Tag Archive | "east hampton town"

East Enders Go Green With Solar Panels

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Steve D’Angelo’s rooftop solar panels at his house on Widow Gavitt’s Road in Sag Harbor. Photo by Steve D’Angelo.

By Mara Certic

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, Steve D’Angelo was looking for a way to invest his money. Instead of putting it into stocks or hiding it under his mattress, he decided to put that money onto his roof.

Six years later, the 24 solar panels that he had installed on his 3,500-square-foot Sag Harbor house have already paid for themselves. “For me it was a long-term investment; I had money and I didn’t know where to put it,” he said. After reading about rebates from LIPA and Southampton Town, the decision to have Green Logic design and install solar panels for his house was a “no-brainer,” he said.

“I’m adding value to my house and I’m not paying as much outright every month,” he said. “It’s really not much different from a municipal bond to some extent, where you’re getting 2 percent or 3 percent on your money—it’s just a money move,” he said. Mr. D’Angelo explained that he thinks that solar is a hard sell out on the East End because of the large number of investment properties and second homes.

“At the time, I knew I was going to stay in my house until my kids were going to move out and they were around one at that time,” he said. Mr. D’Angelo paid around $19,000 out-of-pocket, he said, and got a state credit of $5,500, a LIPA rebate of $6,600 and also a rebate from Southampton Town.

“I ended up paying 50 percent of the actual installed cost,” after the various rebates, he said. “You know you’re going to be getting every cent back on that solar system because you’re going to use it every single day.”

“Every month I save on the average of $200 to $300. And during the wintertime my LIPA bill comes in at zero,” he said, explaining that the pool pump and the air conditioning that run all summer expend a lot of electricity. Last month, he said his bill was $228, before he got solar panels his June utility bill would have cost him around $460, he said.

“Green Logic have it down to the penny, they know exactly how much you’re going to save on an annual basis and then you can decide if it’s worth it,” he said. “They maximize your investment, they’re not just trying to cover your house in solar panels,” he said, adding that he had suggested putting solar panels on his garage, which Green Logic advised against.

The trick is, he said, you have to have the money up front to do it. “That’s why a lot of guys don’t do it, they’d rather go out and buy a car than put solar on their house,” he said.

Brian Kelly, owner of East End Tick and Mosquito Control, definitely has his eye on a new (electric) car in the future; but before he makes that investment he, like Mr. D’Angelo, decided to put some money into solar panels.

Around two months ago, Mr. Kelly had 48 250-watt solar panels installed onto the roof of his business headquarters in Southampton Village. “I’ve always liked the idea of solar, but I never thought it was in the cards for me,” he said on Tuesday. After meeting with Brian Tymann of BGT Consulting, LLC, who told him that his business had the “perfect roof for solar,” he realized it was time to act.

“I just said to myself, now’s really the time, and I just did it, it was a no-brainer. And I love it,” he said of his 12,000-kilowatt system. His meter spins backwards now, he said.

Mr. Kelly had a total out-of-pocket expense of $36,000 and is still waiting on a rebate from the Village of Southampton. He expects to recoup his costs in 10 years. “The one thing a lot of people don’t think about is that your electric bill is constantly rising. Over the next few years my $400-a-month bill could turn into $600. And that’s money I now won’t be paying.”

“It really makes sense. You do have an out-of-pocket layout and that’s tough for a lot of people. But they do have a lot of financial programs to help people out,” he said.

There’s no fear if one of his panels breaks, Mr. Kelly has a 20-year warranty on the solar panel array. He explained that each of the panels is separate and that a problem with one will not affect the other 23.

“And what’s really cool is that the guy who set it up for me put an app on my phone that can tell me all day long exactly how much energy I’m producing by the hour,” he said.

At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kelly’s solar panels had produced 11.3 kilowatt hours  of energy. Powering a light bulb for one month uses 9.6 kilowatts, he said. “Isn’t that so cool?”

Southampton Seeking Sites for Solar

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By Stephen J. Kotz

While East Hampton Town has created a great deal of buzz with its ambitious plan to provide all the community’s energy needs through sustainable methods by the year 2020, Southampton Town is taking a much quieter approach.

