Tag Archive | "east hampton town"

Airport Noise Committee Recommends Curfews, Limits and Banning The Loudest Choppers

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By Mara Certic

If the East Hampton Airport Planning Committee’s noise subcommittee get its way, strict curfews, limits on weekly operations and a complete ban on the loudest helicopters could be in effect by Memorial Day of this year.

Those were among the key recommendations made by the group to the town board in its final report, which was delivered on Tuesday, January 21.

The subcommittee, which is made up of members of the community on the East End who say they have suffered from airport noise, has held bimonthly meetings since it was formed early last year, to discuss the best way to tackle what many say is a decades-old problem.

David Gruber, chairman of the subcommittee, presented the recommendations to the town board.

“Noise due to aircraft has vexed this community for 30 years,” Mr. Gruber said, adding that the community has consistently asked the airport remain small and recreational, and that it not be allowed to be expanded into a busy commercial airport.

The first two phases of an independent noise analysis study contracted by the town were presented at the end of last year and corroborated much of what the anti-noise community had been saying for years: They are most bothered by aircraft arriving late at night and early in the morning and especially when there is a high frequency of flights, such as on busy summer weekends.

The analyses, the last of which will be presented on Tuesday, February 3, provided much of the basis for the noise committee’s suggestions.

The group’s proposal, which was endorsed by the Quiet Skies Coalition in a press release distributed on Tuesday afternoon, first recommends aircraft be rated into three categories: noisiest, noisy and quiet.

The noisiest aircraft tend to be helicopters and jets, while the quietest ones tend to be aircraft flown by recreational pilots. According to the Quiet Skies Coalition, this demonstrates the subcommittee’s “support for continued unlimited access to the airport by local pilots.”

According to flight information determined by Vector Reports, only 27 percent of the airport’s fleet, both those based there and those that visit, would fall into the noisiest category.

The noisiest aircraft, however, account for 54 percent of all landings at the airport.

The committee then proposed a number of restrictions based on those three categories.

The first is that operations by the noisiest types of aircraft (which measure in at more than 91 decibels) would be prohibited from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m. every day and be restricted to conducting just one trip per week, year-round. These noisiest aircraft would also be subjected to a noise pollution surcharge during summer weekends and holidays.

The noisiest helicopters would be banned entirely.  According to Mr. Gruber, the three most popular types of helicopters, the Sikorsky S-76, the Airbus Helicopters Écureuil, and the Airbus Helicopters TwinStar, account for two- thirds of all helicopter operations at the airport. They all also would be classified as the noisiest type and would be banned, under the rules. At 95.6 decibels, the Sikorsky helicopters are the loudest regularly using the airport.

The aircraft classified as merely noisy would only be subjected to a late curfew, and would not be allowed to land or take off after 7 p.m. or before 8 a.m.

“We believe it is time for the town to ask all airport users to employ the best and quietest aviation,” Mr. Gruber said, adding that there are many quiet alternatives available for all different kinds of aircraft.

“Helicopters in the Noisy (but not Noisiest) class, that would therefore be subject only to a late curfew, include the Eurocopter EC-155, the Eurocopter EC-120 Colibri, and the MD Helicopters MD600,” Mr. Gruber said.

“Of 13,000 landing operations last year, two-thirds were by commercial operators,” Mr. Gruber said. The remaining third, Mr. Gruber said, the local recreational pilots, would only be affected by the new curfew rule, as their aircraft tend to be the quietest.

“Local aviators have never been the problem,” former Town Councilman, noise subcommittee member and member of the Quiet Skies Coalition Pat Trunzo said in a press release from the Quiet Skies Coalition.

“Noise complaint data coupled with the proposed noise emissions categorization support that,” he added.

Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesperson for the Friends of the East Hampton Airport released the following statement:

“While we had hoped the committee would offer new ideas that could generate a meaningful debate, instead they offered a set of old proposals that are ultimately aimed at closing the airport. Enacting these plans will severely impact local businesses and the local economy and create a huge gap in the town budget that taxpayers will ultimately have to make up for with higher property taxes. Rather than trying to close the airport, we should be working together to find common-sense solutions that protect our community’s access to aviation and the economic benefits that the airport provides.”

