The Foggiest Five is a series of questions that have been asked to people of influence in land use and policymakers across Long Island. The series will be featured on The Foggiest Idea regularly. Many thanks to Andy Freleng of Suffolk County for taking the first step into the brave new world, and for his insightful answers.

What is your favorite part of living on Long Island?
My favorite part of living on long island is the diversity of place we have access to.  From the urban city feel to the New England feel of small one light villages.  I like the diversity of the environment.  The fresh and salt waters and wetlands, the high bluffs over the Sound, the pounding ocean, rolling farmland and trail laced woods.

What is our greatest regional challenge?
Long Islands greatest regional challenge is to recognize that there is a carrying capacity/saturation population to our island.  In that respect, finding a model for sustained economic growth is a huge challenge.

What is an easy first step to solving this challenge?

An easy first step to solving this problem is education.  Education about the problems of over saturation and the range of solutions to it can be extremely useful in winning over public opinion.  One ideal solution, easier said than done, would be a regional transfer of development right (TDR) program. TDR can shift anticipated growth from undeveloped land to areas of sewer and waste water infrastructure. Usually in  downtowns or in intermodal transit overlay districts.

What has been the biggest change that you’ve seen on Long Island during the course of your career?
The biggest change that I’ve seen on long island during the course of my career, not counting the technological advances in the land use planning industry (GIS, social media, etc.), has been the development of vacant lots/land along the roadways.

What do you think Long Island will be like in 20 years?
By 2034 Long Island would have long embraced the land use planning model of the new suburban downtown grown around transit hubs.  As the downtowns build up, vacant land is preserved in perpetuity using private/public TDR programs. Investments will have been made to wastewater treatment, transit and environmental quality.  Long Islanders would have long reawakened to the relationship between the sea and our communities and planned accordingly.  In 2034 I will be 74.  Long Island will have accommodations for my retired lifestyle, as well as, having a diversity of accommodations for the young and growing families.

Andy is Chief Planner at the Suffolk County Department of Planning; Vice Chair of the Central Pine Barrens Credit Clearinghouse; and a former member of the Board of Directors of the New York Planning Federation.  Prior to coming to Suffolk County, Andy was Chief Planner for the Town of Southampton and prior to that, Chief Environmental Planner for H2M Group (an engineering, architecture and planning firm).  In 1999, Andy was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson after serving three years on the Planning Board.  He served as Trustee until 2003.  As Trustee, Andy was responsible for the Conservation Advisory Council, Parks Department, the Department of Public Safety and advisor to the Board of Trustees on matters such as SEQRA, water-front and storm-water issues.

Andy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Long Island University-Southampton College and a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Management from Long Island University-C.W. Post Campus.  In 1990, Andy was accepted into the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).