Tag Archive | "east hampton town board"

Wainscott Parcel Targeted for Affordable Housing

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By Stephen J. Kotz

A plan to build as many as 48 affordable rental apartments on a 31-acre site owned by East Hampton Town in Wainscott was proposed to the Town Board on July 15.

Michael DeSario, the chairman of the Windmill Village Housing Development Fund Corporation, which has been involved with other subsidized housing projects in the town, made his pitch at the board’s weekly work session and stressed that any project is far from a done deal, saying that even if everything went without a hitch, he was looking at a timeframe of up to four to six years before they would be completed.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell agreed with Mr. DeSario’s assessment that the project would take some years to bring to fruition.

“There’s a lot of lead time on a project like this,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell on Wednesday, “but you never get anything done if you don’t get started on something.”

The first hurdle, the supervisor said, would be making sure the project is workable with the tiny Wainscott School District, whose residents enjoy the lowest school tax rate in town.

“We know there is a demand for affordable housing. Young, working familes have few places to live,” Mr. Cantwell said. “Want to consider locations and proposals and get community input.”

“Several months ago, the town asked Windmill to look around and work with the Planning Department to see if there are any sites available for affordable housing,” Mr. DeSario said on Tuesday. “We came up with a couple and this was at the top of the list.”

The targeted site consists of several parcels off Stephen Hands Path, behind the town-owned soccer fields and the Child Development Center of the Hamptons school.

Mr. DeSario said he envisioned a development that would consist of eight buildngs with six apartment units in each one. Twenty would be one-bedroom apartments of about 600 squae feet, 20 would be two-bedroom units of about 800 square feet, and another eight would be three-bedroom units with about 1,200 square feet of living space.

The project would also have a community room and a superintendent’s apartment and could be served by standard individual wastewater systems or a small-scale onsite waste treatment plant.

A wastewater treatment plant could upward of $1 million to build and another $50,000 a year to run, “so we wanted to make sure it could be done either way,” he said.

Mr. DeSario estimated that the complex would cost up to $15 million and would be funded through federal grants and tax credits.

The units would be rented to “low and very-low income people,” Mr. DeSario said, adding that they would provide tenants “with clean, healthy housing that would be guaranteed. They wouldn’t have to wory about being evicted or someone selling and having their rent tripled.”

Although Mr. DeSario said that care had been taken to see that the complex was not populated with too many children—he estimated there would be 30 to 40 children living there—at last week’s board meeting, David Eagan, an attorney and president of the Wainscott School Board, told the board he was worried about the impact the development could have on the district.

Mr. Cantwell said he was aware of the district’s concerns and said the board would wait until Wainscott received a study assessing the impact the project would have on the district before taking the next step.

On Wednesday, Mr. Eagan said the district had hired the SES Study Team, an educaitonal consulting firm, to assess the impact such a housing complex would have on Wainscott.

“The impact is going to be dramatic,” he said. “We know it is going to be profound.”

Besides doubling the number of students in the district, it could “compromise our longheld mission of individualized programs for our students,” he said. “We’re concerned about the need for new facilities, the need for new staff and the impact on the bottom line.”

Supervisor Cantwell said the board was also cognizant of the recent announcement by the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust that it will buy the Cottages, a group of eight affordable housing units on Route 114, which are also in the Wainscott School District. Although those units are currently used for affordable housing, Mr. Cantwell said it is expected they will be expanded and could have an additional impact on the school district.

Indian Wells Beach Goes Dry

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After months of discussion and disagreement, East Hampton Town has adopted a law that will restrict alcohol at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett.

The East Hampton Town Board and Trustees had been negotiating provisions of the beach alcohol ban since complaints started flooding in recent years about inappropriate behavior and huge parties organized on social media at Indian Wells beach.

The law, which will go into effect in August, will prohibit drinking within 1,000 feet on either side of the entrance to the beach, during lifeguarding hours on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays until the law sunsets on September 30, 2014.

