Gurney's Inn
May 03, 2006

Supe Talks Wind Turbines Supe Talks Wind Turbines Supe Talks Wind Turbines

After a recent proposal regarding three wind turbines off Plum Island, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said it's too early for any decisions.

At last week's work session, the Southold Town Board discussed a proposal by Winergy Power LLC presented for three wind turbines that would be located off Plum Island and would impart an energy alternative to thousands of residents.

According to Winergy Power, The Plum Island Wind Park, a research, development, and demonstration project, would be the first in the United States to study wind power, one of the largest sources of renewable energy.

The project, they say, would provide the necessary proving ground for a new technology which would allow the company to locate offshore wind energy parks at greater distances from shore than currently possible, eliminating the objection that wind turbines destroy ocean views.

The Wind Park, as proposed, would be located two-and-a-half miles east of Orient Point, south of Plum Island, within a 200-acre leased area currently being used for commercial fish farming.

Planning Board Acting Department Head Mark Terry reminded that underwater lands are not zoned within Southold, and the town also lacks upland zoning designations and code language for wind turbines.

Terry recommended the board consider zoning underwater lands, re-evaluate the code, and develop code language for wind turbines and sets guidelines for both commercial and small private wind turbine systems.

Although the project, as presented, would provide power to many, Russell remained uncertain. "The wind turbine presents an interesting challenge to us. Clearly we have an obligation to accept some site location for new renewable energy sources, however, in this case, we have no real input because of the location."

The problem is that Russell said he "does not see any benefit of this facility to the residents of Southold." He added, however, that each region "probably has an obligation to harbor some version of an alternative energy facility."

But, said the supervisor, the board does not yet have sufficient information on the proposal to make a "sound judgment."

To that end, the supervisor proposed a renewable and alternative energy policy committee that would "explore developing policy so some of these energy sources can be implemented for local utilization and benefit." The committee, said Russell, would study other proposals including wind energy proposals for farm operations. The supervisor is contacting the other board members and hopes to discuss the committee at the work session next Tuesday.

Traffic Study On the Way?

Only weeks after Freddie Wachsberger of the Southold Citizens for Safe Roads organization came before the board imploring them to conduct a traffic study, as well as environmental study of the area they say is impacted by Cross Sound Ferry-generated traffic, the board discussed the matter at a recent work session.

The board members have said that they are committed to completing a traffic study. "The Orient traffic study should have been done already but since it wasn't, we need to pursue it and make sure it is a broad review of impacts townwide," said Russell. "It is an essential component of any future policy regarding ferry and/or traffic legislation."

Drainage Code, Anyone?

Russell and Councilman Al Krupski put a proposal for drainage code on the table. "A drainage code would be a very good first step in mitigating our road runoff problems and would also be an important measure to protect the property rights of our existing homeowners from the sometimes deleterious effects of elevation changes of sites of new construction," said Russell.

Currently, town policy only requires road runoff control from new construction sites while construction is underway. "Once complete and the CO issued, we have no oversight," he said.

New legislation, said the supervisor, would change that, putting "runoff mitigation responsibility on the new sites as a permanent measure — not just during construction."

Russell said he has been working on the new legislation with town engineer Jamie Richter for about six weeks, as well as evaluating legislation from other jurisdictions.

Peconic School For Sale?

The board continued its discussion on possible purchase of the Peconic School and reviewed a town estimate of work needed to be done to make the building functional as a community center. The estimate, said Russell, is $119,000, which would include a new heating system and public water hook-up. The board is waiting for an appraisal on the property before proceeding.

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