Also during Tuesday’s work session, Barry Holden, one of just three Southampton Town residents on the airport noise subcommittee, submitted a petition with more than 700 signatures to the town, echoing the recommendations of his group.

HMMH, the company conducting phase three of the noise analysis, will present its findings to the board on February 3. The firm will also present its recommended legislation which “may or may not be based on the noise committee’s recommendation,” Supervisor Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday.

The East Hampton Town Board had a special meeting in executive session on Wednesday, January 21, with their attorneys and outside counsel to discuss both pending and potential litigation related to the airport, Mr. Cantwell said.

 

 

 

 

 

A New Look at Septic Systems

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Raun Norquist demonstrates Pirana septic system to officials earlier this year. Photo courtesy of danielgonzalezphotography.com.

By Stephen J. Kotz 

To hear Raun Norquist tell it, “we live in a flush and forget world and nobody wants to pay attention to the problem.”

Ms. Norquist, who now lives in Noyac not far from Sag Harbor Cove, in a house with an aging brick septic system built in the 1930s,  has been paying attention to that problem—the treatment of wastewater—for the better part of two decades.

“We need a paradigm shift in the way we think about treating our waste,” she said. Most methods “count on lots of water, and lots of space. And nobody is thinking about where we’re going to get it.”

Ms. Norquist represents a company called Pirana that was started by a California entrepreneur and inventor, Jerry Fife. It offers, she said, a simple method to boost the efficiency of a standard home septic system so that it releases much cleaner wastewater into the drainage field—the area surrounding the cesspool rings.

If such systems were to gain a foothold on Long Island, with its hundreds of thousands of private septic systems, there would be large scale reduction in groundwater pollution and leaching of septic waste into nearby surface waters, she said.

There would also be benefits to homeowners and local governments that must treat sludge from traditional systems.  “This system is digesting what you have on site,” Ms. Norquist said, noting that regular systems need to be pumped every few years. “Pumping is expensive, it stinks, and then you are shipping it down the road to be treated at a wastewater treatment plant.”

The secret to a cleaner system lies in introducing and cultivating a large number of voracious bacteria—far more than are found in a typical septic system—that gorge themselves on the stuff we don’t like to mention in polite company. The bacteria can survive aerobically (with oxygen) or anaerobically (without it). Because there are so many of the little critters, they flow with the wastewater into the drainage field. There, they help control the formation of  “biomat,” a sort of sludge formed by conventional anaerobic bacteria released by a traditional septic system and a major cause of failure.

The Pirana system that Ms. Norquist sells costs about $3,000. It consists of a 1-by-3-foot cylinder that is lowered into the existing septic tank. The cylinder has about 150 square feet of thin plastic lining coiled within it. That lining serves as a breeding ground for the bacteria that are introduced into the system in the form of a beeswax-like cake.  The final element is a small pump, which injects air into the system, to help the bacteria thrive.

Ms. Norquist said about eight years ago, she had one installed  in that 1930s-era septic system at her Noyac home, which was at the point of failure, and  within hours the odor was gone and within days the system was functioning properly again.

The system requires little in the way of maintenance, although she said people who shut their homes down in the winter would probably be wise to add bacteria each spring when they reopen it for the season. Although hardware stores typically carry bacteria additives for septic systems, Ms. Norquist said a quart added to a system each month would produce only a fraction of the bacteria that the Pirana system supports.

Ms. Norquist who had previously been involved with a company that used an earlier but more cumbersome technology to improve septic systems, eventually became a sales representative for the firm.

Now that East End communities have turned their attention to combating the pollution caused by wastewater, Ms. Norquist is hopeful they will at least be willing to give the Pirana system a try.

She recently had what she calls a “show and tell” at her home, to which she invited Southampton Town officials and pulled the lid off her own system and retrieved a sample from it. “It looks like pale tea, it has no odor and no particulates,” she boasted.

Not only can it work in home septic systems, but Ms. Norquist is starting a pilot program to work with the Sag Harbor sewage treatment plant that will involve setting up one of its smaller holding tanks with a Pirana system to reduce the amount of sludge that must be hauled away. “They are spending $80,000 to $100,000 to haul away sludge now,” she said.

She said she regretted that East Hampton Town decided to shut down its scavenger waste plant, which she said, would also have been a perfect facility for another pilot program.

