Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) joined members of the Nassau County Legislature in unanimously approving legislation sponsored by Legislators Lisanne Altmann (D-Great Neck) and Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) that reorganizes and strengthens the Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Board, and establishes the Board as the Long Island Regional Planning Council. The Regional Planning Council will establish linkage between communities, provide focus on issues best handled on a broad geographic scale and foster the development of regional comprehensive planning.
“An effective regional planning board can guide local governments into the future, while giving us a vision for what our counties will look like as we move forward,” Abrahams said. “This bill will reinvigorate the regional planning board and promote intermunicipalcommunication, coordination and cooperation among our counties, towns and villages for effective and truly regional planning. The goal is a board which will lead our counties, towns and villages in thinking regionally and acting locally.”
The Regional Planning Council will establish linkage between communities, provide focus on issues best handled on a broad geographic scale and foster the development of regional comprehensive planning. A strong and reenergized Regional Planning Council will work collectively with Nassau and Suffolk, the towns, villages and cities of Long Island, as well as, New York City and the greater metropolitan area to advocate a coordinated approach to the planning, land use and environmental issues facing our region.
“Reestablishing the Long Island Regional Planning Board as a true Regional Planning Council will enable us to advance our mission of finding regional solutions to regional problems and create new opportunities for funding this essential work,” said Michael White, Executive Director of the Regional Planning Board. “We are at a critical juncture for land use, planning and environmental protection. The Regional Planning Council will work collaboratively with both Counties, our towns, villages and cities on Long Island, New York City and the greater metropolitan area on a coordinated approach to addressing the issues facing our region.”
Main provisions of the ordinance include:
?The Nassau County Executive appoints Nassau’s six members, subject to the approval of the Nassau County Legislature.
?One of these members must be a Supervisor of a Town within Nassau County and one member must be an elected official from the Nassau County Village Officials Association.
?The Supervisor appointed as a member and the elected official from the Nassau County Village Officials Association appointed as a member will each serve for a term which is the shorter of his or her term of office or three years.
?The remaining members serve, in general, for terms of three years, though there are exceptions provided in section five of the Ordinance.
?The Council is must establish a business plan within 4 months of the effective date of the Ordinance. The plan must: 1) specify operating expenses and the size and nature of staff including anticipated rates of compensation for such staff; and 2) establish goals for the Council in the first year and for the ensuing three year period, as well as a detailed plan including a timetable for achieving those goals. Until a business plan has been submitted and accepted by the Nassau County Planning Department, Nassau County won’t be obligated to provide more than $100,000 per annum to fund the Council.
In addition to acting as a regional data and information center for census statistics the Council shall focus their planning efforts primarily in the areas of:
?Transportation (in coordination with any recommendations of the New York Metropolitan ?Transportation Council);
?Economic Development and Sustainability;
?Health Care Planning;
?Homeland Security, including Emergency Preparedness;
?Other areas and issues as requested by the Nassau County Executive and/or the Nassau County Legislature.
Neal Lewis, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Network of Long Island called the legislation “…a big step forward in advancing solutions to Long Island regional problems.”