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Jan 2, 2010 1:07 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town analyst says proposed wind turbine would harm environment

Jan 2, 2010 1:07 AM

A Shinnecock Hills couple pushing to build a controversial wind turbine on their waterfront property were sent back to the drawing board last week when Southampton Town deemed that their proposal would threaten nearby wetlands.

At a public hearing held on the evening of Wednesday, December 16, Southampton Town’s Chief Environmental Analyst Marty Shea recommended that the Conservation Board not grant the couple, Marianne and Domenico Seddio, a wetlands permit to build the wind turbine on their Bayberry Cove Lane property. Mr. Shea said the turbine, in the form it is currently being proposed, would pose a danger to wildlife and mar the view of the shoreline for the public.

The Conservation Board requested that the Seddios submit further information on the project and explore alternative locations and designs for the turbine before they return for another public hearing on February 24.

The Seddios want to use the turbine to help power their home, which sits near town- and state-designated tidal wetlands along Middle Pond, just off of Shinnecock Bay. They need to seek a special wetlands permit from the Conservation Board because the turbine would stand within 200 feet of the wetlands. As per their current proposal, the turbine would be installed between 40 and 45 feet away from the edge of the wetlands, Mr. Shea said.

The Seddios’ current application proposes that the wind turbine would stand approximately 32 feet high, and be situated in the northeast corner of the 2.2-acre property, near the couple’s driveway.

Mr. Shea spent much of last week’s public hearing presenting a lengthy environmental analysis of the proposal, which concluded that the wind turbine could imperil bats and birds, including endangered piping plovers and least terns that nest along Shinnecock Bay and breed on the beach along Middle Pond. He also said that the noise and vibrations from the turbine could disturb animals, and cause them to leave nearby habitats.

It is the burden of the applicants to demonstrate that their proposal is the only way they can meet their goals, and will have the least possible impact on wetlands, Mr. Shea explained. He said the Seddios have yet to show that they cannot power their home with renewable energy in some other way that will have less potential impacts on the environment.

“There is, without question, significant cause for the Conservation Board to request additional information,” Mr. Shea said.

He also noted that the wind turbine would stand well above the trees that might screen it from the views of neighbors and passersby. Along with wildlife, the scenic quality of the wetlands is another commodity that needs to be protected, he explained.

Mr. Seddio, a co-owner of Wind Source Energy of Flanders, was present for the public hearing but chose not to address the board. Neither he nor his wife could be reached for comment afterward.

The Seddios first applied for a wetlands permit on July 8, and an initial hearing was held on October 28.

Throughout the months since the Seddios first proposed installing the turbine, neighbors have filed a slew of letters with the Conservation Board, expressing outrage over the project both for its aesthetics and potential impact on nearby wetlands. A petition decrying the device, carrying more than 120 signatures, was sent to the board on October 28.

Two residents addressed the board during last week’s public hearing.

Kurt Hauquitz, who lives in North Sea but said he often visits a friend who is a neighbor of the Seddios, said he supports alternative energy in general, but not in this case.

“For this situation, it just doesn’t appear to be the right place at the right moment for it all,” he said.

Peter Hunsinger, who lives near the Seddios on Bayberry Cove Lane, added that the project was not worth the danger it would pose to the wetlands.

“One of the great things about being in Southampton is the way things are preserved,” he said. “And we obviously encourage that to continue.”

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Maybe this is why people don't bother to even investigate renewable energy options. Because the town makes it SO difficult to implement or install them that it doesn't become worth the hassle. The "bats and birds" argument is the one that most opponents of wind power fall back on, but I agree with @INS. There are far worse things that occur in this town daily having effects on a much larger scale than the POSSIBLE effects of one residential wind turbine. This is ludicrous.
By Cdwyer213 (68), Quogue on Dec 22, 09 7:32 PM
4 members liked this comment
A wind turbine that is 32 feet HIGH. I'd love to have that guy as a neighbor.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 22, 09 8:25 PM
2 members liked this comment
Do they have any wind turbines in east hampton ? Are they even allowed?
By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Dec 22, 09 9:01 PM
I would too!!!
I'd be buying all the excess electricity from him I could and tell LIPA to go pound Salt!!
By JackC574 (21), Southampton on Dec 23, 09 6:39 AM
3 members liked this comment
Exactly !!
Who would really want to live next to this monstrosity ?
Southampton has finally been trying to put a stop to this kind of overbuilding and complete disregard for the wetlands and it's inhabitants, both Human and otherwise. Money no longer speaks the loudest !
Move on !