“We’ve got to stop thinking about this heavy-handed, expensive way to find ways to force nature into doing what we want,” she said, “and let it do what it wants to do.”

For more information about Pirana systems, contact Ms. Norquist at raun@optonline.net .

East Hampton Wins $250,000 Grant for Coastal Planning

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Cantwell coastal erosion

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell visits the Napeague-Lazy Point neighborhood with a resident of Mulford Lane, Amagansett earlier this year. In August, the town was awarded a $9.9 million federal grant to purchase a number of properties in Amagansett in order to turn them into protective storm buffers.

The Town of East Hampton was awarded a $250,000 grant by the State on Tuesday to develop a Coastal Assessment and Resiliency Plan (CARP).

The money from the state will be matched with $250,000 from private and public sources and will develop CARP through a process of gathering and analyzing information and ample public interaction.

“The impacts of climate change and sea-level rise lend ever-greater urgency to coastal resiliency planning,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell. “This grant will provide the funding to complete a Coastal Assessment and Resiliency Plan that examines erosion risks, storm vulnerability and natural recovery. I appreciate the cooperation of our Natural Resources and Planning departments, as well as citizens groups such as Concerned Citizens of Montauk for their leadership in helping secure this grant.”

Deputy Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said the plan “will strengthen the resiliency of existing communities in East Hampton, address the needs of future generations and involve broad-based public involvement to develop and implement a community plan.”

East Hampton recently participating in a “Climate Adaptation for Coastal Communities” training course at Stony Brook Southampton, hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During the course, there were special sessions on climate science, vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning and implementation.

Kim Shaw, the town’s director of natural resources, said that following the training course “we fully expect to immediately integrate climate adaption strategies into our coastal policies, plans and programs.”

East Hampton Town Police Investigate String of Burglaries

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Security camera images courtesy of the East Hampton Town Police Department.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Using images captured from security cameras, East Hampton Town Police are asking the public for help in finding and arresting the suspect in a string of burglaries of East Hampton businesses early Saturday, November 29.

In each case, the burglar used a brick or stone to smash glass doors to gain entry into six businesses in both East Hampton and Wainscott.

Police said the burglar carted away a cash register and cash box from two of the stores, and got away with at least $1,245 in cash and coins.

Police said the suspect is a white male. In the images, he is wearing what appears to be an olive colored hooded sweatshirt or jacket, jeans and dark work boots.

He can be seen grabbing a cash box from behind the counter of one of the stores that was burglarized. Police have also released a grainy image of a light colored, possibly white, pickup truck they believe the burglar was driving.

The burglaries were reported at Domaine Franey Wines and Spirits on Pantigo Road in East Hampton, where a brick was used to break the glass front door, although nothing appeared to be stolen from the business.  Nearby, the glass front door of Chiquita Latina, also on Pantigo Road, was shattered by a brick and thieves made off with a cash register containing $130. They estimated it would cost $500 to replace the door.  The same fate awaited Calvo’s Deli nearby. There, a $300 glass door was broken and some $700 in cash was removed.

In Wainscott, bricks or paving stones were used to smash through the glass doors at three businesses on Montauk Highway. At Twice Upon a Bagel, the damaged door was the only apparent damage. La Capannina pizzeria suffered a similar fate, with nothing taken. But at Wainscott Wines and Spirits, a black metal cash drawer containing $415 was grabbed.

Police said the suspect was seen fleeing in a westerly direction out of Wainscott.

Although similar burglaries occurred at Nichol’s restaurant in East Hampton Village and LaFondita in Amagansett last summer, Captain Chris Anderson said, “Nothing has been linked, but we’ll certainly look to explore the possibility.”

Police have asked anyone with information to contact them at (631) 537-7575. All calls will be kept confidential.

The suspect fleeing the scene on November 30.

The suspect fleeing the scene on November 30.

 

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The suspect’s vehicle was spotted in Wainscott traveling west on Montauk Highway

 

Southampton, East Hampton Town Budgets Adopted

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By Stephen J. Kotz

The Southampton Town Board, in a split vote, approved an $88.6 million budget on Thursday, November 20. Meanwhile, in East Hampton Town, a $71.6 million budget was passed unanimously that same evening.