Amagansett resident Stuart Vorpahl spoke out to say that a law could have been in place throughout the summer had only the board “recognized the sovereign authority of the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton.”

“Instead,” he continued,  “you folks grabbed on to illegal New York State Legislature,” he said of municipal Laws, which allowed the town board to adopt this law without the Trustees’ input.

Brian Byrnes, an East Hampton Town Trustee, thanked the board for working with the Trustees on the issue.

“I’m very thankful we have the board that we have today and not the board of the past. I don’t think we would have gotten nearly as far,” he said.

“I don’t necessarily think everybody’s happy, but I think this is something we can live with,” Mr. Byrnes said. “And I’ve been down at the beach on a number of occasions and it’s good to see a police presence there.”

“I have a good feeling,” he said. “I think we worked well together.”

Aircraft Noise Still Tormenting East Hampton Residents

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By Mara Certic

Airport noise continues to disrupt residents of the East End, causing concern at the East Hampton Town Board as the busy summer season officially kicked off this Independence Day weekend.

“The horizon is littered with airplanes,” Sag Harbor resident Patricia Currie told the board on Thursday, July 3. “No peace can be found; not for man, woman or critter of any kind.”

Ms. Currie said that it was virtually impossible to enjoy peaceful recreational activities in the area anymore, adding that although helicopters are the main problem “large jets run a close second. They have been permitted at any hour.”

Ms. Currie implored the board to set in place restrictions on the types of aircraft that can use the airport and impose strict curfews. “You have the power to end the insanity,” she said. “I beg you, do not wait one day longer.”

Real Estate Agent Tom MacNiven started by complimenting the board for its work on the airport thus far. “You’re really demystifying the airport,” he said “You’re doing what the two previous administrations had ignored.”

He then, however, went on to discuss the adverse economic effects that the airport has been having in the area. Entire parts of town, he explained, have been stigmatized right now due to the incessant aircraft noise overhead. He believes this to be the reason why such a large number of available houses went unrented this summer. “What is the effect of this on my real estate?”

He said that 20 years ago the busiest day at the airport was the airport open house.

Wainscott resident Barry Raebeck also looked to the past when he addressed the board on Thursday.

Some 20 years ago, he said, the FAA qualified the East Hampton Airport as a municipal airport. Now it is a regional airport. “It has before our very eyes morphed into a monstrosity,” he said. “Will it next be a metropolitan airport?”

Helicopters fly over his Wainscott house every “three to five minutes for hours,” he said. “That’s not what we signed up for.”

He asked the board to revert the airport to what it started out as, a “local, recreational non-commercial facility,” or he said, “Close it.” Barry Raebeck is the father of Sag Harbor Express reporter Tessa Raebeck.

Tom Ogden seconded his sentiments: “The airport was a part of the fabric of the environment, but it’s become a severe problem,” he said. “Bring it back to what it was, an airport that was part of everything we love.”

Kathy Cunningham of the Quiet Skies Coalition used the date of the meeting to her advantage and, after expressing preemptive apologies to Thomas Jefferson, read the Quiet Sky Coalition’s “Declaration of Independence from the Torment of Unlimited Aircraft Noise.”

Her letter began as one might expect: “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with some unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Which can only be achieved,” it continued, “by substantial relief of the scourge that is aircraft noise.”

“In every stage of these oppressions we, the noise-affected, have petitioned for address in most humble terms. Even now while proper address is being sought by this town board, we continue to suffer the burdens of unlimited aircraft noise.”

The “declaration” went on to appeal to the board to remedy their suffering and restore the peace.  “These are our skies, this is our town, this is our airport.”

Most of the residents who spoke thanked the board for its efforts. One woman who lives in the Village of East Hampton even went as far to say that she was “encouraged that maybe something could be done.” She did, however, go on to say that one helicopter was flying so low overhead the previous Friday that she “could almost say hello to the pilot.”

