Tag Archive | "east hampton town"

East Hampton Residents Sue PSEG LI and LIPA

Tags: , , , , ,


 

unnamed-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New power lines on Cedar Street in East Hampton. Photo by Mara Certic

 

By Mara Certic

Citing the presence of potentially dangerous toxins in electric utility lines being erected by PSEG Long Island in East Hampton Town, a group of residents has filed suit against the company and the Long Island Power Authority in New York State Supreme Court.

The Long Island Bureau For Responsible Energy (LIBFRE) filed the suit on behalf of a group of residents who live near the poles. It claims the overhead transmission lines will negatively affect wells and drinking water for the 300-plus people they represent.

A press release issued on Thursday by the group stated that an environmental review of the project by LIPA had “failed to disclose the adverse cumulative impact of the project on health, property values and alternatives, and intentionally misrepresented them.”

The group is being represented by former special counsel to Suffolk County, Irving Like, and Professor Leon Friedman who once represented the boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who had been wrongly convicted of murder.

The suit claims that a banned chemical in 26 countries, pentachlorophenol (PCP), has been placed on wooden utility poles and has been leaching dangerous toxins into the soil in the surrounding area and is also emitting toxic gases into the air.

According to Rebecca Singer, co-chair of LIBFRE, the level of PCP in East Hampton soil was recently tested and was found to have more than 312 times the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s acceptable level.

PCP has been used as a wood preservative since 1936. It has also been used as an insecticide, an herbicide, a sealant, and a molluskicide, among others. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants showed that exposure to PCP can interfere with endocrine processes in humans and has been found to stunt brain development, impair memory and even cause infertility in women, the suit states.

A hydrogeologist’s report says that the PCP will contaminate East Hampton’s groundwater, eventually traveling into Hook, Georgica and Town Ponds.

The second concern in the suit is that the high voltage power lines that are being added to the existing lines might result in electromagnetic fields dangerously close to houses on narrow streets.

The suit also charges that the new utility poles are damaging trees and vegetation along the 6.2-mile route along which they have been installed. According to Thursday’s press release, experts have already noted that there has been damage done to the landscape.

The final cause of action is the suit is the claim that the high levels of PCPs in the soil and water have drastically devalued the property for all of the houses in close proximity to the new poles.

The complaint demands that the utility pole project be cancelled and restitution in excess of $30 million to cover attorneys’ fees, removal costs and emotional distress of the residents involved.

Springs Man Assaulted with Machete in East Hampton

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Jose Javier Garces Hernandez, 24, of Springs, is charged with assault in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree for stabbing another East Hampton man with a machete Monday, May 26. Photo courtesy East Hampton Town Police Department.

Jose Javier Garces Hernandez, 24, of Springs, is charged with assault in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree for assaulting another East Hampton man with a machete Monday, May 26. Photo courtesy East Hampton Town Police Department.

By Tessa Raebeck

On May 26, East Hampton Town Police responded to a report of two men fighting in the roadway on Clinton Street in Springs. Upon arrival, police said they found Jose Maria Jimenez, 26, of Clinton Street had been assaulted with a machete and had suffered several serious wounds to his torso.

Mr. Jimenez was transported to Southampton Hospital for treatment before being transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he underwent surgery.

According to police, the second man involved in the fight, Jose Javier Garces Hernandez, 24, of Rutland Drive, fled the scene prior to police arrival and was later located at a residence on Springs Fireplace Road.

Mr. Garces Hernandez was treated for injuries by East Hampton Ambulance and subsequently airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment. He has been charged with assault in the second degree, a felony, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor.

Mr. Garces Hernandez was arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Wednesday.

Police ask that anyone with information contact the East Hampton Town Police Department at (631) 537-7575. All calls will be kept confidential.

Elected Officials Ask FAA to Make Helicopter Route Rules Permanent

Tags: , , , , ,


By Stephen J. Kotz

United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Tim Bishop this week urged the Federal Aviation Administration to renew a rule, set to expire in August, that requires that most helicopters traveling to and from the East End follow an over-the-water route along the North Shore of Long Island.

The federal lawmakers have also asked the FAA to require that helicopters fly east of Orient Point when flying to East Hampton Airport.

“It is imperative that the FAA continues to require helicopter pilots to utilize a route that travels over water rather than residential communities,” said Mr. Bishop in a joint release with Senator Schumer.

“Over the past several years, we, as East End elected officials have banded together to fight for over-the-water helicopter routes to ensure that the least number of homeowners are negatively affected by summertime air traffic and noise,” said Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., in his own press release.

But Jeff Smith, the executive director of the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council, an industry group, said lawmakers’ enthusiasm for the route may be ill-advised.