By Seriously. (3), Southampton on Jan 4, 10 1:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mr. Shea is stretching his wetlands theme a little thin. I wonder what the true wetlands productivity level is from that over developed area ? There is not to much preserved in a natural state down there, dredge spoils and bulkheads have buried the original marshes.
By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Dec 22, 09 9:20 PM
4 members liked this comment
THE real ISSUE here, is the health of OUR PLANET.. The sub sonic transmission of varying frequencies emitted by high velocity Wind Catchers(wind mills) cause reproductive damage in mammals, reptiles, fish, game and vegetation.. Windmills/ Wind farms should be banned throughout the planet because of the damage to the ecology. Just as dogs hear frequencies, that humans don't; windmills transmit high and low frequencies, some audible, some not. These sound signals can be very destructive. They can ...more
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Dec 23, 09 10:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
I would imagine that strip mining for coal as an energy source has many similar effects on the ecology of areas near these operations. Not only does a gash in the earth's surface or lopping off the top of a mountain have direct, physical effects on the landscape, but acid mine drainage and trailings contribute to destruction in their own special ways. And I won't even get started on the obscene amounts of water needed for coal mining. And, then, once you've picked it out of the earth and burned ...more
By Cdwyer213 (68), Quogue on Dec 23, 09 6:37 PM
4 members liked this comment
Huh? A greenie who is against renewable energy?
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 25, 09 9:56 AM
INS, I must assume you are talkin' to me, since I'm the only Johnny on the board. Yours and others, misinterpretations of my orig. post and the inclusion of out of town problems has prompted me to clarify a few things for you and the people on this board. First off, nowhere did I mention a concern of animals being killed by the whirling blades of death and nowhere did I mention that vibrations were of any concern. The scientific studies in "Destructive Ultra Sound" are widely accepted throughout ...more
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Dec 25, 09 11:59 AM
Johnny Nova, where do I start? The sound of wind mill (turbines) well Holland did ok with ALL their windmills and they do make a racket all those wood creeks and groans. Pregnant women..... well, in the nineteen eighties the know it alls insisted that the high tension wires would cause cancer. My neighbor lived right under those wires and sucessfully bore 4 children all living healthy lives today. Get real LIFE is changing even as we live and breathe. I'm awfully glad that Mr. Crapper invented ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Dec 31, 09 5:18 PM
Im sorry but I dont buy this. Bats have internal radar and fly around in crazy patterns avoiding everything. I also dont think that they make much audable noise unless your right under it. The issue is simply astethics and while I applaud the idea of anyone other than LIPA generating electricty, this would be an eyesore on the coast. No I dont live there but I wouldnt want them scatterred along the shore once this precedent is set. They belong high up on a hill. For the amount of money they are ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Dec 24, 09 7:18 AM
amen solar panels not some ungodly 32 foot structure
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 24, 09 8:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Myths about birds: Turbines kill: Today, turbines are built larger and more efficiently, and as a consequence, they rotate much more slowly than earlier versions. Even Audubon supports the development and use of wind power.

A bird will collide with a given wind machine about once every 8-15 years; higher incidences may occur in locations with large concentrations of waterfowl or in areas of high migration

Each year, an estimated 57 million birds dies in collisions with vehicles, ...more
By BigL11946 (29), Hampton Bays on Dec 24, 09 10:28 AM
I love these studies. Do people call in and report when they strike a bird with their vehicle or when a bird hits their window? Where do they come up with bogus numbers from? source....BS.com
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 24, 09 8:29 PM
The issue here is not whether or not a wind turbine is bad for the local ecosystem (as the petitioning neighbors would have you believe) The issue here is that the neighbors due not want a wind turbine disrupting their view. "Along with wildlife, the scenic quality of the wetlands is another commodity that needs to be protected," THIS is indicative of the neighbors true motives.

The neighbor directly next to Mr. Seddio's house is the head of a group called LI Green, he is also the one ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Dec 25, 09 1:42 AM
Speaking of aesthetics, leaving the environmental argument to others, the fearless leaders in the Zoning Dept, have by- passed the quality of life protections by writing code that does not require minimum setbacks for ground based solar panels. Oh, and the Architectural Review Board is completely removed from the review process. In fact, roof based panels only require an electric permit. Hmm. The neighboring Town have stricter requiorements. So much for SH quality of life, Densification and ...more
By kelbas (30), Southampton on Dec 25, 09 2:08 AM
2 members liked this comment
I do not know if the proposed wind turbine would have any effect on animals. Nevertheless, it is an eyesore. If the Seddios are committed wind energy advocates, they should lower the height so that the turbine is lower than their roofline and place it right at their front door. That would make the people whose lives are impinged by this technology the same people who benefit from it.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 26, 09 1:02 AM
Or they could offer some of the power to their neighbors, as to lower THEIR utility bills as well, I bet that would change the opinions of some of the NIMBY's. (Almost as if it would make the well-being of bats and birds less important, hmm)
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Dec 26, 09 3:55 AM
It is great that we live in a time when people consider all the implications so keep it up everyone..the more discussion the better as long as we stick to the point ,which is the effect on the enviroment (including the view) and skip the personal angle.
By consciencepoint (16), Southampton on Dec 27, 09 1:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if the letters sent by the neighbors to the Conservation Board are available to the public? I find collective will to be an interesting phenomenon and I think it is important to understand all of the objections to this type of project in order to move forward with more like it. We need to start somewhere but it seems like these endeavors just keep getting shot down. I find it very disappointing.
By Cdwyer213 (68), Quogue on Dec 27, 09 2:47 PM
The file that you are referring to is at Town Hall in the Conservation Department. You can go down there and look at it any time that you like.

