Nassau and Suffolk counties are home to a combined population of roughly 2.75 million people, making Long Island among the most populous islands in the world. This significant population and the Island’s historic development patterns present unique challenges to policymakers and community leaders. High housing costs and traffic congestion pose serious threats to the island’s economic future and a car-dependent transportation system has led to substantial environmental challenges.
A new and more comprehensive growth strategy is needed in order to mitigate the serious environmental consequences of Long Island’s large population and create the sort of livable and sustainable communities that will be desirable for future generations. This new development model must
encourage downtown revitalization and increased residential density as well as mixed-use and transit-oriented development. A properly implemented smart-growth program will create the sort of affordable housing that is critically needed on the island while preserving fast-disappearing open space and reducing carbon emissions and traffic congestion.
NYLCV urges Long Island’s local leadership to adopt smart-growthstrategies by:
- Changing zoning regulations to allow for and encourage increased residential density.
- Changing zoning regulations to encourage mixed-use development,including potentially mandating that retail space be included within housing developments to ensure that real mixed-use development is created.
- Creating inclusionary zoning programs aimed at encouraging affordable housing.
- Encouraging downtown development and revitalization projects.
- Actively identifying and working to develop brownfield sites as alternatives to environmentally costly “greenfield” development.
- Changing zoning regulations to allow the creation of “accessory” apartments in areas well served by transit.
- Improve local land use review processes by simplifying administrative decision-making in a way that will encourage projects that meet smart growth design principles.
- Use tax incentives to encourage development of rental apartments.
- Support higher-density, mixed-use, transit-oriented developments such as the Nassau Hub redevelopment project and the Pilgrim State project.
- Rezone the property around the Ronkonkoma railroad station to multidensity housing.
- Support Suffolk County’s proposal for the development of 250 acres near the county farm in Brookhaven for 1,000 units of workforce housing and a sports arena.
These broad smart-growth principles should form the basis of local land use actions. NYLCV will work to make sure that these principles are incorporated into local planning activities and will support individual projects that meet these criteria.