“This is uncharted territory and everyone is trying to figure it out day by day,” he said.

Merchants are talking about using vehicles owned by the village to deliver meals to those in need. The chamber is working on providing advertising to businesses for free, to promote their delivery services or online products.

Izzo, a real estate broker, says the impact to his business has been minimal, stating most of his work is done online. Open houses have been slower than usual at this time of year, but not completely dead. However, he is anxious to see what this upcoming weekend will bring, in the wake of the new restrictions.

“This is uncharted territory and everyone is trying to figure it out day by day.”

— James Izzo

“A lot can change in six days, we will have to see what happens,” he said.

Copenhagen Bakery and Cafe has had to close its seating but is still open for takeout. The owner,  Flemming Hansen, says that most of the business is in takeout baked goods, and while the number of customers is down, there has been a steady flow of people purchasing breads and soups.

“So far we’re doing alright,” he said. “We’re taking it day by day.”

He added that cake sales have dropped, as people are not having gatherings.

Neil Goldberg, the owner of Main Street Board Game Café in Huntington, said the restrictions have forced him to lay off the entire staff in hopes of buying time.

“Nobody is going to make any money, it’s just about keeping the doors open,” he said.

The cafe’s purpose normally is to be a place where people can come in, socialize and play board games; however, they have had to eliminate all food services, besides prepackaged drinks and are only selling games.

“It’s not worth it for us to turn the ovens on,” he said.

He added the store had some purchases “from people who realize that they’re going to need more entertainment than just watching TV and watching the news.”

The cafe will offer curbside delivery of games and are looking to offer delivery services within a 15-mile radius in the coming days.

Goldberg said the local village businesses are checking in on each other and sharing advice and ideas.

“There’s no plan for this,” he said. “Nobody has insurance for this, because it doesn’t exist, and all you can do is lean on each other and hope things will improve.”

Despite all of this, Goldberg has seen moments of humanity. On Tuesday, former employees came in and bought games to help the shop stay afloat. Then, a mother, who has a son that plays in a game tournament at the shop, bought $1,000 worth of gift cards.

“That was really moving,” he said. 

Goldberg added the best way to support small businesses during this time is to patronize them as much as possible.

“Gift cards are good because, you will eventually use them and you are essentially providing a no-interest loan to the business that you like,” he said. “Honestly, the best thing that you can do is to stay socially distant so we can get through this quicker. Everything that everybody is doing is just Band-Aids at this point to a large problem, and the best thing for businesses is for things to go back to the way they were.”

Meanwhile, federal officials in the House and Senate are considering an aid bill to help workers. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide free testing, extend the unemployment payment period and offer paid sick leave and emergency leave for workers in companies with 500 or less employees. The latter could exempt companies with 50 or fewer employees if that measure would bankrupt the company.

President Donald Trump (R) has called for a $850 billion aid stimulus to major companies such as airlines impacted by the spread of the virus. The White House has also suggested deferring tax payments and even sending home checks to every American to cushion the blow of being out of work. As of press time, details have been sporadic, and the president’s office has flip-flopped on several initiatives already.

The Village of Port Jefferson declared a state of emergency March 16, after both the state and Suffolk County declared theirs. As of Tuesday, March 17, Village Hall and all village-owned facilities are closed to the public. Further board of trustee meetings will be held remotely, along with the budget presentation that was planned for March 30. The executive order only ends after a further order from the village mayor.

“The only thing we can do is ask residents to continue to support the local businesses.”

— Margot Garant

According to Mayor Margot Garant, the executive order allows code enforcement to enforce the new restrictions on businesses. 

“The only thing we can do is ask residents to continue to support the local businesses,” she said, adding those stores are “going to adapt, they will find means to keep those businesses viable.”

Barbara Ransome, the executive director of the PJ village chamber, said the chamber is working on a social media campaign encouraging takeout pickups and deliveries.

With nobody really able to say how long life will be disrupted because of COVID-19, the true consequences of this loss of business are still unknown. 

“My mother always used to say you can live with anything bad as long as you know it’s not long term, or you see it ending,” Ransome said.

Businesses, she said, are all hedging on when that end finally arrives.

File photo

Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) issued an executive order declaring a disaster
emergency in the town Thursday, March 12.