According to Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, within the new few weeks, the town is preparing to issue a request for proposals to vendors asking them to analyze town-owned facilities and property to see if it will be feasible to use them for sustainable energy projects, like solar farms.

Unlike East Hampton Town, “Southampton does not have expanses of land like the airport that are relatively free of limitations,” said Mr. Zappone, citing restrictions imposed on Community Preservation Fund purchases and other factors.

While the capped North Sea landfill off Majors Path has also been named as a potential site for something like a solar array, Mr. Zappone said such a project would have be vetted first by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which would determine whether development would pose a risk to the landfill cap, among other things.

Christine Fetten, the town’s director of municipal works, is the point person for the town’s efforts to find suitable sites for sustainable energy projects. She did not reply to a request for an interview.

Dieter von Lehsten, co-chairman of the town’s sustainability committee, said this week that Southampton officials are wary of promising too much and delivering too little.

East Hampton, on the other hand, is shooting for the stars with its own ambitious plans, with the result that it might very well fall short of its goal, he said. Not that Mr. von Lehsten thinks that is a bad thing:  “They are taking the Greenpeace approach, which is to ask for 150 percent and be happy with 25 percent,” he said.

Mr. von Lehsten said that the sustainability committee is excited that the town is preparing the RFP.

“We are all behind this, of course,” he said. “We are helping push things along. It is on the regular agenda.”

The Tempest Storms Through East Hampton’s Summer Season

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By Mara Certic

As August approaches at Mulford Farm, so do spirits, shipwrecks and storms. The Hamptons International Theater Festival will bring 12 outdoor performances of “The Tempest” to the East Hampton Village site.

“It’s a Herculean task to do this,” said artistic director Josh Perl. “But we’re all really passionate about Shakespeare.”

Mr. Perl chose “The Tempest” for several different reasons. Mainly, he said, because of its accessibility to children. Traditionally deemed a tragicomedy, “The Tempest” distinguishes itself from Shakespearean tragedies in distinct ways, the most obvious of which is that nobody dies.

The entire play takes place on a fictional island. It begins with a storm, which the audience later finds out had been started by a spirit, Ariel, at the behest of Prospero—the former duke of Milan whose brother had left him and his daughter Miranda for dead on a raft at sea many years before.

The great tempest strikes a ship carrying his brother, Antonio and his family, as Prospero hopes to make things right and enact his revenge. As with Shakespearean comedies, confusion and misunderstandings ensue throughout the play.

The only challenge of staging the play outdoors, according to Mr. Perl, is the opening thunderstorm during the daytime. But he decided to remedy that problem and another at the same time.

“In choosing ‘The Tempest’ I thought how can we make this show more accessible to kids?” Mr. Perl said during a phone interview on Friday. “How come everything seems so serious?” he asked himself about other stagings of the play.

Mr. Perl decided to interest his younger audience was to include children in his cast. “So we’re partnering up with CMEE,” he said of the Children’s Museum of the East End. The children will open the show; each will get a piece of a costume (a pirate patch or tattoo, perhaps) and will speak a few lines before the spirits help them create the opening storm.

“We have a really professional show,” Mr. Perl said, adding that having the children’s participation is “just perfect.”

“We’re getting kids to do what they’re good at and that is the spirit of Shakespeare,” he said.

In order to lighten the mood of the play and continue to entertain children, Mr. Perl also decided to use songs, playfulness and puckishness, he said. “I had thought that I wanted to have the spirits be very flamboyant, almost like drag queens,” he said. “They’re singing, they’re on stage a lot reacting to what’s happening,” he said, adding that at one point the spirits sing “On the island, the magic island, the spirits awake tonight” to the tune of the 1961 Tokens hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Mr. Perl then decided that gender-reversal might have other positive effects, and so he decided to explore that. “There’s really only one female role in “The Tempest,” which is just unfair,” he said.

“I really wanted a female Prospero. We live in an age where there are women CEOs and women in charge of all sorts of things,” he added, noting that with the exception of Queen Elizabeth I, this was hardly the case in Shakespearean England.