Ms. Currie thanked the board for “restoring dignity and respect to the podium.”

“Thank you for choosing to buy more land for preservation,” she said. The Community Preservation Fund Financial report was presented in a work session meeting on Tuesday, July 1. CPF revenues, the report stated, were on the upswing and the fund is predicted to have approximately $40 million by the end of 2014.

No fewer than four CPF acquisitions were subject to public hearing in Thursday’s meeting alone, including an 18-acre area in the Northwest Woods owned by the heirs of Mary Whelan.

 

Fuel Fee Hiked

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After presentations, public hearings and pleas, the East Hampton Town Board voted on Thursday, June 19, to double the fuel fee at the East Hampton Airport, effective July 1.

The fee has was at 15 cents per gallon in 1992 and has not been changed since. Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who sponsored the resolution, has said that research has shown that upping the fee to 30 cents is not unreasonable, and that many comparable airports have similar such fees.

Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft Services asked the board to reconsider. “If you pass the resolution put before you tonight that would impose a 100 percent increase in our fuel flow fee. Do so knowing that you are taking a giant and deliberate step toward debilitating and ultimately squeezing out a 24-year-old local business,” she said.

Ms. Herbst then proceeded to “put some faces and names to Sound Aircraft,” and introduced members of her staff to the board and the public.

“These are the people whose jobs are affected by the decision you’re making tonight,” she said.

Before seconding the resolution, Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc spoke up to say  “This is really all about revenue, and trying to make the airport safe and continue the maintenance.”

Supervisor Larry Cantwell was the only “nay” vote on the board, saying that he believed that the increase to 30 cents was appropriate but, “I don’t think it should be done all at once,” he said. “I do think that’s somewhat unfair.”

Proposed Beach Alcohol Ban Has East Hampton Town Boards at Odds

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 wellswebb

By Mara Certic

A proposed ban on alcohol at two beaches in Amagansett has the two elected branches of East Hampton Town’s government at odds.

The East Hampton Town Board has suggested a ban on drinking at Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue Beaches in Amagansett during lifeguarding hours in the summer months in an effort to curtail what many believe to be inappropriate behavior that has become more prevalent over the past few years.

One speaker at the public hearing on Thursday, Mark Schultz, referred to Indian Wells Beach as “frat beach.”

But the town board’s proposal has frustrated many of the Trustees, who obtained their power from King James II in 1686 and to this day own and manage the beaches on behalf of the commonality.

In the past few years, Indian Wells Beach has transformed. In 2012 the family-friendly beach in Amagansett began to host a different sort of beach-goer after various media began advertising the town beach as “the place to party.”

According to Police Chief Michael Sarlo, this resulted in hundreds of people showing up to the beach on weekends with coolers, kegs and loud music—and about 60 summons a year, roughly half of which were issued for open containers of alcohol in the parking lot, the rest for public urination, littering and failure to follow posted regulations or directions from the lifeguards.

The situation “became dangerous” and the “flow of traffic became burdensome,” according to Chief Sarlo. The problem, however, is difficult to enforce, as officers must physically witness violations in order to issue a summons.

Another problem, according to the police chief, is that the acts that are being committed do not actually rise to the level required by the New York State penal code, even though they “may be offensive to some, and may be morally questionable.”

For example, he explained, according to state law, the revelers cannot be cited for unlawful assembly unless their reason for congregating is to engage or prepare to engage in tumultuous or violent conduct.  “Once again,” he said. “[Unlawful assembly is] a class b misdemeanor and the courts have not found, unfortunately, that beer funnels or drinking games are tumultuous and violent conduct.”

The proposed ban would prohibit drinking alcohol from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, in an area spanning 3,000 feet—1,500 feet both east and west of the road end.

The Trustees had suggested that the ban be in effect only on weekends and only in 500 feet in each direction from the parking lot.

