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Cutting Through LI's Red Tape

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Cutting Through LI's Red Tape
Paul Pontieri, Long Island Regional Planning Council's Michael White, Tritec Real Estate's Robert Coughlan, AvalonBay's Christopher Capace, and former Nassau County exec Tom Suozzi
Yesterday's Building Long Island discussion at Carlyle on the Green about Long Island development and red tape couldn't have been more timely—it was less than 24 hours after the Huntington Town Board rejected a rezoning proposal that would have paved way for AvalonBay to create a $100M TOD in Huntington Station. AvalonBay's Christopher Capace (second from right, with Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, Long Island Regional Planning Council's Michael White, Tritec Real Estate's Robert Coughlan, and former Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi) says that even though most of the people who showed up to the previous day's meeting supported the project, the 50 or so opponents sounded like 300—and social media fueled that fire. Elected officials will listen to the loudest, Michael points out, so the real estate community has to do more about educating the public and getting facts out there.
Suffolk County chief deputy Christopher Kent, Robert Coughlan, Michael White, Tom Suozzi, Nassau County executive Edward Mangano, Paul Pontieri, and Christopher Capace
Suffolk County chief deputy Christopher Kent, Robert Coughlan, Michael White, Tom Suozzi, Nassau County executive Edward Mangano, Paul Pontieri, and Christopher Capace. Tom notes that Long Island is suffering from high taxes, young adults leaving,traffic problems, and growing pockets of poverty—and then we reject a project that would have expanded the tax base and created a downtown. Red tape is further discouraging developers. It took Robert five years to get through the entitlement process for one project. Developers want to make as much money as they can make, because they're in for the long term, Paul points out—we don't want them running or selling out. But for every Heartland and Lighthouse project stuck in the quagmire, there are bright spots. Michael points to successful development in Wyandanch, Glen Cove, Mineola, Farmingdale, and Patchogue, among others.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano
Keynote Edward Mangano says his county is facing the largest budget deficit in its history. In the past, it's raised property taxes, but can't this time, he notes. Its real property taxes are the highest in the country—3x that of Suffolk's—and businesses and CRE are suffering. Steps it's taking to reduce the deficit include introducing legislation to end the county guarantee, having its leanest workforce since 1950, and increasing fees. Christopher Kent, who spoke on behalf of Suffolk County executive Steve Levy, notes that local governments must lay the foundation for successful incentive programs; steps Suffolk is taking include creating a transfer of development rights program and improving its sewer districts.