So Prospero became Prospera, Antonio turned into Antonia, and faithful counselor Gonzalo had a sex change too. “I just noticed how the play’s gender politics center has shifted from being about this noble, magician authority figure into being more about a woman who may have deserved to be driven out of the dukedom because of her focus on magic,” he said.

“Apart from having to change the occasional pronoun though, there’s nothing that’s textually different,” said Mr. Perl.

“It’s a really nice dimension and it’s working really well,” said Molly McKenna, who grew up in Sag Harbor and still has a base here. Ms. McKenna, who has worked with Mr. Perl for years, had not thought that there would be a part for her. “I was just going to be cheering him on,” she said.

“And then he suggested that I play the role of Gonzalo, usually played by a man.”

“It makes complete sense,” said Ms. McKenna. “She is a very caring and sincere person who is a counselor to the King of Naples. It makes sense that she’s a woman. She aided and abetted Prospero’s escape.”

The non-profit theater company is paying all 18 members of the cast, Mr. Perl said. And the set designers, stagehands, lighting designers, assistants, directors, and so on.

“Everyone gets paid, but no one gets paid enough,” said Mr. Perl, who has had to fundraise in order to put on this show. “We had to house four actors out here for eight weeks. We were lucky that friends were nice to us.”

Some money has been raised, but more is required. For more information or to donate, visit hitfest.org/the-tempest. Mulford Farm is located at 10 James Lane in East Hampton.

“The Tempest” will run Wednesdays through Sundays from August 6 through August 24. Showtime is 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and free to children under 10. Tickets are $17.50 for seniors at the door only.

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.

East Hampton Tax Deadline Extended

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle this week announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo had signed legislation allowing Suffolk County to extend the real estate tax payment deadline for the residents of the East Hampton this year, protecting residents from any penalties.

A computer system error in East Hampton Town’s Tax Receiver’s office resulted in more than 5,000 property tax bills being sent out too late to make the January 10, 2014 payment deadline. Because many residents did not receive their tax bills on time, the town approached Assemblyman Thiele to seek an extension of the deadline.

The law signed by the governor allows the county to waive any interest and penalties that town taxpayers would have incurred if they missed the deadline. Before that can happen, though, the Suffolk County Legislature must pass a resolution adopting the provisions within 30 days.

Helicopter Noise at an Unbearable All-Time High, According to Sag Harbor CAC

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By Mara Certic

Helicopter noise dominated the discussion at the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee meeting last week.

Southampton Town Councilwomen Bridget Fleming and Christine Scalera attracted a small crowd of non-members to the CAC’s monthly meeting on Friday, July 18, in the Pierson High School Library.

Susan Baran, a member of the CAC, announced as she briskly walked into the meeting: “This is the worst day ever.” The helicopter noise over by Long Pond had started at 6 a.m. that morning and hadn’t stopped all day, she said. Those in the room agreed with Ms. Barren that it was “the worst it had ever been.”

Rosemary Caruso added that the “all-white helicopters are the worst,” and that she and her husband see them all the time from their North Haven home.

Bob Malafronte and Barry Holden explained the current situation with helicopter routes and answered questions. Both men are members of the CAC and are the only two Southampton representatives on East Hampton Town’s helicopter noise abatement committee. Mr. Malafronte explained that East Hampton has two airport advisory committees. One of the committees is made up of helicopter and airplane proponents, he said, and is “misleading at best.” The other committee that both Mr. Malafronte and Mr. Holden sit on and which is composed of those concerned with noise issues speaks “nothing but facts and the truth,” he said.

The current problem is exacerbated by the total lack of restrictions at the airport, Mr. Malafronte said. Pilots do not follow the designated routes, he said, adding that 83 percent of the helicopters that flew in and out of East Hampton Airport over July Fourth weekend did not comply with the altitude restrictions.

The two men said that they are in the minority on the committee. “We had to force our way on,” said Mr. Malafronte. He even suggested that airport manager Jim Brundige was “targeting” Southampton Town residents. “This man Brundige has to go,” he said.

Councilwoman Scalera interjected to tell the members of the CAC that they were “very, very, very well represented” by their two Southampton reps. “Without you behind us,” Mr. Malafronte said to her, “we’d be nowhere.”

