Energy, Roundabout Get Village Attention

Going through a jam-packed agenda last Thursday that focused on the near future, the East Hampton Village Board received word that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority may designate the village a “Clean Energy Community,” agreed to issue a bond for the construction of a much-anticipated roundabout at Buell and Toilsome Lanes and another bond for the purchase of property for a parking lot, and announced that a firm had been chosen for the reconstruction of the mill cottage on the James Lane Gardiner property.

Municipalities receiving the NYSERDA designation become eligible for grants for energy efficiency projects, Becky Molinaro, the village administrator, told the board at its work session. In order to receive the designation, a municipality must meet 4 of 10 “high impact items,” she said, going on to describe them.

“We are currently part of a ‘solarize’ campaign with the Town of East Hampton,” Ms. Molinaro said, referring to a program deemed high impact, in which they publicize grant opportunities for residential solar installation. A program to convert streetlights to energy-efficient LED technology is another high-impact item, she said.

A third high-impact item is the planned installation of an electric vehicle charging station in the village long-term parking lot. The village has applied to the State Department of Environmental Conservation for a grant that would cover half the $32,000 cost of the station, Ms. Molinaro said. In addition, code enforcement officers have begun training for implementation of the state building code as it pertains to energy efficiency, she said.

The village could also adopt a “bench­­marking” program, which is jointly administered by NYSERDA and PSEG Long Island, in which the energy used at village-owned properties of 1,000 square feet or more would be tracked. Ten properties would apply, Ms. Molinaro said, explaining that “NYSERDA will help us track that usage over the next few years to see . . . if any building is not performing efficiently.” The board would have to adopt a resolution to participate in the program.

Also under discussion is a solar-permit application form, which the Town of East Hampton has adopted and is now using. Ms. Molinaro said it would streamline the process of residential solar panel installation. Doing so “would be another high-impact item that would allow us to earn the clean energy designation,” she said.

“We’re all in sync,” Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said of the Clean Energy Communities program, “and I believe it’s the appropriate thing for this board to move ahead with. . . . Given what’s happening out there in the field of energy delivery, I think this is great.”

Moving on to the roundabout, the board unanimously voted to authorize a $1.4 million bond for its construction, although the cost is expected to be reduced to $700,000 by a matching state grant. The roundabout is intended to control and make traffic safer at what is called the five corners intersection. Permits from the State Department of Transportation are pending, Ms. Molinaro said after the work session, with construction anticipated in the fall.

Plans call for approximately 3,800 square yards of roadway to be relocated to accommodate the 100-foot-diameter roundabout. It is to include a landscaped center island, pedestrian safety islands amid multiple crosswalks, and the relocation of one utility pole, as well as new sidewalks, signs, landscaping, and drainage.

The second bond the board agreed to issue is for $989,000 for the purchase of property at 8 Osborne Lane for a new parking lot. Carol Baker, the owner of the parcel, has agreed to sell it to the village, Ms. Molinaro said after the work session, and the house on the property will be demolished at the village’s expense. Demolition will not happen before the next fiscal year, which begins on Aug. 1, she said.

Robert Hefner, the village’s director of historic services, told the board that the town was on the cusp of formalizing a contract with Strada Baxter Design/ Build to restore the Gardiner mill cottage to its 1880s appearance.

At the request of the village board, the Town of East Hampton bought the Lion Gardiner home lot, which includes the 1804 Gardiner windmill as well as the cottage, in 2014, using money from the community preservation fund. In December of that year, the municipalities agreed that the village would have sole responsibility for the lot.

The town had sought bids on the work and Strada Baxter was both the low bidder and high scorer among four submissions due to its qualifications and experience, Mr. Hefner told the board. At its own meeting last Thursday, the East Hampton Town Board formalized a contract with the firm.

Plans call for the removal of nonhistorical additions, including porches and dormers, and the reconstruction of its 1880 porch. A kitchen wing is to be reconstructed, providing an entrance and bathroom complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

“They’re committed to starting in the second half of April and working on the project until it’s completed,” Mr. Hefner said. “That’s something we have been waiting for, for a long time.”

The work should take less than a year to complete, he said. Once the renovation is complete, the timber-frame saltbox structure is to become a museum devoted to 19th and early-20th-century landscape paintings. A grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation is to go toward acquisition of part of the East Hampton Wallace Gallery’s collection of art.