In Southampton, spending was increased by about $160,000 from the original budget put forth by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst in September, but taxes will remain flat at $1.43 per $1,000. Spending is up year to year by about $3 million.

Republican Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka voted against the Southampton budget, which was supported by Supervisor Throne-Holst, Democratic Councilwoman Bridget Fleming and Independence Party Councilman Brad Bender.

Most of the spending increases were earmarked for eight new hires at the Southampton Town Police, other new positions at town hall and additional spending for highway work.

Southampton, like East Hampton, included $100,000 for a wastewater management plans and $25,000 for the South Fork Behavioral Health Care Initiative.

Taxes remain level, despite the spending increase, in large part because the town has enjoyed a windfall in the form of a half billion dollar increase in its total assessed valuation, thanks to a strong local real estate market.

In East Hampton, the board added some $96,000 to Supervisor Larry Cantwell’s original budget, which, in turn, increased spending by $2.1 million over last year.

Taxes are expected to rise by 3.2 percent for residents of East Hampton Village and 2 percent for those living outside the village. This translates to a $14.32 increase for a house valued at $550,000 outside the village and $23.08 for one within the village boundaries.

The actual tax rates are expected to be $11.63 per $100 for village residents and $28.90 per $100 outside the village.

East Hampton’s budget has undergone some minor changes since Supervisor Cantwell introduced it in September.  Among the major changes was the elimination of $50,000 in proposed revenue for a townwide rental registry, which has since been put on hold, but that has been more than offset by an expected $105,000 increase in county aid for police as well as $80,000 in fees for property leased as potential solar farm sites.

The town also reduced its reliance on reserves by $200,000 over he previous budget, Supervisor Cantwell said in a budget message.

The town is anticipating $965,000 in non-tax revenues, a 4.5-percent increase over last year, with about $757,000 of that expected to come from increased airport fees for fuel sales, landing fees and other sources.

The town is also expecting to realize savings of $459,000 by closing the scavenger waste plant

East Hampton’s budget is more than $300,000 below the state-mandated tax levy cap. Although some have criticized the high revenue estimates in the budget, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli reviewed the preliminary budget earlier this month and deemed the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the tentative budget reasonable.

Get a Charge of This

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The East Hampton Town Board has invited the public to join in a celebration of the town’s new electric vehicle charging station, the latest addition to the Town Hall complex, on Friday, November 14, at 9 a.m. The event will take place in front of the police department annex behind the main buildings at 159 Pantigo Road in East Hampton.

Members of the town board and representatives of the Natural Resources Department will showcase the station with electric vehicles provided by Buzz Chew Chevrolet and Tesla Motors. Company representatives will be available to answer any technical questions.

The town was recently awarded funds by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to install the station to encourage its workforce and members of the public to embrace electric vehicles, which provide the opportunity to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

NYSERDA is providing approximately $10,500, or roughly 85 percent, of the full cost of equipment and installation, while NYPA is providing an additional $2,000, or the remaining 15 percent.

“I am proud that East Hampton has joined many other communities in supporting electric vehicles by providing a charging station at Town Hall,” said Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, the board’s liaison to the Energy Sustainability Committee. “This is part of our commitment to environmental sustainability.”

“I thank the Natural Resources Department for applying for the funds for this electric vehicle charging station, which moves the Town one step closer to energy efficiency,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

East Hampton Town Budget Stays Below Tax Cap

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By Mara Certic

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell’s $71.5 million budget has seen some changes to both its revenue and expenditure sides since it was first presented in September, but will remain well below the state-mandated 2-percent tax cap.

East Hampton Town Budget Officer Len Bernard presented some of those changes at a board meeting on Thursday, November 6.

Mr. Bernard explained certain adjustments had been made since the tentative budget was released in September. In the budget, the town had anticipated $50,000 in  revenue from a proposed rental registry law, Mr. Bernard said, which was removed after residents came out in opposition to the law at a public hearing last month.

In its place, Mr. Bernard added $80,900 for lease options the town is entering into with a solar company, he said. “This revenue source may become a recurring revenue source depending on what is discovered during that lease option period, in terms of whether or not the solar energy production is feasible on the sites they’re going to be testing,” Mr. Bernard said.