Mr. Holden said that the new East Hampton Town Board does actually seem to want to solve the problem caused by helicopter noise, unlike the previous administration. He mentioned that East Hampton Town Board member Kathee Burke-Gonzalez sits on both airport advisory committees, and Councilwoman Scalera sits on the noise abatement committee, too.

Recently, the men said, the committees have been working on letter-writing campaigns. They emphasized the importance of documenting complaints about helicopter and aircraft noise, by calling the complaint hotline or writing letters to the editor in local papers.

Their new focus, however, “is to go after the FAA not just to ask for changes but to start demanding answers.” Mr. Malafronte said. “We’re going to focus on Huerta, the man has to produce answers.”

Michael Huerta is the administrator of the FAA, who Mr. Malafronte says “has been hiding.” Mr. Malafronte’s new tactic, he said, is to go after Mr. Huerta “more aggressively.”

A meeting with Congressman Tim Bishop scheduled to take place on August 12 is the next big step, he said. The committee members hope to have at least a representative from the FAA, if not Mr. Huerta himself, present to answer questions.

The meeting will take place at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center  at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12.

To register an airport noise complaint call 1-800-376-4817 or visit planenoise.com/khto/

Issues of dumping on Town Line Road continue to trouble members of the Sag Harbor CAC. Several members discussed the problems, mentioning that tires and have piled up and that some people have even gone as far as to dump their mattresses there. “They go out of their way to dump there,” said CAC member Steve Schuman.

“What’s the solution, besides setting up snipers in the woods?” asked CAC member Judah Mahay. He suggested that the CAC look into the feasibility of setting up security cameras, or even looking into getting police to do surveillance at the site once a month.

“If you report it to the public, this could be enough to mitigate it,” he said.

 

Suffolk County to Spray for Mosquitos in Southampton and East Hampton

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Salt marshes throughout Suffolk County will be sprayed with pesticides by helicopter to control mosquito larvae on Tuesday, July 8.

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works’ Division of Vector Control plan to use large droplet, low altitude application of BTI and Methoprene between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow. A press release from the Suffolk County Department of Health named the marshes that will be sprayed tomorrow. In Southampton Town: Stokes Poges, Jagger Lane, Moneybogue Bay, Westhampton Dunes, Meadow Lane, Iron Point and North Sea.

In East Hampton Town Napeague, Beach Hampton and Accabonac Harbor will all be sprayed with larvicides.

The Suffolk County Department of Health wrote that no precautions were recommended for this spray, as the helicopters will be flying low and avoiding inhabited areas: “Human exposure from this operation is unlikely and the products involved have no significant human toxicity,” according to the release.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman introduced a bill last year that would restrict the use of Methoprene, a larvicide that has been linked to killing lobsters. Mr. Schneiderman continues to seek support for this bill; similar laws have been passed in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

East Hampton Town Warns of Heavy Surf Conditions, Strong Rip Currents

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Virginia Briggs of East Hampton shakes her fist in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Virginia Briggs of East Hampton shakes her fist in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Strong rip currents currently exist in the Atlantic Ocean along the East End’s beaches and heavy surf conditions are forecast for the 4th of July weekend, East Hampton Town Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Bruce A. Bates announced Wednesday, July 2.

In a message authorized by town supervisor Larry Cantwell, the town warned ocean bathers to swim only at lifeguard protected beaches.

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.”

East Hampton To Vote on Fuel Fee

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Peter Wadsworth gave a number-heavy presentation to the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday, June 17, on behalf of the airport finance sub-committee.

After Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft Services again pleaded that the board reconsider increasing the fuel fee at East Hampton Airport from 15 to 30 cents, saying “it will surely close our business,” Mr. Wadsworth made the case in favor of the increase.

Mr. Wadsworth said that the airport fuel farm is “old,” “potentially hazardous” and in need of an upgrade that he estimated would cost over $600,000. “If you raised the fuel flowage fee today and ran it for five years that would be just about enough to pay for the upgrade of the fuel farm,” he said.

A resolution regarding the increase of the fuel flowage fee—which has not been changed since 1992—is on the agenda when the East Hampton Town Board’ meets today, June 19, at 6:30 p.m.