Trustee Deborah Klughers expressed concern that increasing the area of the alcohol ban would, in fact, worsen the current situation, because the revelers would move farther down the beach, out of lifeguarded areas and farther away from garbage cans and the restrooms. “They will be urinating in the dunes, they will be littering more,” she said. “Pushing these people away will push them even farther away, to other beaches in our community.”

Many of those who spoke on Thursday—both for and against the law—said that this was a problem unique to Indian Wells Beach, and they did not understand why the beach at Atlantic Avenue was included.

Ms. Klughers said in Thursday’s meeting that Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc had forwarded her e-mails that the town board had received from the public concerning this issue, but that they mentioned solely Indian Wells as the problem beach in the town. “They were clear in their e-mails that they were in favor of banning at Indian Wells, but not at Atlantic,” she said.

Mr. Schultz, who is in favor of the ban, spoke after Ms. Klughers and said “I agree, this is an Indian Wells problem, for now.”

In an interview on Tuesday, East Hampton Town Trustee Clerk Diane McNally said that the town board had included the beach at Atlantic Avenue into this law “just because of its close proximity” to Indian Wells.

Ms. McNally said that the Trustees “were hoping that the issues of public intoxication or disorderly conduct could be addressed in another fashion instead of a new law.” What the alternative could be, however, she was “not clear on,” she said.

“We want to just be sure that we’re not going to inadvertently cause more problems,” she said.

Diane Walker spoke out in favor of the ban on Thursday: “The East Hampton Town Trustees who are the property managers for our beaches want peace and good order,” she said.  The East Hampton Town Trustees are conditioned to be defensive about their jurisdictions. The East Hampton Town Trustees sometimes lose perspective. What must be agreed upon is a good faith experiment to restore peace and good order at Atlantic and Indian Wells Beaches.

Ms. Walker suggested a mobile court to allow arrests to be adjudicated at the scene.

The town board and the Trustees will continue their discussions over the coming weeks, according to Ms. McNally.

 

A Mighty Wind Blows Our Way

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London Array, an offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom that produces enough energy to power 500,000 homes a year. Photo courtesy London Array Limited.

By Mara Certic

The East Hampton Town Board made history last month when it became the first town in New York State to establish the goal of meeting all the town’s electricity needs with renewable energy by the year 2020. A proposed 200-megawatt wind farm 30 miles east of Montauk Point could produce up to a fifth of those expected energy needs.

The goals have been described in the media as “lofty,” but renewable energy professionals are adamant that they are not just tilting at windmills—this battle can be won.

In just four years, an old energy substation on the east end of Long Island is slated to become one of the first in the United States to connect to and be powered by a large offshore wind farm. Deepwater Wind, of Rhode Island, won a bid to develop a 256-square-mile area in 2013. Its current proposal is to install 35 six-mega-watt turbines, which would supply the five East End towns with 200 megawatts of energy.

Extending 550 feet from the water line to the tip of the blade when fully extended, the turbines really are “quite large,” according to Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind. Each turbine is pretty much equivalent in size to the Washington Monument which, at 555 feet tall, is the tallest structure in the District of Columbia. Deepwater Wind officials maintain that the turbines will be installed “over the horizon” and therefore will not be visible from any point in Long Island.

Established in 2005, Deepwater Wind is dedicated exclusively to offshore wind and focuses predominantly in the Northeast, from New Jersey to New England. This is the area, according to Mr. Grybowski, where company officials believe offshore wind farms are most likely to be established first “mainly because there are relatively few options in the Northeast for building large-scale renewable energy.” He added that the offshore wind resource here is “one of the strongest in the world.”

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) 4.18 percent of all generated electricity in the United States comes from onshore wind power. Deepwater Wind’s demonstration-scale project three miles southeast of Block Island is on track to become America’s first offshore wind farm in 2016.