The executive order authorizies the closure of some town facilities as additional measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“In an abundance of caution, the town is temporarily closing some of our facilities to ensure
vulnerable members of our community are not put at unnecessary risk,” Lupinacci said. “Declaring an emergency allows us to suspend competitive bidding procedures for the purchase of critical supplies and services, deny entry at any town facility to individuals presenting symptoms or meeting the criteria of exposure for coronavirus, and appoint personnel to fill vacancies or perform emergency services and duties.”

HUNTINGTON TOWN HALL

Town Hall remains open however additional signage and a more thorough screening of visitors will be implemented starting Friday, March 13. Visitors who appear symptomatic will be denied entry to town facilities.

ANIMAL SHELTER (DOG SHELTER ONLY)

The Town of Huntington Animal Shelter, located at 106 Deposit Road, East Northport, is closed
to visitors and volunteers after an employee called in to report symptoms Thursday, March 12.  Staff will continue to take in new dogs to the facility, greeting drop-offs at the front entrance to the shelter during normal hours of operation and will be taking care of the animals at the shelter. Calling the shelter ahead of your visit at 631-754-8722 is suggested but not required. The shelter is scheduled to reopen on Monday, March 16.

SENIOR DIVISION

The Town of Huntington Senior Center, located at 423 Park Avenue, Huntington, and Senior
Division facilities will be closed indefinitely beginning Friday, March 13, including the Adult Day
Care facility, the Senior Beach House, located at 239 Little Neck Road, Centerport, and all Senior
Clubs.

Congregate Meals (frozen meals) will be available during normal hours for pickup at the
Senior Center facility (employees will bring the frozen meals outside). There is no change to the
Home Delivered Meal Program, Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program, or Residential Repair Services. Employees will be on-hand to answer calls from residents during normal hours at 631-351-3253.

HART BUS FIXED ROUTES and PARATRANSIT

HART Bus Fixed Route Service and Paratransit Service remain unaffected; however, residents are
urged to avoid riding HART buses if presenting symptoms or if they meet any of the criteria for
exposure. Healthy individuals should only use HART for essential travel.

PARKS and RECREATION

The Parks and Recreation Department has cancelled Saturday programs serving special needs
individuals. The Dix Hills Ice Rink remains open.

More information can be found at www.HuntingtonNY.gov,.

Lupinacci urged members of the public and town employees who are sick, showing symptoms of coronavirus or at-risk to stay home and call their doctor to schedule an appointment.

Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer points to a chart showing the impact discovery law changes have had on small municipalities. Photo by David Luces

Town supervisors in Suffolk County say recent criminal justice reform has caused “unintended consequences” to municipalities and local code enforcement. They are asking the state to exempt small municipalities from new guidelines, among other things. 

The issue they have is with the state’s new discovery provisions, which require names and contact information for complaints to be turned over within 15 days of arraignment. In turn, it has eliminated anonymity, which many municipalities rely on when it comes to handling code violations. 

“You’re not going to call, you’re not going to complain, what does that do for the quality of life?”

— Ed Romaine

Rich Schaffer (D), Town of Babylon supervisor and chair of the county Democratic committee, said at a March 5 press conference they usually receive a lot of anonymous tips from concerned residents but have noticed many are not willing to come forward with the new changes. 

“They don’t want to put their names down, and quite frankly we don’t want to [either],” he said. “We want to be able to go after the offenders and educate them on how to clean up their act and be a good neighbor.”

A letter signed by all of the county’s town supervisors was sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in January. The group said with the new standards in how case information is turned over to the courts, it means there are currently no distinctions between a homicide case and a “municipal code violation for high grass.” 

The supervisors said the reform was rushed through the legislature and didn’t give municipalities enough time to formulate a public education campaign. In addition, the changes hurt them on a local level because the state “got involved in things that we didn’t need their involvement in,” Schaffer said.

Supervisors also complained the requirement for after issuing a summons, a court date must be set within 20 days. Officials said it used to take a month to process cases, but now there are four additional “hoops to jump through” to process a complaint. A case could take up to two years to be resolved.

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said the criminal justice reform has had a “chilling effect on code enforcement.” 