He said that relations between East Hampton Town and the pilots group, have been improving, with both sides working together to reduce noise complaints.

“The reason there has been improvement” and a reduction in noise complaints “is because we have the ability to work with the town and [airport manager] Jim Brundige to massage the routes,” he said. “If the FAA says you are going to fly this line, we can’t do that.”

Mr. Smith said he feared the new rule would result in more complaints because it would require that pilots pass over Springs and the Village of East Hampton on their way into and out of East Hampton Airport.

“The FAA has to show data that its rules will result in an improved situation, but we have data that shows just the opposite,” he said.

East Hampton Online Code Enforcement Complaint System

Tags: , , , , ,


By Stephen J. Kotz

The East Hampton Town Enforcement Department will offer an online form that offers the public a new way to file code-violation complaints online for submission directly to a code enforcement officer.

This new process can be used to report such violations as overcrowding, illegal summer rentals, the operation of businesses in residential zones, building without building permits, illegal dumping, illegal signs, litter and debris, for example. Noise complaints, however, should still be directed to the Town Police Department at 537-7575.

To access the form, visit the Town’s website, ehamptonny.gov. In the right column, click on “Ordinance Enforcement,” and then “Complaint Form.”

Once the form is submitted, the sender will receive written confirmation regarding the complaint submission. Town officers will then conduct an investigation of each complaint and will follow up with complainants regarding their determinations.

The public may still lodge complaints of code violations in the traditional manner—by calling Code Enforcement at (631) 324-3858, the Fire Marshals Office at (631) 329-3473 or the Building Department at (631) 324-4145 or by visiting one of these departments in person at 300 Pantigo Place.

East Hampton To Announce Energy Savings Goals

Tags: , , , ,


Goals for reducing East Hampton Town’s reliance on electricity produced by fossil fuels will be announced next Thursday, May 22, at a public meeting hosted by Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and the town’s Energy and Sustainability Committee.

Residents and business owners, who would like to learn what the committee has been working on and how they can help, have been invited to attend the meeting, which will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The town adopted a Comprehensive Energy Vision last year. The document is expected to translate into meaningful goals that would re-establish East Hampton’s leadership in sustainable practices and policies, said Ms. Overby in a release.

The town plans to substantially reduce energy consumption through conservation, education, and energy efficiency while significantly increasing the use of renewable energy technologies. The vision is for an economically efficient and environmentally sustainable comprehensive municipal energy policy. In addition to providing environmental and public health benefits, the initiatives are aimed at reducing energy costs for residents and local businesses.

Those making presentations include Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, Energy and Sustainability Committee chairman Frank Dalene, Renewable Energy Long Island executive director Gordian Raacke and town Natural Resources Department representative John Botos.

For more information, contact Mr. Botos at the Natural Resource Department at 631-324-0496 or via email at jbotos@ehamptonny.gov .

Bill Would Ease Burial of Utility Lines

Tags: , , , ,


New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle have sponsored legislation that would permit New York State towns to create “underground utility improvement districts” by which they could enter into agreements with public utility companies to bury electric transmission and distribution lines, cable television lines, and telephone lines. Towns would also be able to negotiate with utilities to have as much as 50 percent of the additional cost of burying the lines absorbed by the utility.

“The current dispute in East Hampton over electric transmission lines is only the tip of the iceberg in a nationwide debate that relates to climate change and public utility infrastructure,” said Mr. Thiele in a release. “On Long Island, which is particularly susceptible to nor’easters, tropical storms, and hurricanes, the selective undergrounding of utility infrastructure must be part of that debate. Other states … have been at the forefront of new policies to underground utility infrastructure. In New York, the only thing we are burying is our heads in the sand.”

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the legislation was welcome. ”The Town of East Hampton and its residents have invested millions of dollars to preserve open space and residential neighborhoods,” he said. “The economic future of our community depends on its natural and manmade beauty. Large overhead transmission line projects threaten this balance and private utility companies and New York State must support burying as the first alternative, not the last.”

“It is important that not just for the current situation we are going through with the utility, but that a comprehensive approach is developed and adhered to concerning any future projects,” said East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach, Jr.

Under the new legislation, any town in New York State would have the authority to create an “underground utility improvement district,” using the same process and procedures that currently exist for the creation of other special districts such as water or sewer districts. The creation of a district would be subject to a permissive referendum.

East Hampton Plans Airport Noise Study

Tags: , , , , , ,


By Stephen J. Kotz

East Hampton Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez announced on Tuesday that the town would undertake a noise study this summer with an eye toward developing use restrictions at East Hampton Airport.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said the town would take a somewhat novel approach that would seek to use both “noise averaging” data, which is typically required by the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as try to determine whether aircraft operations violate town law, which limits noise to 65 decibels during the daytime and 50 at night.