Mr. Bernard added he had $104,900 for additional public safety into the revenue side of the budget. Mr. Bernard said Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman told him he was “99 percent sure” the town would end up receiving a greater share of sales tax revenue to be used for public safety. This agreement, Mr. Bernard explained, was established as a way to reimburse East End communities that have their own police forces and do not use the Suffolk County Police.

On the expense side, approximately $70,000 was added for police funding, $10,000 for the fisheries committee, $2,500 for the cemeteries fund and $20,000 for a part-time youth coordinator, he  said.

The town has budgeted to close its scavenger waste facility, which will save the town $450,000 between 2014 and 2015.

“It really doesn’t affect revenues, other than the fact that there will be no revenue other than tax revenue for that district. There are going to be no fees because the place is going to be closed,” Mr. Bernard said.

“We’re not realizing any kind of increase in fees, we’re actually realizing a substantial drop is costs that will be going down over time until eventually the place is fully shut down and all of the old debt is paid off,” he said. Mr. Bernard added that the current budget will be $315,000 below the state tax cap, which can be applied to next year’s budget.

Tom Knobel, chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, spoke up during Thursday’s public hearing and said he found some flaws on the revenue side of the budget.

“I believe there are a couple of flaws. I believe you are aiming to a more fee-based budgeting for the town and fees can be punitive,” he said.

Mr. Knobel also expressed concern that the town had anticipated a revenue increase of 18.3 percent, when there has been talk in the town of possibly limiting flights in and out of East Hampton Airport. Mr. Knobel said reducing the number of flights would “would limit the profitability of the airport.”

Other than a $10,000 line item for fisheries, Mr. Knobel said there was nothing in the budget to suggest the town was trying to attract new jobs or strive toward economic development.

Amos Goodman, of Springs, also commented about the town relying on future revenues with “where we are year to date in 2014, really being significantly less than what the previous year’s budget indicated,” he said.

“At $71.5 million, the budget’s less than it was six years ago,” Mr. Cantwell said on Thursday.

Mr. Cantwell added that the New York State comptroller announced on November 4 that after significant review, he had found East Hampton Town’s budget to have both reasonable revenue and expenditure projections.

“The state comptroller’s findings reflect the town’s goal of conservatively projecting non-tax revenue and restraining spending in order to produce a balanced budget,” Supervisor Cantwell said in a release.

 

 

 

Southampton Town Trustees, Police Request More Funding in the Town Budget

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By Mara Certic

Three weeks before the Southampton Town Board is slated to adopt its 2015 budget, representatives of two departments came before the board to ask for additional funding.

“We offer all of our departments and department heads the opportunity to come before the town board as part of the budget crafting process to discuss any thoughts they have, suggestions, complaints et cetera, et cetera,” Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said at the beginning of a work session on Thursday, October 30.

The Southampton Town Trustees and the town’s police department were two such entities that asked for a larger share of the town’s preliminary budget.

“When you took office for the first time the town’s finances were not in the greatest of shape, and the Trustees have always operated on a very, very lean budget all through the years,” Eric Shultz, president of the Trustees, told the supervisor on Thursday.

“I just wanted to start discussing bringing the Trustees’ budget back up to pretty much what it was before this financial crisis started,” he said. “The Trustees have contributed the lion’s share of that budget and feel that we really have helped the town weather this storm.”

Mr. Shultz said there were certain line items that were no longer budgeted for, including overtime pay for bay constables, upkeep of vehicles, legal fees, salaries for office staff and so on.

“In this budget we were told it was basically going to be the same as last year and we need to start coming out of the hole a little bit,” Mr. Shultz said, adding that some of the Trustees’ employees had been driving a vehicle until a spark plug blew out of the engine.

“We’ve not had to ask the town board for any vehicles or any boats or any motors or any repairs to our buildings in the last four or five years because of our sand sales, and that’s coming to an end. There has been zero dollars realized from the sale of sand this year,” he said.

The Trustees made $1.2 million in sand sales in the year following Super Storm Sandy, which they used for upkeep of their fleet and their properties. The current state of Southampton beaches, however, suggests sand sales won’t be on the rise any time soon.