I took the time and read the entire file. It is about 1000 pages long. Go read it. There is very compelling evidence that completely backs up Shea's analysis that this shoreline site is totally inappropriate for an industrial wind device like proposed.
By energyexpert (3), Southampton on Dec 30, 09 2:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you for your reply. I am happy knowing that this file IS available for public review. Perhaps there is more compelling evidence than what was presented in this article as to why this proposal is not being supported. I suppose my main concern is that the outcome of this particular issue will set a dangerous precedent for the next time a residential turbine is proposed.
By Cdwyer213 (68), Quogue on Dec 31, 09 10:08 AM
I think people are missing the point that its 32 feet high and god awful ugly. Solar panels are just as efficient and not such an eyesore. If they approve this where do we draw the line
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 28, 09 6:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
A thermal solar heater or PV panels may actually not be as efficient as a wind turbine, it truly depends on the location. In order to meet their energy needs this may be a better option, especially considering they live on the water where wind speeds are generally higher. I personally do not find wind tubines to be an eyesore, certainly no more so than the communications towers that sprout up all over the place. If you want to see an eyesore, check out a coal fired power plant. Or a strip mining ...more
By Cdwyer213 (68), Quogue on Dec 29, 09 7:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
lawyer up people this is the only way things get done around here,
By lo-cal (78), southampton on Dec 30, 09 10:40 AM
Stick to your guns, Mr. Shea! Those things kill bats and birds, the ones at the Altamont Pass in Ca. had to be dismantled because of raptor deaths..It is rare to get such a nuanced view of ecological costs and benefits - well done, Marty!! keep it up!!
By trace (5), north sea on Dec 30, 09 11:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Everyone who thinks this is such a great idea would be first in line screaming if some neighbor was getting ready to put a 32' structure in their yard. It is a "towering" eyesore and a detriment to property values.
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Dec 30, 09 5:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Dec 30, 09 9:44 PM
We're glad you left our beautiful town. One less person to destroy it.
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Dec 31, 09 11:32 AM
These people should have the right to appeal the town's decision to the state level. lets see if the DEC agrees with this jerkoffs assessment.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Dec 30, 09 9:47 PM
Look into things before commenting on them, things may not be what they seem.

These people want the turbine on their property because they hope to sell them. It's a business venture, not a "green" venture. The issue is whether their waterside property is suitable for it, or not. If they simply wanted to be green, solar would work perfectly, but they want to put up their turbine to be able to show it to potential clients. Simple.

I'd like to put a cell phone tower on my property, ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Dec 30, 09 11:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
Once again town goverment fighting the people. The town has a alternative fuel committee to discuss the use of other energy, but not one town building has anything. When a resident wants to use a wind turbine, we have the tree hugers and fish lovers jumping up and down, but the use of oil and gasoline have more effects on the enviroment than a turbine moving from the wind. hey if it was so dangerous to the views and birds why did every farm that use to be operating in our township have a wind ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Dec 31, 09 8:25 AM
2 members liked this comment
Hey Repub,
Back then, farmers also used DDT and other carcinogenic pesticides.
Not to smart Eh?
Pull your own head out of the sand.
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Dec 31, 09 11:40 AM
East Coast Faces Deep Freeze; Florida Oranges Threatened...
Iowa temps 'a solid 30 degrees below normal'...
Peru's mountain people 'face extinction because of cold conditions'...
Beijing -- coldest in 40 years...
World copes with Arctic weather...

global warming lol

By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Jan 3, 10 8:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Here's something I posted in an earlier article on this issue - it deals with the sincerity of some of the neighborhood opposition:


I see that Mr. Schwartz is not mentioned in this article - maybe the opposition recognized their spokesman's hypocracy?

