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Jun 15, 2010 6:43 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Energy-producing windmill would be the only one in East Hampton

Jun 15, 2010 6:43 PM

Stephen Mahoney, who owns an iconic piece of farmland not far from East Hampton High School on Long Lane, is looking to power his irrigation pump with help from the wind.

Mr. Mahoney has proposed to place a 10-kilowatt Bergey Excel windmill on his farm, but he will need a special use permit from East Hampton Town for what would be the only modern windmill in a town whose roots are based in harnessing the wind’s energy. The Town Board will hold a public hearing on the project when it meets next Thursday at 7 p.m.

New members of the Town Board consider this application a bellwether of their stated commitment to greening East Hampton trumpeted during last fall’s campaign.

“We have had two wind seminars, and we’ve found that there are not many places that will be feasible when you start looking at overlay maps,” Councilwoman Julia Prince, who has dedicated much of her first four-year term in office to environmental issues, said at a work session on the project in May. “Most towns limit windmills to sites that are 5 acres and up.”

If the project were to encounter resistance from town officials, Assistant Town Attorney John Jilnicki reminded the board that Mr. Mahoney is allowed by New York State to build the turbine without site-plan review because it is a permitted agricultural use under New York State Agriculture and Markets law.

Representatives from Windsine, a Westhampton firm that is planning the installation, told the Town Board in May that the turbine would only make noise equivalent to that of a weed wacker, about 50 decibels. There is an identical tower on the Stony Brook Southampton campus in Shinnecock Hills.

“I like this form of passive energy. It is not without debate,” Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said at the May work session. “We talk a great game in this town about passive energy. If we’re gonna do something, we’re gonna do something ... If we say no here we’ll say no everywhere.”

“I’m absolutely for alternative energy, but I would prefer to see it offshore where the whole town can take advantage of it,” said Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley. “I drive down Long Lane every day. I don’t think I care if there’s a wind turbine there, but we live in a town where people care.”

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its going to sound like a weed whacker is on 24 hours a day??
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 20, 10 12:34 PM
No... it's going to have the noise equivelant (decibles) of a weedwacker. And unless you're right next to it (which I would recommend against) you won't hear much.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 4:27 PM
Time for the Planning Department to wake up and begin establishing guidelines for the installation of windmills and other alternative energy installations in East Hampton. There are many excellent alternatives to oil and gas and the town should encourage them. Julia Prince could certainly refer our planning department to the planning departments of the towns that she has studied. Isn't this exactly the kind of thing that our planning department should do?
By P.A.B. (23), East Hampton on Jun 20, 10 2:09 PM
To block this as oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico would be a travesty.
Time for the politicos to back up one of their campaign promises.
If some people do not like how it looks, then they shouldn't look at it!
If these people are driving, shouldn't they be looking at the road anyway?
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 24, 10 12:40 PM
We need this!!! We have to get off of our addiction to oil! EH has the ability to be a trail blazer in this!!!
By Gail (4), East Hampton on Jun 24, 10 1:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Editor: Check the title - think you forgot a word...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 10 4:24 PM
Thanks!
By BOReilly (133), 27east Web Editor on Jun 24, 10 4:40 PM
Given the amount of money and resources available in East Hampton it is fairly unbelievable that this windmill would be the first. We have to make it easier for residents to install energy producing alternatives to gas and oil - personally, I think these windmills are beautiful.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jun 25, 10 1:48 PM