The town wants to have a consultant hired by early June, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said.

The dual-pronged approach represents a compromise between two separate noise subcommittees the town board established earlier this year to advise it on airport issues. One of those subcommittees is made up exclusively of members of the aviation community and the other is made up of people who want the town to reduce noise coming from the airport.

Noise subcommittee members did not want the traditional noise averaging study done, which was recommended by DY Consultants, the town’s aviation engineering consultants, because it would take too long, cost too much, and not provide completely accurate information, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said.

The town has a number of software programs that track not only the number of flights but the type of aircraft, whether it be a Sikorsky helicopter, a Gulfstream corporate jet or a Cessna single-engine plane, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said. In addition, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said, whoever conducts the study will be able to obtain detailed operating decibel information from aircraft manufacturers to help them generate an accurate computer modeling to map noise as an aircraft leaves or approaches the airport.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez cautioned that the study would be preliminary in nature but stressed that it could be used to help determine what types of restrictions the town could consider imposing once some F.A.A. grant restrictions expire at the end of the year.

Separately, Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera has been appointed to the noise subcommittee. Ms. Scalera announced her appointment at Tuesday night’s Noyac Civic Council meeting just as a helicopter passed overhead, drowning out her words.

Route 27 Repaving Starts This Week in Southampton

Tags: , , , ,


DSC_0163 pave

Portable work lights have been placed along Route 27 in Bridgehampton in preparation for a major repaving project, much of which will take place at night. Stephen J. Kotz photo

By Stephen J. Kotz

The New York State Department of Transportation will try a somewhat novel approach for the East End when it starts a major repaving project on Route 27 between Southampton and East Hampton towns this week.

According to Eileen Peters, a DOT spokeswoman, contractors working on the project will work on a single lane, detouring traffic to one of the shoulders, over short stretches of ¼-to½ mile and also do much of the work at night in an effort to reduce the inconvenience to motorists who rely on the highway as the main thoroughfare between the two towns.

“We are not closing any lanes. We are shifting lanes,” said Ms. Peters. “They will not be working on the length of road, only on smaller sections.”

She added, though, that motorists should still expect to encounter some temporary lane closures, particularly when operations are being set up along a given section of road.

Daytime work will take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., to avoid causing tie-ups during the morning and afternoon trade parades. Aided by generator powered work lights that passersby may have already noticed springing up along the roadside, workers will return at night, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., to work in downtown areas and at busy intersections to further reduce disruptions during peak travel times.

In addition, the DOT will work up until the Memorial Day weekend before suspending the project, if it is not completed by then, until after Labor Day.

The DOT listened to “businesses who don’t want any construction after Memorial Day,” Ms. Peters said.

The project, she said, is weather-dependent, although the DOT is confident it will be completely finished by the end of the year.

A total of 8.2 miles will be repaved during the $7.6-million project, starting at the intersection of Route 27 and County Road 39, on the edge of Southampton Village and continuing east to Stephen Hands Path in East Hampton.

“We have been monitoring the condition of the pavement,” said Ms. Peters. “The last time it was repaved was 10 to 12 years ago, which is about average.”

She said short sections of the road already have been repaved as part of other construction projects more recently and that the DOT has tried to patch potholes along the heavily traveled road as often as possible.

Last year, the DOT repaved Route 27 from Stephen Hands Path to the Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton Village.

During the project, workers will use large milling machines to grind off the existing layer of worn asphalt, which will be hauled back to asphalt plants to be melted down and recycled for other uses, before adding a fresh layer of asphalt.

When the project is completed, along with the typical lane markings, the DOT will mark the shoulders to indicate they are bicycle lanes “to make it sure that motorists are sharing the road,” Ms. Peters said. More visible pedestrian-crosswalks will also be part of the project.

Motorists will be warned in advance of any lane closures via portable electronic road signs. The DOT has asked drivers who cannot use alternate routes to drive carefully through the work zone.

“It will be rough. There will be some inconveniences,” said Ms. Peters, who asked that motorist remain patient during the construction project. “We are rebuilding the road.”

Up-to-date traffic information can be obtained by calling 511 or visiting www.511NY.org.  In addition, travel information can be obtained from the INFORM Transportation Management Center cameras at www.INFORMNY.com or on handheld devices at www.INFORMNY.mobi.

 

Mum’s the Word on Status of North Haven Deer Cull

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


 

By Stephen J. Kotz

A veil of silence has fallen over North Haven, where village officials last month gave Mayor Jeffrey Sander the green light to negotiate a contract with a private firm to cull the deer herd.

