Friday, April 02, 2010

Discover Farmingdale, As Gateway To Sustainability

In Community We Trust: Prelude To Long Island 2020

Our friends at the newly formed Greater Farmingdale Community Land Trust write us:

"Folks at The Community Alliance, I read with interest your new message (Long Island 2020) toward partnering for a better LI. We agree too much lip service and studies that most often go nowhere. I am a civic leader in Farmingdale and co-founder of a new NFP ‘Greater Farmingdale Community Land Trust’. We have created a community-based planning team and a civic development tool toward a more sustainable future. This is a model for other communities to take a serious look at. Please find below our mission doc.

We welcome your comments and feedback toward spreading this model across Long Island.

Chuck Gosline"

Well, Chuck, here's to spreading the word, and welcoming aboard civic and community leaders (and, hopefully, a few of our local elected officials, as well) from Elmont to Montauk, as we partner, and build (not merely study and plan, but build) that better burb.

As we've said many times over the years -- and we will keep on saying it -- the status quo is never good enough!

The time to "do" rather than just talk about doing is NOW!

Folks, let's hear from you at Get involved in the future of our Long Island community. Shape the tomorrows of your hometown. Be a part of the renaissance that will be the legacy of every Long Islander.
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From Discover Farmingdale Study Group

Greater Farmingdale Community Land Trust inc.
33 Waverly Place Farmingdale, Long Island New York 11735
‘an intergenerational community-based planning alliance for stronger communities’

Dear fellow Long Islander,
Over the past two years a number of residents, civic and community leaders have come together to form the Discover Farmingdale Study group. Our vision is to provide a forum for community members to engage in community based planning discussions that we believe can promote more community stewardship toward helping to improve the future health and welfare of the greater Farmingdale community.

After months of dialogue, debate, research and planning our Discover Farmingdale Study Group has drafted some ideas to consider. The group has looked at the potential opportunities within the four hamlets of the entire Farmingdale community and we have also gone into understanding the impacts to our neighboring communities. Those ideas include but are not limited to the potential for creating; some level of 100% permanent housing affordability, an intergenerational recreational community center, a performing arts theater in the downtown and some 100% affordable commercial business space for niche retail/small business entrepreneurs in our community.

Nassau and Suffolk Counties are among the Nation’s oldest ‘first suburbs.’ With that distinction come many concerns and challenges for our future. Long Island’s high property taxes, high energy costs, older infrastructure, and the fact that homeownership is further out of reach for many of our young people is also impacting the growth of local business. Over the past four years local economists have stated that; young people are fleeing LI at a greater rate than else where putting Long Island in a crisis due to the lack of housing affordability. Three local reports have confirmed this; Rutgers University, LIA and the LI Index have publicly stated that Long Island will need to build over 60,000 units of housing through 2020 if the region is to sustain and grow.

What have are our elected officials done to help maintain and grow quality jobs on Long Island? Another High-Tech firm has just left LI. Young people, your sons and daughters, continue to flee LI for jobs and housing much more affordable in other states.

Most people agree that the region needs more workforce-housing, yet little is being done.

The LI Regional Planning Council launched a Sustainability Project called ‘LI 2035’ that hopes to project opportunities for growth and act as a LI Master Plan for towns and villages to use as a guide toward more sustainable growth. Recently released findings state that opportunities exist in our downtowns particularly near LIRR train stations. The recent LI Index 2010 Report also touts that strategy as a viable redevelopment option. In our community, Farmingdale has two such opportunities, in our village and in the hamlet of East Farmingdale in the Town of Babylon. Many exist in other hamlets and villages across Long Island.

Can more be done? Yes, we believe so. But it will take the cooperative efforts of residents, civic groups, businesses and most importantly municipalities. Two years ago a small group of Farmingdale residents launched the Discover Farmingdale Study group, a community-based planning initiative toward addressing opportunities in the greater Farmingdale hamlets. Our study group has worked with local and national not-for-profits, local universities, interested residents and civics leaders toward building the framework for creating a civic – municipal partnership.

One such group is New Directions Community Based Research Institute. They continue to promote a proven model to Long Island policy makers. In January 2008 New Directions received key funding support from the Ford Foundation and Citigroup Foundation to design, develop and implement a model for Shared Equity 100% permanently affordable Housing on Long Island. They selected Farmingdale as one of their pilot communities of which could become a new suburban model for a civic - municipal partnership for communities across Long Island.

At the heart of this project will be the use of a civic tool called the Community Land Trust. This model, a NFP 501C3, has been used around the country with success for over twenty-five years. Simply stated, a community NFP corporation is formed and organized to develop projects that help create and maintain community assets. This is done uniquely by separating the land costs, utilizing one-time land subsidies, to preserve sites in perpetuity. Land is owned by the local NFP and the structure developed above the land is then owned/rented and/or leased by residents.

We have just formed the first CLT in Nassau County, Greater Farmingdale Community Land Trust inc. Our goal will be to help preserve and create community assets toward a sustainable future. We would like to gain the support of as many local organizations as possible, having at least one rep attend future workshops/meetings. Then, bring this info back to your local group and help gain the support from your membership. With that support we can more effectively lobby our elected and officials.

Thank you for your time and consideration, we look forward to your comments and support. You contact me at 516-346-7411 and/or via email at

Chuck Gosline
DF GFCLT Team Lead
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While the Long Island Regional Planning Council may have launched a sustainability project entitled LI 2035, frankly, we can't wait that long. [Check out Nassau County's web page for the LI Regional Planning Council. "Under Construction," like every other plan, idea, and concept on the county's drafting table. Suffolk's site, while up and running, is dated, offering little more than platitudes.]

A sustainable, liveable, more affordable, and viable Long Island by 2020. Roll up your sleves, folks, and grab a shovel. The great leap forward begins today!

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