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Mitch Pally Executive Dir LI Builders Institute
May 10, 2013 @ 12:00 am EDT
This morning we had as our speaker Mitch Pally. Mitch was the vice president of LIA for many years and presently is the Executive Director of Long Island Builders Institute. He still is also a board member of the MTA and was prepared to answer questions about the responsibilities that he has in that capacity. The audience, however, was very interested in the primary topic of housing.
Mitch asked the audience “Who lives in a single family home?” Almost everyone including Pally raised his hand. His premise is that while most of us will continue that lifestyle we must adjust to a world where we have an adequate number of rental units located in places that are friendly to the use of public transportation. He compared Long Island to Westchester which has at least double the number of rental units and that mix of housing has not diminished the quality of life. In fact if multi-family housing is located near public transportation than those families can often be satisfied with only one car.
On Long Island where our drinking water comes from the ground, sewers will preserve the ground water purity at the same time making denser population centers possible and sustainable. He pointed out to us that MacArthur Airport has a septic system. He suggested that building a more comprehensive sewer system would make the ground water in that vicinity better and at the same time accommodate residential housing growth.
Mr. Pally addressed the problem of people who oppose multi-family housing. Always hanging over that conversation is the reference to “those people” when a development is being proposed. The implication that these units will be occupied by less responsible people. But that image just does not hold up under scrutiny.
In Rockville Center apartment housing that was built on a cleaned up “brownfield” is now considered a valuable addition to the community although the local residents fought tooth and nail to prevent it from ever being built. As it turns out these are valuable dwellings commanding market level rents.
The people in the room ask many questions, but they were in sync with the objectives of creating quality multi family living space
According to Mitch the process in convincing a community to accept a new plan is a slow and tedious process, but with good planning and communication it can be done. That’s what he sees as an important part of his role