As any seaman will tell you, offshore wind is stronger than wind traveling over land, providing Long Island with “a great opportunity,” according to David Alicea of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

Deepwater ONE—the name for the project off of Montauk—would deliver power to an existing LIPA-owned substation on the South Fork via transmission cables buried below roads. Deepwater Wind claims that this specific project could provide electricity to more than 120,000 houses, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.

“Offshore wind really is the best way,” Mr. Alicea said. The 122-year-old Sierra Club, founded by conservationist John Muir, is the biggest non-profit environmental organization in the United States. According to Mr. Alicea, for the past few years, climate change has come to the forefront of environmental issues the organization focuses on because it “really connects to everything.”

“I think Super Storm Sandy is what made it really apparent to the Long Islanders, that there’s a real risk here,” he said.  “But the geography that threatens us also provides us with a solution.”

He stressed the importance of ensuring that the project be good for the environment in every way, and that Deepwater Wind is indeed doing its due diligence to prevent any undesirable ecological impacts. “They have agreed to be really mindful in their construction and they’ve been a great partner to work with for a number of environmental groups,” he said.

But Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, does not share Mr. Alicea’s optimism about the project. “It’s like anything in life,” she said about the proposed wind farm. “If it sounds like it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”

Ms. Brady’s concerns about Deepwater ONE range from disrupting air traffic (“They have to put lights on them, but then there are these little things called planes!”) to noise pollution (“What travels best on water? Sound.”) Her main worry, however, is the effect that she predicts the wind farm will have on the fishing industry.

“This is an industrial event on the ocean floor and it’s a big deal,” she said. “People hear the word ‘green’ and they think it’s passive and green. This is pile-driving the ocean floor. What do you think a little pile-driving is going to do to [fish]?” Potentially disrupt their habitats and migratory patterns, she fears.

According to Lauren Thompson, an environmental consultant in the renewable energy sector in the United Kingdom, who was interviewed by email, these concerns are legitimate. The United Kingdom currently has 22 operational offshore wind farms and over 50 more in development. Part of her job, she explained, is to help minimize the environmental and social impacts of offshore wind farms.

Effects on migratory bird paths, marine mammal feeding and breeding grounds, fish-spawning grounds, erosion and noise pollution are all meticulously studied and assessed over a period of several years, she said.

Most of these impacts are “carefully considered during the development phase, and minimized as far as possible,” said Ms. Thompson. “Wind farm developers are required to consult with environmental and fishing groups closely during the planning process to reach agreement on which measures will be used.”

Merlin Jackson, a fisherman based out of Ramsgate Harbor in Kent, England, who was interviewed by email, believes that the studies haven’t gone far enough. He claims to have experienced environmental side effects of several nearby offshore wind farms. “There is no doubt that these farms have had an effect on the fishermen here,” he said. “But it remains to be seen how far-reaching that will be and whether the benefits will outweigh the negatives.”

Mr. Jackson said that in addition to the scientific surveys done by developers, “there are many other surveys and site specific studies that could be put in place to make the impacts clearer and to gain the confidence of the fishermen.”

Ms. Thompson explained that in the United Kingdom, even after environmental studies and consultations have been conducted, developers, in general, end up paying compensation to fishermen if they disrupt their normal fishing grounds during construction.

“You need to pay [the fishermen] for that privilege,” said Ms. Brady. “They need to bring their checkbooks.”

Architect and chairman of the Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee Frank Dalene, however, feels that their worries might be exaggerated. He maintained that although there are legitimate arguments and concerns about offshore wind farms, “it’s really a benign impact.”

“In Europe there are 2,500 wind farms offshore in 11 countries, producing almost 10 gigawatts of energy,” he said. “It’s already developed [there], which is a great way to dispel myths.”

He spoke about a plan to take concerned fishermen on the East End to those European countries where they can see the actual effects of offshore wind farms on the industry. Mr. Dalene added that continuing to burn fossil fuels would have “a more lasting impact on the fishery.”