Also, LI Green has a redesigned web site, but you can still find the old mission statement at the link listed above.

Finally, what's up with Marty Shea citing the "scenic quality of the wetlands" to neighbors ...more
By CoweeDewey (110), East Quogue on Jan 4, 10 3:23 PM
2 members liked this comment
Sorry - it didn't show my previous post. It's here: http://www.27east.com/story_detail.cfm?id=236461, posted 9/28 at 7:48pm.

I'll try again to reproduce it below:

This story is missing critical facts regarding LI Green's opposition.

First, Charles Schwartz (head of LI Green) lives directly next to Mr. Seddio's home (where the windmill is planned). So It's not really LI Green that opposes the windmill, it's Charles Schwartz pulling a NIMBY (not in my backyard).

Second, ...more
By CoweeDewey (110), East Quogue on Jan 4, 10 3:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
My name is Chuck Schwartz. I have been trying to stay out of this debate however at this time I feel compelled to respond to the personal attack by CoweeDewey, a person that I do not know and I am not aware knows me personally.

First a little about me. I am an environmental engineer with both a bachelors and masters engineering degree. For decades I have worked on environmental projects and have a very strong practical understanding about ecology, biodiversity and habitats as well ...more
By Chuck Schwartz (1), Southampton on Jan 6, 10 7:39 AM
Re: my previous posts:

Sometime since this past Monday, LI Green removed from its web site the page I quoted (previously available at http://www.ligreen.com/whatis.htm), which stated that LI Green's mission is "to enhance economic development and jobs growth by facilitating the expansion of Long Island’s “Green Economy.”" The site did not state that its mission was liminted to making buildings and homes more efficient (a laudable and essential goal, and one I wholeheartedly support). ...more
By CoweeDewey (110), East Quogue on Jan 11, 10 9:21 AM
Wow its amazing that over 100 years ago the windmills in Watermill, East Hampton, Southampton College, National Golf Links of America and several other locations must have Killed many bats, piping plovers, and several other species common to the area and these windmills are much larger in diameter than the wind turbine. What amazes me is that they species are still here! I guess these windmills didn't have any effect on wildlife and this must be an excuse. Remember real estate and property values ...more
By localbigboy (7), southampton on Jan 7, 10 12:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
dear localbig boy, gee so much of southampton looks JUST like it did 100 years ago!! As a matter of fact, it really looks EXACTLY THE SAME as it did fifty years ago, in my lifetime. It is amazing..The bats and piping plovers just range all over the place, despite the golf courses and 100$ of the town being subdivided for lawns and houses..
Good god man are you stupid or what???
By trace (5), north sea on Jan 7, 10 1:44 PM
Yes Trace I agree there is no change. I was writing against the stupidity myself. But at the same time what about the birds around the airports that fly into the propellers of airliners. Are we shutting down major airports or trying to find ways to make it work. My point was did people have such a hard time with windmills a hundred years ago as they do today and if so why were they built. I think I know the answer to that.
By localbigboy (7), southampton on Jan 7, 10 3:24 PM
Wow, you don't get it, local big boy..Population of humans has DOUBLED since 1957!! Southampton looks NOTHING like it did 100 years ago..sheesh!! There are humongous pressures on all wild species mostly due to habitat loss and pollution, as well as predation by invasive species like cats..

You cannot compare today with 100 years ago..I have heard other people make that statement, "gee, 100 years ago no-one minded " and the cluelessness astounds me..Perhaps your second reply is kidding..

So ...more
By trace (5), north sea on Jan 7, 10 3:45 PM
What is going on here in the comments -- all of INS's comments are gone -- how & why did that happen ?

By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Jan 7, 10 5:12 PM
What is going on here in the comments -- all of INS's comments are gone -- how & why did that happen ?

By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Jan 7, 10 5:13 PM
Mr. Schwartz,
Thank you for jumping in and helping shed some light on the real situation.
By Seriously. (3), Southampton on Jan 7, 10 11:02 PM
Yes they banned Kenya native and cleansed all his comments as well, It seems dissent is only patriotic if you have the same view that the editor has. lived across the way from me and I did not always agree with his point of view but hate to see all the censorship.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Jan 10, 10 11:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
Lets call this whole exersize what it really is - a Red Herring. If Mr. Seddio knows ANYthing about wind turbines this was a stunt. Forget the wetlands issue and any associated vibration. Forget buying any of his excess power. He knows he won't have any. That's right. Any wind turbine that you would put on a very low 32' tower will only generate a fraction of the power required to run the appliances and lights on any of the homes on that street. If he was going to install a turbine that was ...more
By jfr (4), Loveland on Aug 17, 10 5:12 PM