“So now, if you live next to a guy that has a house with two illegal apartments and four or five unregistered vehicles and trash on the property, if you call, we are obligated by state law to tell the guy next door that you called,” he said. “You’re not going to call, you’re not going to complain, what does that do for the quality of life?”

The four supervisors called on the state Legislature to pass a bill that would allow townships to handle their own code enforcement cases and reinstate anonymity.  

State Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) and state Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) are proposing bills that would allow anonymity for those reporting local code violations, let municipalities take these cases out of district court and allow them to create their own administrative bureau. 

Chad Lupinacci (R), Town of Huntington supervisor, said many of the problems discussed can be eliminated if municipalities had their own administrative bureau. Huntington is one of three municipalities in the state to have one. 

“The bureau should be up and running sometime in May,” he said. “Code enforcement officers, instead of having to comply with these changes, will be able to just enforce the code and ensure that neighborhoods are safer.”

Brookhaven assistant attorney David Moran said they will work in compliance with the law but called it an “unfunded mandate” with no real direction given how to be in compliance. 

Schaffer said he’s volunteering Babylon to be the guinea pig regarding not following the new law and seeing what comes out of it. 

“I’d like to be the test case to challenge the system,” he said.

Northport power plant. File photo

When the Town of Huntington’s planning board originally authorized in 1965 a site plan for the Northport power plant’s first generating unit on the shores of the Long Island Sound, the impact on the greater safety, health and general welfare of the community was an overarching concern. In fact, the town’s approval stipulated that plant operators were required to submit emissions reports to the town, which were subject to regular review by town officials. 

Today, the plant has expanded to four units, and while the town is still searching for records, officials do not know the last time the plant submitted an emission report from on-site monitors for a review. Town attorney Nick Ciappetta said the town is reviewing whether or not it has monitoring authority. The EPA and DEC, he said, have jurisdiction over plant emissions. 

Some lawmakers firmly disagree, and State Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) is calling for action. 

“The town has had more power than it’s realized,” he said. “It should take whatever action it needs to take.”  

Gaughran said he regularly drives past the plant and smells foul odors. Last year, he requested a state health investigation after learning that graduates of Northport High School Class of 2016 were diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, after community members said they want to know if the plant’s emissions are a factor. 

State health department investigators have now expanded their study to look at cancer rates in a broader population to look for patterns. (See story on Page A3) With that investigation underway, Gaughran finds it prudent to take steps to better protect the community. 

Town Council member Joan Cergol agrees. 

“If the Town, in its rezone of the property, or any of its agencies or boards in the 1960s imposed conditions on LILCO to protect the health and safety of Huntington residents, then it stands to reason that its successors should be bound by the same,” she said.

It is unclear what action if in any will be taken, but some are saying additional precautions would be prudent. 

Danielle DeSimone is one several young adults diagnosed with leukemia from the Northport High School Class of 2016, who received a bone marrow transplant and is now in remission. She said she would absolutely support any policies that would better protect the public’s health. 

“May no more families be faced with this burden unnecessarily,” she said in an email. 

As the state’s health investigation continues, and as the town bears the additional burden of fighting LIPA and National Grid, spending $4.2 million to date, many people are looking at the plant with a discerning eye. 

According to the DEC, the Northport Power Plant emissions are in severe violation of state and federal the air pollution standards for nitrous oxide and VOCs, which contribute to ozone. When inhaled, ozone chemicals react chemically with many biological molecules in the respiratory tract, the EPA reports, leading to adverse health effects.

It’s difficult to know whether or not a specific environmental toxin will cause a particular individual to develop cancer or other diseases, according to a 2003 report “Cancer and the Environment” published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

But significant sources of VOCs are chemical plants, gasoline pumps, oil-based paints, autobody shops, and print shops. Nitrogen oxides result primarily from high temperature combustion. Significant sources are power plants, industrial furnaces and boilers, and motor vehicles, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation Permit Review Report from February 2019.

In response to inquiries,  National Grid spokesperson Wendy Ladd said, “we submit our emissions report to the EPA and NY DEC.”

The DEC states that ozone is a regional air pollutant and most human and economic activity in the NYC metro area contribute in some way to ozone exceedences. 

