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Sep 22, 2010 9:27 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Couple stalls wind turbine plans

Editor's Note:
Sep 22, 2010 9:27 AM

A Shinnecock Hills couple who stirred up some controversy by proposing a vertical-axis wind turbine on their property have put the plans on hold, hoping that Southampton Town will amend its laws governing such devices to work in their favor.

At least one member of an informal group charged with hammering out that legislation said no new law is expected to go into effect anytime soon, but Jennifer Garvey, a spokeswoman for Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, said this week that a draft of the law is being finalized.

The issue boiled over at a Southampton Town Conservation Board meeting on September 8, when Michael Rakowski, a representative for Dom and Marianne Seddio, residents of Bayberry Cove Lane in Southampton who want the wind turbine, requested an indefinite adjournment of the public hearing on their application.

“We’re asking for the adjournment, because right now there’s a zoning issue that has to be solved, and Southampton Town has appointed a committee to review the zoning issues not only for this property but for the entire Town of Southampton, and until that issue is settled, we really can’t proceed with our application, because if we were to get permission to go forward with the building permit, we have zoning issues,” Mr. Rakowski said, according to a recording of the meeting provided by the Southampton Town clerk’s office.

Residents slammed the proposal at the meeting, as many of them have done in the past. They alleged that the plan has the potential to negatively impact wildlife and the ecosystem at the property, which is located on wetlands.

The board granted an adjournment, but not an indefinite one—it will extend only till March 9, 2011, according to Chairman Harry Ludlow. That is, in part, to place an end date on the process. He said the couple has recently requested several adjournments, and Mr. Ludlow said it’s time to move the process along.

“They will have to finish building the record, because it’s our intention of closing the hearing on that date ... We’ve been on this thing for over a year already, so let’s decide if we’re going to fish or cut bait,” he said.

Charles Schwartz, who works for Long Island Green, a non-profit organization that promotes education in energy efficiency, sits on the informal group that is reviewing the town code. At the Conservation Board meeting, Mr. Schwartz stated that, as far as he knows, there is no legislation that is slated to be finalized anytime soon.

“There’s no consensus,” Mr. Schwartz said. “There’s no legislation under way right now. There was a very short board work session here in this room a couple of weeks ago, and that’s the extent of it. There’s no legislation ... There’s no legislation in play, in process at all.”

According to an e-mail from Ms. Garvey, the group, which is not a formal town committee, first convened in early February to address the town’s wind energy conservation system code. They were brought in because of an increased number of applications for wind turbines filed with the town.

Ms. Garvey said a draft of the legislation was discussed at the July meeting, and since then, the group has met to revise the draft. “There will be another opportunity for the public to respond to the proposed changes in the coming weeks,” she stated in the e-mail.

Current law states that wind energy conversion systems are prohibited from use in most residentially-zoned districts, including R-15, the district in which the Seddios reside. Last week, Mr. Seddio said he had heard that the committee was considering amending the code, in relation to the R-15 zoning. It is in part why Ms. Seddio withdrew the Board of Zoning Appeals application for an area variance to construct the residential vertical axis wind turbine, which he said is about 32 feet high.

“We only asked for an indefinite [adjournment] because we weren’t sure when the town was going to come out with any kind of a ruling on the zoning, if they were,” Mr. Seddio explained. “They might not. They might come out and say we’re not changing anything. That’s fine too.”

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yeah, forget the wind turbines, forget solar panels, forget all alternative energy sources... let's just keep getting our energy from those that want to kill us and from sources that soil the planet...
By Bella Wood (4), Hampton Bays on Sep 28, 10 3:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
That thing looks like a bird killer. The big three bladed wind generators move so slowly birds can easily get past them. This little twisty one looks as if it will spin too quickly for birds to avoid. It should not be allowed to be built. I have solar panels and am in favor of renewable energy - but not turbines that chop up birds.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Sep 28, 10 3:16 PM
The big ones kill birds too... a red-tailed hawk ran into the one at Brookhaven Town Hall and was killed last year.

