Government Briefs 06.23.11

Wind at Iacono Farm
    The owners of the seven-acre Iacono Farm on Long Lane in East Hampton want to put up a wind turbine like the one that was erected this year on the nearby Mahoney farm. The East Hampton Town Board recently received a letter from an attorney for the Iaconos apprising the town of the idea. Although the town code requires that the town board issue a permit for wind turbines, New York State Agriculture and Markets law, which supercedes town law, gives farmers the right to put wind turbines on their land.
    Town officials said at a meeting on Tuesday that it is likely that the turbine on the Iacono land, like that on the Mahoney site, can be constructed without a town permit.
    Stephen Mahoney had approached town officials with his plan, but, said Councilman Dominick Stanzione Tuesday, that was primarily to provide an opportunity for discussion of a revamped town wind energy policy. A permit was, however, issued.
    Mr. Stanzione, who has been representing East Hampton on a multi-town task force on municipal wind energy regulations, noted that the Suffolk County Planning Commission has identified East Hampton as “the best possible wind source on Long Island.”

Grass or Grapes
    Proposals from two potential lessees of town-owned acreage at Roberts Lane and Cedar Street in East Hampton were discussed at a town board work session on Tuesday. Aidan Furlong of Hamptons Grass and Bamboo described how he would use the site to grow rootstock of native grasses (but not bamboo), without the use of any herbicides or pesticides. He said a deer fence would not be needed. In his proposal he offered to pay the town $200 an acre to lease the land.
    Richard Principi, with his sister, Yvonne Velasquez, and a cousin, Richie Pisicano, a vineyard manager at Wolffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack, told the board that the soil at the property is ideal for growing grapes. The grapes would be sold to wine producers, they said, and eventually used by the Principis themselves in conjunction with a winery on family land in Amagansett. Occasional pesticide applications, and a deer fence, would be needed, they said. The Principi proposal included an offer to pay rent of $150 an acre for the first five years, and then $200 and $300 an acre for five-year increments afterwards.
    The town Purchasing Department, which vetted the proposals, had recommended leasing to Mr. Furlong, but Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, citing an interest in helping the vineyard industry grow in East Hampton as it has on the North Fork, asked for further consideration by the board.

Accessibility at Town Hall
    Changes to the Town Hall campus, including the construction of the new justice court building and the Town Hall complex created from historic buildings, have resulted in problems with accessibility for the handicapped, Richard Rosenthal, a former member of the town’s disabilities advisory committee, told the town board last Thursday.  Though there are handicapped parking spaces near the courthouse, Mr. Rosenthal said, there is no access from the parking area to the sidewalk around the building. And, he said, the doors into the courtroom are “really dangerous.”
    The reconfiguration of the main Town Hall offices eliminated handicapped parking spaces near the building, he said. In the main Town Hall meeting room, there is supposed to be an assistive listening device for those with hearing problems, he also said. Town board members promised to address the issues and to “rekindle” the town’s disabilities advisory board.