“If the DEC finds any facility poses an imminent threat to public health or the environment, the agency works to address the situation immediately,” said DEC spokesman Kevin Frazier.  

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that the Town Attorney Nicholas Ciappetta said that the town had no authority over emissions monitoring.  The town is actually still reviewing the matter. (updated 1/29/2020)

Dogs will be permitted into Huntington’s Heckscher Park begining Jan. 1. Photo by Media Origins

On Jan. 1, the Town of Huntington will begin a three-month pilot program to allow leashed dogs in Heckscher Park, subject to certain limitations. If the trial period is successful, the pilot will extend in three-month increments to gather data from use of the park in different seasons.

The program is the result of a town board resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol (D), developed in response to a petition that circulated this past summer calling for better access to the park for dogs and their owners.

Greenlawn resident Karen Thomas helped draft and circulate the successful petition campaign this past summer.

“Over 2,500 dog owners have spoken and the Huntington board listened,” said Thomas.

Cergol announced her position on opening up the park to dogs on a trial basis in a Sept. 5 Times of Huntington news article. The resolution she drafted was unanimously approved at the town’s Oct. 16 board meeting.

“The relationship between dogs and humans continues to evolve, and it is becoming increasingly common to see dog owners and their canine family members together in public places,” Cergol said. “I am excited that we are about to extend this option at Huntington’s downtown signature park and look forward to our partnership with [the nonprofit Long Island Dog Owners Group] in ensuring the pilot program’s success.”

LI-DOG is a nonprofit advocacy group looking to increase access for dog owners to public spaces. It’s president, Ginny Munger Kahn, was designated as the lead public education campaign coordinator.

“Our job is to make sure all the dog owners know that it’s in their best interest to follow the basic guidelines,” she said. “Overall, respect other park users. That’s the key.”

Specifically, this means keeping dogs on a leash less than 6-feet long and under control. No retractable leashes are allowed, and people are limited to no more than two dogs per individual. People are also expected to clean up after their dogs once they do their business. People, Kahn said, are good with this part.

“People have precedence over dogs on the path,” Kahn said. “Step off the path onto the grass as people pass by unimpeded.”

Heckscher Park’s trails, which are more narrow than other town pathways, suggest that this is an important part of the guidelines to remember.

Cergol formed an advisory committee that includes representatives of her staff, various town departments, LI-DOG and the town’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities to create the educational program. The group has met twice and has developed program guidelines from those gatherings and individual conversations.

The committee has so far planned to post signage at various spots in the park, including all the major entrances. A video to be aired on the town’s government access television channel and on its social media pages and LI-DOG’s pages will demonstrate what is allowed and what is not. They’ve also developed informational cards to hand out to dog owners in the park.

“We believe ultimately having leashed dogs in the park is a really good thing,” Kahn said. “For one thing, dogs influence socializing among people who don’t know each other.”

They also deter geese, which are fouling the parks pathways.

 

Government officials, Town of Huntington Public Safety officers, the Town of Huntington Fire Marshall and members of the Huntington and Dix Hills Fire Departments came together to announce that the Town of Huntington will be cracking down on people who choose to violate the law and park in marked handicapped spaces and fire zones. The town will be ramping up their efforts and will be out making sure to check that all cars parked in handicapped spaces have valid permits.

“The holiday season is here and parking lots are full. When there is an unoccupied handicapped parking space, it is tempting to park there for just for a few minutes to quickly run into a store. Parking in handicapped spaces violates the law. Valid permit holders must then park further away forcing them to walk longer distances endangering their health or they return home unable to do their shopping. We must remember that only those that have a valid New York State permit are permitted to park there.” stated Councilman Cuthbertson. “Parking in marked fire zones puts everyone at risk by obstructing those areas that are reserved for first responders in case of emergencies or evacuations. Please consider people’s needs before you park in a place that inconveniences another person or puts lives at risk just to park closer to the entrance of the store”

For anyone who chooses to park illegally in a handicapped parking space will receive a minimum fine of $230. If you park in a fire zone you can expect a minimum fine of $200. Both carry maximum fines from $600 to $630.

Supervisor Lupinacci stated “The Town is doing everything it can to ensure accessible parking is available for those who need it. This year, we made substantive amendments to the Traffic Code that introduces real consequences when there is a failure to respond to a parking ticket, which is making drivers think twice about parking in handicap spaces.”

