Hardy Plumbing
May 03, 2006

Sagaponack & Southampton Pen Agreement

Sagaponack Village Trustees are sewing up loose ends as their freshman municipality takes shape.

Last Friday the Southampton Town Board and the trustees inked an agreement authorizing the village to continue using town services, including police protection and highway maintenance. Village residents will have access to the town's building department, department of public works, planning department and planning board, parks and recreation department, architectural review board, zoning board, tax assessment review board, conservation board, the animal control facility, the electrical inspector, and a fire marshal.

The town will also be responsible for realty and tax assessment and collection, as well as regulating parking at the end of beach access roads.

Additionally, the trustees agreed to include a portion of the village in the town's Southampton East Erosion Control District. Three reserve funds have been set up for separate sections in town to be used for immediate re-nourishment of beaches as needed. Residents are taxed according to their property values.

Following the agreement, at its morning work session last week, the town board discussed plans to offer a residential solar energy subsidy.

"What you're about to consider is unprecedented," said presenter Steve Rogin, COO of Sunstream USA, a renewable energy company in Southampton. The objective, he explained, is to offer residents the opportunity to rely on reusable, planet-friendly energy at an affordable price.

Southampton Town Supervisor Patrick Heaney set aside $50,000 in surplus from the capital budget to create 20 subsidies for alternative energy sources, namely solar power systems.

Rogin reported that between 2000 and 2004, LIPA's rate and fuel surcharge went up only 6% annually, but the total cost of electricity went up 22% in last year alone due to surcharge increases, "which was parallel to the cost of oil that went up last year," he explained.

A typical five-kilowatt solar electric rooftop system could generate up to $1300 worth of electric power in one year at current aggregate rates, according to Sunstream. The total cost of a solar energy system for a homeowner would be $15,320.

Rogin said that the lifespan of the system is 35 years, with a 25-year warranty on the main component. The environmental benefits of the system over its lifetime is the equivalent to planting 40 acres of trees, Sunstream reports.

Utility companies and state governments originally sought to offer utility rebates to promote alternative energy, "because technology has been too expensive on its own to be viable," Rogin explained. The price of technology was supposed to taper down as volume increased, "but the popularity and the demand for this stuff has been greater than the supply, and the price of [solar] panels went up 10% last year. Everyone has gotten caught off guard; it's not working very well and that's why the town comes in and fills the breach."

The town will not increase the assessed values of homes of residents who are using solar energy, Heaney said.

In other news, the town board passed legislation that enforces a one-year moratorium in East Quogue with little fanfare at its regular meeting last week. Residential, commercial, and industrial properties are affected. Development proposals are on hold while the town looks at land use alternatives for about 4,182 acres in its East Quogue Study Area. A Generic Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared to study the impacts land use proposals will have on the region.

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