“We could be one of the first in the country to do this and really make this transition away from fossil fuels,” said Mr. Alicea. Matt Kearns, a Long Island-native and dedicated member of the Sierra Club, is determined for that to happen.

He is so determined that on Saturday, June 14, Mr. Kearns will be running 100 miles, from the Montauk Lighthouse to the Long Beach Boardwalk, just to make a point.

“As a runner I wanted to do something that would connect coastal areas that could benefit from building job-creating offshore wind,” he said. “We’re showing that although Long Island families are at risk from worsening climate disruption, we also have the resources to help solve it by building renewable offshore wind.”

The run, Mr. Alicea said, aims to demonstrate to the powers that be that Long Island is behind the plan. He added that a poll done by the Sierra Club showed 80 percent of Long Islanders support offshore wind farming.

Mr. Alicea, and the Sierra Club, are using the run to demonstrate to Governor Cuomo, LIPA and PSEG that the East End is ready and that this is what they want. “A lot of it hinges on the governor. He’s been really involved in Long Island’s energy policy and making all these decisions,” he said. “If he gives the green light and says New York State is behind this, they’ll do it.”

Environmental studies have already begun for the Deepwater ONE site and when completed, if the project is approved and accepted by the power authorities, wind energy could be responsible for turning on East Hampton’s lights as early as 2018.

Gordian Raacke, the founder of Renewable Energy Long Island,  said “People are afraid of it because it’s something new and something different. It’s like everything else; change is always scary and meets some resistance. But people have to have a change to experience it.”

East Hampton Town Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030

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By Mara Certic

Environmental advocates celebrated last Thursday the inclusion of East Hampton Town on a list of communities that are committed in the long term to obtaining all of their energy from renewable sources.

The town board voted unanimously to establish the ambitious goal of using renewable energy to meet all of the community’s electricity needs by the year 2020, becoming the first town in the state to set such a goal.

The town intends to meet an equivalent renewable energy goal for the heating, transportation and waste management sectors by the year 2030.

“We are dumping 90 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere on a daily basis,” said Gordian Raacke, founder of Renewable Energy Long Island at an East Hampton Energy and Sustainability forum on  Thursday, May 22. “If we continue business as usual we would get into catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change,” he said.

“Electricity makes up half of [our carbon] emissions so we can tackle that first half very quickly because we have all our tools in our toolbox, particularly in the electric sector, to generate electricity from renewable resources,” said Mr. Raacke, who is also a member of the East Hampton Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee.

According to Mr. Raacke, Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in all sectors by 2050.

“Which means essentially we have to stop burning fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources,” said Mr. Raacke.

“If someone hears this they may go: ‘Wow, that’s a lofty goal,’” said Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee chairman Frank Dalene. “It’s a high goal, but the energy sustainability committee has already recommended three RFP’s to the town.”

Mr. Dalene was referring to a proposed solar generating facility at the East Hampton Airport, an offshore wind farm 30 miles off of Montauk Point and smaller solar installations proposed for 10 town-owned lots.

“The Deepwater Wind ONE project will be around 200 megawatts. According to their news release, it will generate power for the five East End towns,” said John Botos, an environmental technician for the Town of East Hampton’s Natural Resources Department.

Mr. Botos explained that East Hampton currently uses 20 percent of the electricity consumed by the five East End towns. Therefore, it would only be able to count on 20 percent of the wind farm’s output against its 100-percent goal should the farm come to fruition.

“However, if we count this plus the output from the 70 megawatts of solar proposals, we would achieve slightly more than 100 percent of our current communitywide electricity consumption,” he added.

“We don’t know if they will actually produce this much energy,” Mr. Dalene said about the three proposals. “But we as a committee are not going to stop.”

Mr. Raacke said in Thursday’s meeting that his house, along with many on the East End, is powered entirely by renewable energy. The town has a solar fast-track permitting process, and decisions are made in 14 days or less. The fee has been waived for solar permit applications as an incentive for residents.