“It is imperative to remember to respect the designated handicapped parking spaces and those who need them, especially this time of year. The Town of Huntington will be enforcing parking restrictions and any infractions will be met with a high fee. Park a little farther away during your trips around town and enjoy the crisp holiday air” said Councilman Edmund Smyth.

For anyone that would like to request a New York State Disability Parking Permit application can contact to Town Clerk’s office at 631-351-3206 or online athttp://www.huntingtonny.gov/disability-permits

Assemblyman Steve Stern and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone outside Bon Bons Chocolatier in downtown Huntington Nov. 25.

On Nov. 25 New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) unveiled a series of state legislative proposals intended to help small businesses on Long Island.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy,” Stern said. “They employ half of New York’s private sector workforce and generate nearly $190 billion in payroll receipts, according to the Small Business Administration. Given these statistics, it is imperative that New York State move forward with a business-friendly agenda that supports local economies and fosters our suburban neighborhood quality of life.”

The announcement was held at Bon Bons Chocolatier, a local family-owned business located in the heart of downtown Huntington for 40 years. The announcement came just prior to Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, which encourages consumers to shop locally at the start of the holiday shopping season.

In addition to the owners of Bon Bons, the officials were joined by a host of local chambers of commerce and business advocacy organizations including representatives from the Long Island Association, Long Island Business Council, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers of Commerce, Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and Melville Chamber of Commerce. They all applauded the initiatives and welcomed the extra exposure and promotion for small local businesses as the holiday shopping season kicks off.

“Small businesses are vital to our downtown communities. Not only are they the backbone of our local economy, they are what makes Long Island such a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family,” said Bellone.

“Small businesses are vital to our downtown communities. Not only are they the backbone of our local economy, they are what makes Long Island such a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family.”

-Steve Bellone

“The new measures Assemblyman Stern has laid out will help strengthen our brick and mortar shops and ensure they have the tools and resources they need to thrive.”

The business-friendly agenda, which will be up for consideration when the New York State Legislature re-convenes in January, includes the following innovative legislative proposals:

• SMALL BUSINESS INCOME TAX EXEMPTION EXPANSION: increases the corporate tax threshold by $100,000 for businesses and farms that employ at least one person and lowers the rate from 6.5 to 4 percent. Coupled with other incentives, these changes are estimated to save small businesses $300,000,000 statewide (A.6309).

• NEW YORK STATE INNOVATION VOUCHER PROGRAM: provides direct funding to eligible small businesses with dollar-for-dollar matching funds to acquire expertise from our outstanding local colleges and universities, government laboratories and public research institutes and facilitate innovation and job creation in New York State (A.45).

• REDUCING COMMUTING COSTS AND BUSINESS EXPENSES THROUGH TAX INCENTIVES: designed to enable workers to offset commuting costs (by as much as $265 per month) and save employers through reduction of payroll tax liability; this plan may also reduce traffic congestion and pollution with mass transit incentives. (A.7264).

• SMALL BUSINESS TAX-DEFERRED SAVINGS ACCOUNT PROGRAM: allows small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to deposit profits into a tax-deferred savings account as an incentive for both job creation and economic development in New York State (A.7693).

• FUTURE OF WORK COMMISSION: to study and research the impact of technology on workers, employers and the economy of the state of New York and develop a plan to keep the state’s economy competitive, durable, equitable and sustainable while protecting and strengthening middle-class jobs for a new generation of New Yorkers (A.8446).

The proposals, officials said, all represent “outside the box” approaches to help retain our existing businesses and attract new ones through a combination of tax incentives, collaborations with colleges, universities and research institutions and proactive anticipation of new technological advancements.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Long Island’s economy and thus I commend Assemblyman Stern’s plan to lower taxes and reduce costs that would help these companies grow and succeed,” said Kevin Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association.

The Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers of Commerce stated that brick and mortar businesses, offices, manufacturing and service contractors are at a disadvantage when the economy turns. The proposed legislation, they said, allows small businesses the opportunity to save “tax free” in good times and establish that rainy day account.