Ms. Throne-Holst said the conversation was one that should have taken place as a part of the requested budget process, where departments lay out what money they need for what projects, so the town can budget accordingly. She added the Trustees are an enterprise fund, meaning they have a revenue source of their own.

The Trustees suggested they brought in the most money to the town, and that as those charged with protecting the waterways, they “control the economic engine of this town.”

Ms. Throne-Holst acknowledged their contributions, but added both the town’s Building Department and Justice Court bring in hefty sums in permit fees and fines as well.

“So what we need to do now is set back the clock and pretend we’re back in September when the budget came out,” she said. “But we need to follow timelines here like everyone else,” she reminded the Trustees. “We’re so understaffed in our office, its hard to get things done,” responded Mr. Shultz.

Southampton Town Police Chief Robert Pearce came before the board to address portions of his department’s budget that concerned him. Chief Pearce had put in a request for six new police officers in order, primarily, to increase police presence in Flanders as well as a request for more money for severance pay and vehicle upkeep.

“That is the reason I am asking for six,” he said, “It is my understanding I’m getting three with a possibility of a fourth in 2016.” In the current budget, there will be three new names added to the police payroll, filling two new positions and one vacancy.

The town has budgeted to add another lieutenant and sergeant to the department—both will be internal promotions—and then to fill those positions and an existing vacancy with department officers.

If Suffolk County adopts its preliminary budget, Ms. Throne-Holst explained there would be a new agreement to provide the town with a greater share of sales tax revenue to use for public safety.

The supervisor suggested some of that money be allocated to pay for one officer immediately, with a commitment to double the amount in the next calendar year.

“It won’t get you there immediately, but it will get you there roughly in a year or so,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. Chief Pearce said back when he had 102 officers he ran a lean department. As the budget stands, his department will have 90 officers in 2015.

“We were running lean then, we’re running emaciated now,” Chief Pearce said. The supervisor said the seasonal nature of the town makes budgeting for the police particularly difficult.

“We try to do the best we can in a way that achieves a balance between the season and the off-season,” she said.

East Hampton Budget

In East Hampton Town, Budget Officer Len Bernard presented another review of the tentative operating budget for 2015. Since it was first presented to the public in September, the town has added $29,124 in net expenditures to the budget. More money for human services, town cemeteries, the East End Arts Council and the fisheries committee, among others, account for the increases, Mr. Bernard explained.

Mr. Bernard said more money had found its way into the revenue fund. This is in part due to expected lease payments from solar companies. According to Mr. Bernard the contracts have been drawn and will be signed shortly. “This is going to happen real soon,” he said.

The overall net to the tax levy, he said, is $152,400 in revenue, which will very slightly lower the projected tax increase. Also, it will put the town $329,569 under the tax cap, which it can carry forward to the next year.

In a work session meeting on October 21, Councilwoman Kathee Burke Gonzalez asked that an additional $36,000 be put into the airport budget in order to install cameras to record flight activity.

Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc requested the town also budget for a part-time skilled carpenter to conduct small repairs on town buildings. “I think Peter’s proposal is acceptable, as far as I’m concerned, and encouraged,” said Councilman Fred Overton.

Mr. Bernard said he would add both of those items to the budget. Both towns are scheduled to adopt their operating budgets by November 20, as stipulated by state law.

David Alicea

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David Alicea is part of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which aims to unite grassroots activists around the country in order to move past the nation’s dependence on coal. Here he discusses the upcoming Rally for Renewables and other ways to move toward energy independence.

Last month, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Manhattan for the People’s Climate March. Now on this Thursday, October 30, the Sierra Club is hosting a rally for renewables. What is that in aid of?

Well it’s an hour before LIPA’s board meeting. They have two board meetings left in the year, on October 30 and December 17. We expect on December 17 they will make a decision whether to move forward or not on an offshore wind project 30 miles off of Montauk. So we saw this board meeting in October as kind of the last public opportunity to really come out there and show the overwhelming support for wind energy from a diversity of voices and to really make it known we’re going to have to rally.

Who are some of the people slated to speak at Thursday’s rally?