“Not everyone is going to be able to afford solar panels,” said Mr. Botos.  But PSEG Long Island, he explained, offers a slew of tax rebate programs for those who choose to switch their homes to use renewable energy; a 30-percent federal tax credit is also available, he said.

“However, it will soon be possible to get solar panels installed with a low-interest loan from New York State and pay it back through on-bill financing on utility bills,” he said. “This means that households could afford solar panels, as there is no upfront cash required.”

The committee stressed that this goal also presents a great economic opportunity, creating jobs and keeping money in the local economy.

Mr. Botos emphasized the importance of public participation in attaining the sustainability goal, which will be augmented by “unplugged” campaigns at schools, community outreach and involvement.

The first step, the committee explained, is to reduce energy consumption. “You’ll waste money on your solar panels if you don’t reduce your energy consumption first,” warned Mr. Dalene.

Mr. Botos recommended that all residents take advantage of the free federally funded home energy audit, and take measures to make their homes more energy-efficient.

“There are a variety of other ways people can get involved. For example, turn off the ‘stand-by’ feature on TVs and gaming systems and unplugging electronics when they are not being used,” he said. “It isn’t enough to just generate electricity from renewable energy, but it is equally important to reduce consumption.”

The simple switch to LED light bulbs makes a difference, he said. The natural resources department has a variety of reimbursement forms on PSEG rebates for a wide array of household appliances.

Towns, cities and countries worldwide have made similar renewable energy goals; Aspen’s goal of using 100-percent renewable energy by the year 2015 is already 75 percent complete.

“All of the studies agree that we can do this, we have the financial wherewithal to make this happen,” said Mr. Raacke. “All that was lacking is the political will and that’s what we now have in this town.”

555 Amagansett Requests Adjournment

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The applicants behind 555 Amagansett, a project that entails the rezoning of acreage on Montauk Highway in Amagansett, requested in advance of Thursday night’s East Hampton Town Board meeting, that the board table its request for new zoning to a later date yet to be determined. The current application would create a senior housing overlay district for the creation of a market-rate senior housing community.

The project has taken heat in recent months, with critics contending the application was being fast tracked by the East Hampton Town Board before a new majority takes office in January.

“We have heard various concerns of the community and agree that allowing more time to meet with members of the community, as well as the newly elected officials of the East Hampton Town Board, will allow a more constructive dialogue regarding the future of the 555 property,” said the developers, Putnam Bridge, in a statement issued last week.

Split East Hampton Town Board Adopts Airport Capital Improvement Plan

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The East Hampton Town Board adopted a capital improvement plan for the East Hampton Airport during a work session Tuesday — a roadmap for $5.26 million in repairs and improvements consultants suggest be made to airport facilities over the course of the next five years.

Originally, the capital improvement plan (CIP) — unveiled just before a November 21 public hearing on the proposals — called for $10.45 million in airport repairs and projects over a five-year period. The adopted CIP was cut to $5.26 million with 15 proposed projects removed from the plan as they were not a part of the town board approved Airport Master Plan or Airport Layout Plan, both of which were vetted through environmental review.

The CIP was approved by the outgoing Republican majority of the town board. Airport liaison Dominick Stanzione, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley voted in support of the plan, with Democrats Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc voting against adopting the CIP.

East Hampton Airport manager Jim Brundige said the CIP is meant to highlight what projects are necessary at the airport. Quigley also noted that approving the CIP does not mean the board is approving any of the projects laid out in plan, or how has made a decision about how they will be funded. Rather she called the approval a “first step” in moving towards improvements at the airport first identified in the town’s airport master plan.

However, both Overby and Van Scoyoc expressed concerns about a footnote in the document that references Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding. The CIP, according to testimony given by town aviation consultant Dennis Yap at the November 21 public hearing on the plan, will be submitted to the FAA. Van Scoyoc said he was concerned submitting the plan to the FAA was the first step towards securing additional grants from that agency for airport projects.

