02/16/11 7:46am
02/16/2011 7:46 AM

A proposal to build a wind turbine at the Riverhead Sewer District headquarters got rave reviews from most of the speakers at a public hearing before the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday night.

The proposed 750 kw wind turbine would cost a maximum of $1.8 million to construct but the energy it generates for the sewer plant would pay off that cost within 11 years and would generate $5 million in savings after 25 years, according to consultant Peter Rusy of DHL Power.

The turbine would be 275 high when its blade is at its highest, but would probably not be noticeable to Riverside Drive neighbors because of the trees, he said. It also would generate less than 50 decibels of noice, Mr. Rusy said, putting it in compliance with the town’s noise law.

Supervisor Sean Walter said the town met with LIPA officials earlier in the day Tuesday and learned that new regulations will allow the town to sell energy back to LIPA should the turbine go online. This, he said, would cut the projected cost to taxpayers in half, from 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to 25 cents per $1,000 in the first year, a number would amount to $12.50 for the first year.

By the seventh year, it would be turning a profit and wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything, Mr. Rusy said.

Several speakers praised the proposal, saying the town is leading the way in moving toward alternative energy sources.

Daniel Karpen, an engineer from Huntington, suggested the town build a wind turbine farm at EPCAL and use the energy it would generate to power the entire town.

FIELD WORK UNDERWAY

Two long planned recreation projects went out for bids Tuesday, and town officials are hoping the cost of the two projects comes in under $859,000, which is the amount the town has left in collected recreation fees.

The two projects are the construction of new soccer and multipurpose fields at Stotzky Park, where officials say the existing fields have been in bad shape for years due to overusage and lack of proper drainage, and the opening of a Route 25 entrance to the new ballfields built, but not yet opened, at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

Councilman George Gabrielsen said he hopes to have both projects complete by April.

The Stotzky Park fields will be “done right,” with new drainage and an eight-foot high fence to limit usage of the field, he said. And the town finally got a permit for the new entrance point to the Calverton baseball and soccer fields from the state Department of Transportation. The work there will involve mostly striping, asphalt and the construction of about 130 parking stalls, Mr. Gabrielsen said.

The $859,000 in recreation fees comes from developers in the subdivision process. Previously, they were required to either provide recreational facilities on site, or pay into the townwide recreational fund at a rate of $5,000 per lot. The town is in the process of dropping that number to $3,000 per lot due to the down economy, the councilman said.

Mr. Gabrielsen said noted that the money being spent on the fields and infrastructure is not taxpayer money.

Mr. Walter the combined cost of the two projects must come under $859,000 because the town cannot bond any more money for the projects.

The Stotzky Park bids are due March 11 and the EPCAL bids are due March 18.

MANOR INN APPEAL COMING

The Town Board authorized the law firm of Smith, Finkelstein, Lundberg, Isler and Yakaboski to act as special counsel in the appeal of court ruling in the Jamesport Manor Inn case, which had previously gone against the town.

State Supreme Court Justic Peter Cohalan in December overturned a 2009 Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals dismissal of the inn’s application for a catering facility. The court ruled that catering is a permitted accessory use to the property’s existing restaurant use.

The town had already filed a notice of appeal, but still had 60 days to perfect the appeal. Mr. Walter said previously that the town still could decide not to move forward with it.

On Tuesday, however, he said he learned that the town is obligated to defend the ZBA.

The vote to hire the lawfirm met with only three yes votes, as Councilwoman Jodi Giglio abstained, saying she believes catering is a permitted accessory use to restaurants. Councilman George Gabrielsen recused himself because he does business with Jamesport Manor Inn owner Matt Kar.

tgannon@timesreview.com