“As policy makers, we have an obligation to listen to the concerns of our local business community and work together to create a business-friendly environment to keep our homegrown workforce on Long Island both now and for generations to come,” Stern said. “I am proud to support these innovative measures, which are key to sustaining and growing our local economy, and I urge my colleagues in the State Legislature to do the same.”

by -
0 284

Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) has announced the launch of the Passport Parking app, which has made paying for metered parking more convenient since its deployment at the Huntington LIRR station on Oct. 17. It is already being used by parking patrons in Huntington village, even before deployment of signage for a full launch has been completed.

    “We did a quiet launch to work out any issues with the deployment before promoting it to the public and it appears that the app has been very well-received — it’s very easy to use,” said Lupinacci. “We’re already seeing people use the app in Huntington village, where our team is completing signage installation but the app is already active.”

The Passport Parking app is an alternative to paying at the meter for metered parking on Railroad Street, Broadway and in Municipal Lot 15, where the Huntington LIRR station house is located. Passport Parking signage now appears near the on-street spots and in the parking lot at the Huntington LIRR station displaying zone numbers.

Lupinacci added: “The app is more convenient when it’s raining and for commuters trying to catch a train. You never need to use a parking meter again.”

Passport Parking is active for all metered parking at the Huntington LIRR station and in Huntington village. The Town expects to complete the installation of Passport Parking Zone decals on parking meters and on the numbered poles marking metered parking spaces in Huntington village this week. Zones are broken down by street. The zone decals on the numbered poles in the village will be visible from the street as the driver pulls into the space, enabling payment from a cellphone inside the vehicle. Stand-alone zone signs will also be installed in the various zones in the village after the decal placement is completed.

In the meantime, anyone can view the Passport Parking Zone numbers, assigned by street, on the Town website to pay for parking with the app now: www.huntingtonny.gov/parking-app.

  “Complaints related to parking meters at the train station have dropped to zero since the roll-out of the app,” said Peter Sammis, director of public safety, which oversees the parking meter team.

During a five-person Request for Proposal  evaluation performed by the Town’s Department of Public Safety, Passport Parking had a significant existing install base, providing the best quality of service, cost, uptime, data integrity and an outstanding merchant validation process described as “best in class.” The app serves as a convenient, user-friendly alternative to the parking meters, which will remain in use.

Parking patrons can download the Passport Parking app, found on the App Store or the Google Play Store, then enter the corresponding zone number, the parking space number, the length of stay (with the ability to add time later via the app) and payment info to complete the transaction.

It should be noted that parking in metered spots remains free for vehicles displaying valid disability parking permits and license plates.

More on the Passport Parking App: www.huntingtonny.gov/parking-app.

Drive past the corner of Elwood Road and Cuba Hill Road and you’ll see a sign that reads “Elwood: ‘The heart of Huntington.”’

Centrally located in the Town of Huntington, the 5-square-mile hamlet of Elwood is known as a close community with a strong sense of heritage and pride. In fact, they are home to the Elwood Civic Association, founded in 1945, it is the longest active civic organization in Huntington Town history.

For James Tomeo, civic vice president, it is personal for him. He simply wants to make a positive impact on the community and in turn do what he can to leave Elwood in better shape for his children and the next generation.

“Elwood is a great place to live and we want the younger generation to know the importance of civics and being involved in the community,” he said.

Previously known for over 60 years as the Elwood Taxpayers Association, Tomeo said he and others thought it was time to drop “taxpayers” in hopes of bringing in new members and more community involvement.

“There was a perception we were inclusive, just anti-taxes,” Tomeo said. “We wanted to get rid of that negative connotation and change our platform back to being more community-based.”

Since the name change in June, Tomeo said the feedback from the community has been  positive. The group has recently hosted a food drive with Long Island Cares and was able to collect 300 pounds of food and hosted events for Veterans Days and 9/11 among other causes.

Tomeo also said they have partnered with John Glenn High School to create its first Student Scholarship to be given to a graduating senior who has been involved in community service or civics.

“The Elwood Union Free School District is what unifies and brings us together,” he said. “We are comprised of three ZIP codes, two fire districts, two legislative districts and we thought it was important to give back in some way and show the importance of civics.”

Heather Mammalito, the secretary of the civic group and a member for the past six years, said they want to bring people into the fold who weren’t involved in the community before.