“It’s not a necessary step for us to send it to the FAA unless we are pursuing funding from the FAA,” he said.

For several years now, a number of residents and members of the Quiet Skies Coalition have encouraged the town board not to accept FAA funding as they believe when grant assurances expire in December of 2014 the town has the ability to gain greater control of the airport, including the potential to impose curfews or restrict certain aircraft.

East Hampton: Overton, Burke-Gonzalez Earn Town Board Seats

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Supervisor elect Larry Cantwell with running mates Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez on Tuesday night at Democratic Party headquarters at Rowdy Hall in East Hampton.

By Kathryn G. Menu

The East Hampton Town Board will welcome two new members this January with the election of Democrat Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Republican candidate Fred Overton during Tuesday’s town elections.

According to unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections, Overton — the town clerk — had the most support with 3,216 votes or 28.2 percent of ballots cast in Tuesday’s town board race. Burke-Gonzalez followed with 3,125 votes, carrying 27.4 percent of the vote. Her running mate, Democrat Job Potter, placed third with 2,764 votes, followed by the lone incumbent in Tuesday’s town board race, Republican Dominick Stanzione, who earned 2,293 votes.

For Overton, who is not affiliated with any party, but ran with the support of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties, Tuesday’s election to the town board extends his career in public service, which began 50 years ago.

“I ran on my record,” said Overton Wednesday morning. “I have served this community for 50 years, working in the town as assessor and then town clerk for 25 years. People know me. They know I am fair and reasonable and I act with common sense and I think that resonated with people.”

Overton will join a town board made up entirely of Democrats, including Supervisor-elect Larry Cantwell, Burke-Gonzalez and incumbents Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc.

“If I am going to be of any value to the community I have to develop a working relationship with the board,” said Overton. “I have worked with Sylvia and Peter for two years, I am lifelong friends with Larry, so I think I have a head start.”

“It’s been an incredible, incredible journey,” said Burke-Gonzalez Wednesday. “It was a growth experience for me and the support I got from this community was so incredibly rewarding.”

Burke-Gonzalez, a Springs resident and former member of the Springs School Board of Education, credited her family’s involvement in the community for giving her an edge in the race.

“I think people related to the fact that we are working people and this was an opportunity to give a voice to working people,” said Burke-Gonzalez. “On the school board I am also a firm believer in participatory leadership. I don’t have all the answers and I never will. I want to hear what other people think.”

Cantwell, the former East Hampton Village administrator who ran unopposed in his bid for supervisor, said Wednesday the town will face serious challenges in the next two years.

“I am looking forward to working with each one of the new members of the town board,” said Cantwell. “We will invite Fred Overton to be a full participant in all of our decisions. I want him to feel included in what we do. If any of us disagree, I expect we will do it with respect and appreciation of each other’s point of view, but the overall goal will be to do what is right for this community.”

“We have a requirement to address regional issues,” continued Cantwell. “I extend my hand to [Southampton Town Supervisor] Anna Throne-Holst, I extend my hand to [Sag Harbor Mayor] Brian Gilbride and [East Hampton Village Mayor] Paul Rickenbach, and all of the East End mayors and supervisors to do all we can do to preserve the Peconic Estuary, address airport issues and look at transportation.”

In other East Hampton election news, Democrat Steven Tekulsky was successful in his bid for town justice, besting Republican Carl Irace, and Eugene De Pasquale III was re-elected as the town assessor over Republican challenger Joseph Bloecker. In the town trustee race Deborah Klughers, Stephen Lester, Timothy Bock, Stephanie Talmage-Forsberg, Sean McCaffrey, Diane McNally, Nathaniel Miller, Brian Byrnes and Dennis Curles earned election to that board. In uncontested races, Carol Brennan was elected town clerk and Stephen Lynch earned a second term as the town’s superintendent of highways.