We have a pretty good lineup. There will be Lisa Tyson from the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Maureen Murphy for the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Stephan Edel from the Center of Working Families, Jeremy Samuelson from the Concerned Citizens of Montauk is trying to make his way out, Gordian Raacke from Renewable Energy Long Island and Catherine Bowes from the National Wildlife Federation. We have some of your basic environmental groups, we have progressive voices, we have conservation focus groups who ask hard questions about new development projects. We’ll also have some staff from elected officials offices in the board meeting itself to also deliver statements on behalf of their legislators.

Do you have any sort of inkling as to whether or not the LIPA board and Governor Cuomo will approve the Deepwater ONE project? 

In August there was some concern that they were going to put all of their decisions on hold. We were pretty concerned because—“On hold ’til when?” Originally, the commitment for 400 MW of renewable energy was made in 2012. Then you had LIPA reorganization, which delayed things, but they promised us they still would make a decision once reorganization settled down. And so we put a lot of pressure on the governor and LIPA over summer and they promised they would make a decision by the end of the year, which I think was a big victory. This process is the best chance for offshore wind. Which way LIPA and the governor will go, I don’t know. I think we’ve been pretty good in showing the overwhelming purport. We have polling data that shows more than 80 percent of Long Islanders support this, we should have at least 50 people there for Thursday’s middle-of-the-day event and normally no one goes to LIPA board meetings. But, the decision will be made behind closed doors sometime over the next month, or month and a half.

Election Day is just around the corner. What are some of the things our elected officials should be doing to continue to combat climate change? 

We’ve seen the Town of East Hampton with its 100-percent by 2020 goal. Honestly, this is like a national example of leadership on climate issues. So I think now it’s operationalizing and making sure they reach that goal is the challenge they have. And that’s where we feel the Deepwater project fits in, in really helping them achieve that, but I think they’re going to keep doing great things to sort of make sure that comes through and we’ve been working really closely with Senator LaValle and others on being on the forefront of wind energy. We’ve just sent a letter to the governor about this. So I think it’s really having them keep doing the great work they’re doing and having the East End serve as a real example. We could set the stage for the rest of Long Island, for the state and the nation. It’s a really exciting movement.

The Rally for Renewable Energy will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 30, at LIPA HQ, 333 Earle Ovington Boulevard in Uniondale. Those interested in carpooling from the East End should call Dea Million at (612) 644-1162.

 

 

LaValle and Thiele Secure $700,000 to Fund a Roundabout on Route 114

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Roundabout

Elected officials gathered at the intersection of Route 114 and Toilsome Lane to announce that $700,000 had been secured to fund the construction of a roundabout at this location. From left to right are, East Hampton Village Superintendent of Public Works Scott Pithian, East Hampton Village Trustees Barbara Borsack and Richard Lawler, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., and East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced a state partnership with East Hampton Village to fund and construct a roundabout at the troublesome five-corner intersection of State Route 114 and Toilsome Lane on Monday, October 27.

“As you can see, this is a very interesting intersection, and so I think it’s been on the drawing board, or discussed, for many years, how we can traverse the intersection in the safest way possible,” Senator LaValle said just yards away from the busy intersection on Monday afternoon.

“The Village of East Hampton made a request and Assemblyman Thiele and I were able to meet the request of the village,” he said.

“The hard work was done here by the village,” the assemblyman said, which managed to reach community consensus on the proposed roundabout.

“It involves a state highway that’s part of this, and the Department of Transportation is fond of saying ‘Oh we’ll give you the permit for it, but we don’t have any money to pay for it,’” Mr. Thiele said.  ”So we wanted to try to eliminate that particular problem and that’s why the senator and I were able to get $700,000 toward the cost of this — which is not the entire cost but is a substantial portion to help the village.”

“This is one of those rare occasions where all levels of government have worked together,” said East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. “I’m very, very pleased,” he added.

“All the engineering and planning has been done so this can move forward,” Mr. Thiele said. The roundabout will have a raised, mountable and landscaped center island. The project will involve the installation of improved drainage structures as well as certain traffic-calming and pedestrian-safety measures.

Mr. Rickenbach said the project was a “work in progress,” but added the village hopes to have it completed within the next year.

Assemblyman Thiele added he and Mr. LaValle are going to be asking the DOT to look at other issues along Route 114, including speed limits and the need to repave the road from the Sag Harbor line through to East Hampton Village. “Route 114 is next for us to look at,” he said.