Reached at home on Wednesday morning, Mr. Sander was decidedly tight-lipped.

“There is no status update other than what was discussed at the last meeting,” Mr. Sander said, apparently referring to a vote taken by the board on February 4 authorizing him to negotiate a contract with White Buffalo Inc., a Connecticut firm that specializes in controlling the white-tail deer population in suburban communities.

“I really can’t tell you anything other than that,” Mr. Sander said, when asked if he still expected to have the contract finalized in time to undertake the cull this spring.

Asked if he was not willing to talk because of concerns the village would face a lawsuit over its deer culling plans, Mr. Sander replied, “It’s not anything I’m going to talk about.”

Earlier this year, East Hampton town and village dropped out of a separate plan to cull their deer herds, one backed by the Long Island Farm Bureau that would bring in sharpshooters hired by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, when they were sued by animal rights activists.

Last week, a lawsuit filed againsts Southold Town, by the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island, which consists of animal rights groups and hunters, was tossed out, allowing the deer cull to proceed in that town.

USDA sharpshooters have also reportedly been invited onto private property on South Fork residents as well.

This week, Wendy Chamberlin of the Wildlife Preservation Coalition, said her group was trying to obtain an injunction preventing the state Department of Environmental Conservation from issuing nuisance permits on Long Island until a scientific rationale is advanced for the deer cull.

“This isn’t being done scientifically. This is being done emotionally and anecdotally,” said Ms. Chamberlin, who said she would support hunting if other measures were inadequate to control the deer herd.

She said it was “shocking” for village officials to refuse to discuss the cull. “Officials who behave like this and do not attend to the opinions and desires of their constituents should resign,” she said.

Last month, Mr. Sander said he expected the village to spend about $15,000 this year to start the deer culling, and added that the process could take several years to complete. At that time he estimated that the village had about 200 to 250 deer and would like to reduce that number to approximately 100.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board handled other routine business and did not discuss the deer situation at all. Mr. Sander said he comfortable declining to discuss a public project that involves the spending of tax money, the threat of lawsuits and an invitation to allow hunters to shoot deer with shotguns.

“Nope,” he said, when asked if he had any additional comments.

 

Solar Farm Pitched for East Hampton Airport

Tags: , , , , , , ,


By Stephen J. Kotz

The East Hampton Airport could be going green in a big way.

Tonight, the town board plans to accept the recommendation of its energy sustainability committee and seek proposals for a solar farm at the airport that could produce up to 38 megawatts as part of an initiative sponsored by the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island, the company that manages the island’s electrical grid.

The solar farm would sell the power it generates to PSEG Long Island, and share the proceeds with the town through a 20-year lease.

According to Frank Dalene, the chairman of the committee, the solar farm, which he said would be one of the largest town-owned facilities in the country, could generate up to $3.5 million a year for the life of the lease.

“It’s at step one,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell, “but it’s exciting. Besides providing a source of sustainable energy, it has the potential to bring in revenue.”

Although Mr. Cantwell said Mr. Dalene’s revenue estimate may be on the optimistic side, he was quick to point out, “Even at $1 million a year that would go a long way toward funding airport improvements.”

Because the airport revenues and expenses are segregated into a separate fund, all revenue generated from a solar farm at the airport would have to be used on site.

Mr. Dalene said the proposal is still in the early stages. “There are a lot of variables,” he said. PSEG Long Island “has to approve the contractors, the site and how it connects to the grid.”

Still, he said, in this latest phase, the company has committed to sponsoring larger renewable energy projects that could generate a total of 280 megawatts islandwide.

“They are looking for the East End to fulfill a certain amount of the need,” he said. “The transmission lines are beyond their peak, the local power stations on Buell Lane and Southampton are at capacity, so they are really going to focus on the East End.”

According to the Long Island Power Authority, the typical Long Island house uses 9,548 kilowatts of energy a year. Mr. Dalene said a 38-megwatt solar farm could generate nearly 46 million kilowatts a year, enough to provide power to approximately 4,600 houses, although he added, “It’s safe to say the typical East Hampton house consumes more electricity than a typical Long Island house.”

Last month, the town board agreed to ask three contractors to provide smaller solar arrays of no more than 2 megawatts apiece at 10 town-owned sites.

The board will also seek proposals for the energy committee’s recommendation to solicit proposals for peak power energy storage centers that would use new fuel cell battery technology to store electricity that is generated during low-volume use periods for release during peak periods. The battery plants would play a similar role to the small diesel operated power plants that are scattered across Long Island.

The town must renew the proposals it receives and make its recommendations to PSEG and LIPA by March 31.