Are you willing to trade a handful of (potential) bird deaths for reducing oil dependency, which just today was shown to negatively effect our shellfish populations (See Newsday, Chris Goblers research)?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 28, 10 4:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
A wind turbine is a grand idea, and surely a lot less harmful to the environment than an oil spill, or smoke plumes.
By SusieD (115), Southampton on Sep 28, 10 3:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
wait. its a wind turbine. whats the problem? does the skinny curly haired one hate it? if this is going to be the answer to everyone's prayers, we'd better start somewhere!
By justduckey (58), artist colony on Sep 28, 10 3:30 PM
really? a few dead birds? as opposed to how many dead people fighting to keep this source we're addicted to which is controlled by the part of the world trying to kill us... ??? and how many dead birds are there that fly into these props? I bet less than fly into commercial airliners and a helluva lot less than died in the Gulf due to the BP spill....
By Bella Wood (4), Hampton Bays on Sep 28, 10 8:47 PM
2 members liked this comment
250 million years ago, the oceans turned anoxic, and ninety percent of the life on this planet went extinct.

The planet, by it's own natural processes, sequestered carbon, as oil.

We have now burned as fuel, almost seventy-five percent of that sequestered carbon as fuel.

Can't imagine why the oceans are warming, and glaciers are disappearing at an accelerated rate...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 28, 10 11:04 PM
Just so you know all of the facts this is what the proposed new wind legislation would allow:

* ALLOWS ANY PROPERTY OWNER WITH A LOT SIZE OF .46 ACRE OR LARGER TO INSTALL TWO (2) WIND TURBINES

* EACH TURBINE CAN BE AS TALL AS 120 FEET HIGH

* NO RESTRICTIONS ON DISTANCE FROM NEIGHBORS, EXCEPT A FALL ZONE THE HEIGHT OF THE TURBINE

* NO RESTRICTIONS FOR SCENIC AREAS, SHORELINES AND WILDLIFE

* NO RESTRICTIONS FOR RESIDENTIAL ZONES OR CONCERNS FOR NEIGHBORHOOD ...more
By Southampton Truth (10), Southampton on Sep 29, 10 7:29 AM
Provide your source. And a code doesn't have to explicitly say what is and isn't allowed. For example, just because this alleged new code doesn't have restrictions for wetlands, doesn't mean the authority for wetlands (the Conservation Board and NYS DEC) have their hands tied. It would still have to conform to pre-existing laws.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 30, 10 9:43 AM
Call the Town Supervisor's office and ask for a copy of the proposed legislation. You'll see that this is exactly what is being proposed. The bulk of this was presented at a town board work session about a month ago.

In terms of the wetlands you are absolutely right but I have fears that if we are going to rely exclusively on the DEC and the Conservation Board it is very risky. The DEC is getting ready to lose 200 employees - was just announced. Surely some of them are going to be ...more
By Southampton Truth (10), Southampton on Oct 1, 10 10:09 AM
HAHAHAHA - The DEC can still say NO if they lose 200 employees, they always says NO bulkeding NO docks NO, NO, NO, NO until it come to issuing hunting permits then it is YES, YES, YES. While I agree with thin the deer population. Why do we need to thin the ducks? And thin them at 5:30 in the flippin morning!!!!

The DEC needs to get out of the residential property oversight business.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Oct 2, 10 10:57 PM
where have you been...we have had wind, cow doody, corn alcohol, hemp, and every other form of alternative energy rammed down our throats...this is wonderful justice. i know who lives down that street. the upset is nothing short of sweet irony. don't stop at the turbine, we must put an entire turbine ''farm'' there so we can power the priuses we are all going to be driving soon. oh, now, this is great. turbines on every property, 120 feet tall - its not what we want in this community. its ...more
By dylan32 (64), east hampton on Sep 29, 10 9:02 AM
put a wind turbine farm in front of Tim Bishop when he gives one of his talks. His hot air will power the whole county.
By uncleronk (136), southold on Sep 29, 10 9:54 AM
Just like your hot air lights up this board, right, unc?
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 3, 10 8:39 PM
Chaos, strange attractors, (im)predictability. I'm not talking about Town Hall here, but a dynamic system wherein a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil may produce a tornado in Texas. Imagine the potential for devastation surrounding one of these contraptions! Won't someone please think of the children?! (oh yeah, birds too)
By loading... (601), quiogue on Oct 2, 10 3:00 PM