“We want to keep people informed and we want to engage younger residents in the community as well,” she said.

 As part of the rebranding, the group said they have plans to revamp its Facebook and website in an effort to attract new members into the fold.

“You need a voice, you don’t want to lose that,” she said. “We want to make sure we are leaving a positive imprint and teach others to have roots in the community.”

Tomeo agrees, saying that many of the qualities that brought his parents here years ago are still present today.

“I want to make sure the way of life here continues to be great and be able to pass the torch to the next generation of Elwood residents,” he said. “Elwood fights to stay who we are.”

Residents interested in joining the Elwood Civic Association should visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/elwoodcivic/. The group holds its meetings at Elwood Public Library on the second Wednesday of each month, except January and February.

Neighbors near the Del Vino Vineyards on Norwood Road in Northport are struggling with traffic congestion and other concerns related to vineyard operations. Photo from Norwood Community Watch Group

After numerous residents complained about parking, traffic congestion and safety concerns on neighborhood streets around the Del Vino Vineyards in Northport, officials unanimously voted at an Oct. 16 board meeting to adopt parking restrictions to certain residential streets.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (R), who co-sponsored the resolution, said they recently met with the vineyard’s neighbors to discuss the parking problems in their neighborhood. 

“This is something we wanted, but now what do we do about street parking for us.”

— Tom Ryan

“The no-parking signs should be installed by the end of the month and we are hopeful that the signs will be effective in addressing these issues,” Cuthbertson said. 

The restrictions prohibit parking around the vineyard on both sides of Norwood Road between Starlit Drive and Russell Court as well as both sides of Starlit Drive 700 feet south of Norwood Road. The no-parking zones, which officially take effect as soon as the signs go up, will be enforced Monday to Friday from 4 to 11 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 11 p.m. Also, parking on Sound Court is prohibited at all times. 

Tom Ryan, who has lived on Norwood Road for the past nine years, and has advocated for parking restrictions along with other neighbors, said the approved changes are the lesser of two evils. 

“This is something we wanted, but now what do we do about street parking for us,” he said. 

Ryan said the new arrangement was the best option to tackle the problem, because the traffic and parking situation on residential streets has gotten completely out of control with numerous tour buses coming and going as they drop off patrons near the vineyard. A steady stream of Uber and Lyft vehicles also clog local streets.

Anthony Guardino, a Hauppauge-based attorney and representative for the vineyard’s owner Frederick Giachetti, did not respond for comment on the approved restrictions by press time. He previously said at a Sept. 17 public hearing that the restrictions were unreasonable, and it would be only fair to adopt a resolution that bans all parking on those streets regardless of the time.

“We’re anxious for the signs, as of now we have resorted to putting up garbage cans, traffic cones and caution tape to deter people from parking on the street,” Ryan said. 

The tactic seems to be working, they say. However, neighbors on Starlit Drive, who are located closer to the vineyard, have had patrons disregard the obstacles and when asked to not to park in front of homes, they’ve countered that it is a public street. 

In the aftermath of the approved parking restrictions, residents who live further back from the no-parking zones are worried that the parking problem will shift closer to them. 

Ryan expects that the shift will happen. Residents outside the immediate perimeter of the new restrictions have already reached out to town officials to add additional no-parking zones to avoid pushing the congestion deeper into the neighborhood.    

Ryan said this is just one chapter of many other chapters going forward in regard to the vineyard. 

He and other neighbors are now concerned about additional capacity problems at the vineyard, since the business was approved to build a second-floor deck by the town planning board in September. 

Additionally, the owner has proposed in the past about adding 60-80 additional parking spots at the vineyard, which would increase the lot size from 120 spaces to up to 200. 

The vineyard has been a thorn in the side of many residents since it first opened in November 2018. Neighbors have said that the core issue is that Del Vino lacks adequate on-site parking, which caused the problems.

Ryan said it could alleviate some of the parking problems, but it wouldn’t relieve the patron and traffic congestion in the area. 

“The owner is someone who just continues to push the envelope,” he said. 

Some roads near the vineyard have become so crowded, residents said, that it only can accommodate one-way traffic. They have also complained that vineyard patrons pass-out on lawns and urinate in public.