Andrew Giuliani wants to be governor but Lee Zeldin may have something to say
Will there be one, two or no Andrews running for governor in 2022?
Andrew Giuliani, the 35-year-old son of the former New York City mayor and federal prosecutor, rattled a few coffee cups Wednesday morning with the news that he’s exploring a run.
"Outside of anybody named Trump, I think I have the best chance to win and take the state back," Giuliani told the Washington Examiner, which first reported his ambitions.
The Examiner quoted an unidentified source that said Giuliani has the backing of Donald Trump, which might come as a surprise to Rep. Lee Zeldin, a close ally of the former president who is considering a run as well.
State GOP chair Nick Langworthy said that all candidates considering a run are invited to Albany on April 19 to meet with county chairs. But Long Island’s two GOP party chairs don’t appear to be interested in a beauty contest of candidates.
"Lee Zeldin has distinguished himself, he has served well in Albany and Washington and he is popular in Suffolk County, " Nassau GOP chair Joseph Cairo told The Point. "I think he could do a good job." Cairo predicted that Trump voters on LI would support Zeldin.
Suffolk chair Jesse Garcia also said Zeldin, the former state senator who now represents CD1, would have his vote.
A Giuiliani run might have been the best news the current governor named Andrew heard in a few months. Cuomo just finished difficult budget negotiations with aggressive and progressive Democratic lawmakers that resulted in higher taxes on the wealthy and more spending on social programs. Several investigations into allegations of sexual harassment by Cuomo are ongoing and their outcome likely will determine whether he runs for a fourth term.
But Giuliani steered clear of any of the claims about unwanted touching made by former staff members against Cuomo. Instead, he said he would be using the "Rudy Giuliani playbook" to guide his possible campaign. But after his father became an ersatz counselor to Trump and began peddling unsubstantiated stories about Hunter Biden and the 2020 presidential election being "stolen," it’s unclear whether the Giuliani name is connected anymore to crime fighting.
The younger Giuliani, who was recruited to play golf at Duke University and then sued the school when he was kicked off the team for misconduct, worked in the Trump White House as a liaison to the sports world. He was also a golfing partner of the former president whom he has known since childhood.
One veteran GOP state lawmaker mused about the surprise candidacy to The Point, saying he doesn't see either Andrew "leading their respective tickets next year."
—Rita Ciolli @ritaciolli
Kaplan says: Let Them Drink Beer (and cider)
There was a lot going on in Albany this week, so it would not be surprising if you missed an Anna Kaplan bill getting referred to the State Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business committee. What stood out was the fairly arcane subject: allowing bed and breakfasts to sell cider, liquor, beer, and wine on the premises.
Asked about the SD7 Democrat’s legislation, spokesman Sean Ross Collins noted how important it has been during the pandemic for small businesses to be able to adjust and evolve.
"In that spirit of giving our small businesses more flexibility to grow and thrive, this bill will allow small businesses, specifically B&B’s, to offer another service to their guests and create an additional stream of revenue," Collins said in an email.
It’s unclear exactly how big an issue bed and breakfast libations are in Kaplan’s northwest Nassau County district. Empire State Development’s I Love NY website features 636 bed-and-breakfasts, inns, & farm stays statewide, with 49 on Long Island — but all of those are in Suffolk County.
Collins pointed to Kaplan’s role as chair of Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business as a reason for sponsoring the bill: "She’s always looking out for the well-being of small businesses throughout the state."
The bill itself had previously been championed by Rich Funke, a Republican representing parts of Monroe and Ontario counties. He’s no longer in office, and though he didn’t ask Kaplan to pick up the bill, she "routinely reviews orphan legislation like this to see if there are any good bills left on the table worth introducing, and this was a nice fit with her focus on uplifting small businesses," said Collins.
The bill also allows licensed breweries, distilleries, or wineries to operate a B&B, for those looking for a different form of self-medicating. Not that there are a ton of wineries and breweries in Great Neck, Manhasset, Roslyn and Port Washington, either, the last time The Point looked.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
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Town of Oyster Bay zoning change could have big implications for mixed-use development
Last summer, without much fanfare in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town of Oyster Bay approved a zoning change that could have big implications for the town, its villages and the region as a whole.
The change would remove a property owner’s ability to build apartments over stores or offices "as of right" – in other words, without additional town or zoning board approvals. Now the town is requiring a "special use" permit each time there are plans to build apartments over commercial space. Town officials say that as they’re doing more planning townwide, they want to have more control over determining what zoning is best in various locations, rather than leaving an "as of right" blanket approval in place.
Such a significant zoning change must be sent to the Nassau County Planning Commission for approval. But that didn’t happen. The commission learned of the code change from a blog post and subsequently sent the town a letter last month. The town made the necessary referral last week and now the zoning change will come before the commission for approval on April 15.
If the planning commission issues a denial, or seeks to modify the law, it would be kicked back to the town board, which would have to override the commission’s decision with a super-majority vote. But the town board voted unanimously for the zoning change initially, and its current makeup includes six Republicans and one independent, so an override likely could go forward.
Town officials told The Point that the zoning law change allows them to pick and choose where mixed-use development should go.
"It gives us a little bit more leeway and flexibility," said James McCaffrey, the town’s deputy commissioner for economic development. "Some people would say we’re restricting, but it’s really making sure it’s done right and giving us the authority to make a decision that best benefits the town and its best land-use practices."
McCaffrey noted that there’ve been some proposals and even ongoing projects to develop apartments over retail or office space in areas along Jericho Turnpike that, he argued, don’t make sense. He pointed particularly to a project called Kensington Estates, a development of 80 condos that stretches across the Huntington-Oyster Bay border. While that’s a townhouse project, McCaffrey said in that area there was "a concern from residents about the character of their neighborhood changing," and noted that it was indicative of the types of concerns that could come from the construction of apartments over retail in more residential neighborhoods.
McCaffrey said he instead hopes to focus the development of apartments over commercial space in the town’s downtowns, like Hicksville, which won’t be affected by the new law because it has its own overlay zone, and the hamlet of Oyster Bay, where discussions are ongoing about developing parts of the downtown.
"This is just to stop willy-nilly people just doing it everywhere," McCaffrey said.
During a hearing in June, town officials also noted that the law change will allow for more public input.
But some advocates and others noted that historically, Oyster Bay residents – and town elected leaders – too often say "no" when given the opportunity to weigh in. So, changing a zoning code from "as of right" to requiring a permit could be seen as a way for the town to clamp down more on development by refusing such permits.
"I understand they want to ratchet up the regulation of those uses, but I think it’s antithetical to what every other municipality is doing to make it easier for a mix of uses to coexist, especially in a downtown," one Nassau County Planning Commission official said.
Town officials, however, pointed to their ongoing planning efforts to promote downtown revitalization and other development. The town is in the process of choosing planners tasked with rethinking development in the town, particularly looking at golf courses, shopping centers and other properties in need of redevelopment. A request for proposals had brought in four responses, and the town is expected to make a decision later this month.
—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall