Friday, 17 June 2011 00:00
The Greater Farmingdale Community Land Trust, Inc. (GF CLT) would like to invite residents to attend our second annual GF CLT meeting, Tuesday, June 21, Farmingdale Village Hall at 7 p.m.
Over the past few years a number of residents, civic and community leaders have come together to form the Discover Farmingdale Study Group. Our vision continues to provide a forum for community members to engage in community based planning discussions toward promoting stewardship and a more sustainable community. After much dialogue, debate, research and planning our group drafted some ideas we feel have potential within the four hamlets of the greater Farmingdale community. Those ideas include, but are not limited to promoting and creating:
1. 100 percent permanent housing affordability, young workers and older residents
2. an intergenerational - recreational community center
3. a performing arts theater in the downtown
4. more affordable commercial business space for niche retail and/or small business entrepreneurs in the 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 putting Long Island in a crisis. 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.
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 offer opportunities for growth. It should act as a Regional Master Plan for towns and villages, who control zoning, to use as a guide toward more sustainable growth. Released findings state that opportunities do exist in our downtowns, particularly near LIRR train stations. The LI Index 2010-11 Report also touts that strategy as a viable redevelopment option.
In our community, Farmingdale has two such opportunities, one in Farmingdale village and also in the hamlet of East Farmingdale in the Town of Babylon. Many other opportunities exist in hamlets and villages all 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. Three 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 a unique civic – municipal partnership.
In January 2008 New Directions, a local NFP CLT advocate, received key funding support from the Ford Foundation and Citigroup to design, develop and implement a model for Shared Equity 100 percent permanently affordable CLT Housing on Long Island. They had selected Farmingdale as one of their pilot communities.
At the heart of this project will be the use of a civic tool called the Community Land Trust. This model, a NFP 501(c)3, has been used around the country with success for over 25 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 cost of land, utilizing one-time land subsidies, which help to preserve sites in perpetuity. The land is owned by the local NFP and the structure developed above the land is then owned/rented and/or leased by residents/businesses.
We are now the first CLT in Nassau County, Greater Farmingdale Community Land Trust Inc. Our goal is to help preserve and create community assets toward a sustainable future. We would like to gain the support of as many residents and local organizations joining this movement as members.
Your support of the concept is critical as we go forward. After which we hope to gain broader community and regional support. With that support we can then more effectively lobby our elected officials. Thank you for your time and consideration, we hope this sounds not only interesting but also important to you. We look forward to your comments and support. Please join us on Tuesday, June 21 at Farmingdale Village Hall, 7 p.m. for our second annual GF CLT meeting.
Chuck Gosline, GF CLT CoFounder/Chair