July 19, 2006
Town And Village Make Peace
BA white flag has been raised between a town and a village that have been pitted against one another for years over a plethora of issues, as this week, both sides take steps towards peace.
After months of discord between the Town of Southold and the Village of Greenport regarding who would take lead agency status in the state environmental quality review of the scavenger waste treatment facility, which is currently in the process of being decommissioned, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell and Greenport Mayor David Kapell announced that both municipalities have agreed to work together to get the job done.
The decision was reached despite the fact that Russell received a letter last Thursday granting Southold lead agency status in the SEQRA process regarding the scavenger waste treatment plant.
Regardless of the DEC's decision, Russell said the bottom line is the Southold town board discussed the issue at its last work session and decided to work with the village. "We agreed we would set the issue of lead status to the side and create a four-member panel, with two representatives from the town and two from Greenport, to start work together on the decommissioning and cleanup."
The idea was a recommendation of Southold Town Councilman Dan Ross, one he negotiated with Kapell and that was acceptable to both the town and village boards. "The idea is to put the side issues to the side, where they should have stayed all along, and work together to resolve this task," said Russell, who added that the DEC's determination "does not change my mind" regarding the town's decision. "I trust my town board will keep the commitment they made to the village and not try to assert its lead agency status in the process."
Kapell said Greenport also received notice of the DEC's determination, and agreed that before the decision arrived, "an oral agreement had been reached for each board to withdraw its lead agency declaration and appoint a working committee with two members of each board to determine the scope of the project to decommission the plant and restore the site."
Kapell said the problem from the start for the village is that they have never been presented with the details of the town's plan for the decommissioning so that they might discuss and agree to its scope. The agreement reached with Russell and Ross, said Kapell, "will correct for this defect and allow the town and village to work cooperatively to make progress on this problem."
Of Russell's promise to honor the agreement, which calls for a bilateral resolution of both boards to be drafted by the town attorney and enacted by each board, Kapell said, "I am gratified by his continued support."
The agreement, however, does not resolve other issues simmering between the town and village. Last month, the Greenport Village Board authorized filing a notice of claim against Southold and the town's wastewater disposal district.
Although the lease allowing the town to operate the decommissioned Greenport scavenger waste facility on village-owned land expired on June 17, 2003, the town has not made any payment to the village since that time, said Kapell. And although there have been steps towards peace in regard to the lead agency dispute, the mayor said, "The rent claim is not affected by the agreement."
The town and village were also at odds over who was to assume lead agency status for KACE, LI, LLC's proposed annexation. The DEC rendered its decision and agreed to assume lead agency.