Town Board: No for proposed tidal turbine near South Ferry

JULIE LANE PHOTO | E.K. ‘Ken’ von der Heyden pleaded unsuccessfully with the the Town Board Friday to give its blessing to his floating tidal turbine system.

The Town Board rebuffed the inventor of a tidal turbine system on Friday when he made a pitch for town support. He wants the town’s permission to anchor his turbine on a float just to the west of South Ferry.

Board members listened for 20 minutes but told E.K. von der Heyden of Sag Harbor to go back to the Waterways Management Advisory Council, which he had visited in March only to be told members wanted to know how East Hampton and Southampton town officials were responding to the idea.

Before that, he had paid a visit to the Town Board at a Tuesday work session in February and was told then to go to the WMAC.

Mr. von der Heyden told the Town Board Friday that, while he had many potential investors, he still didn’t have a commitment from any municipality to place the prototype in the water for a long-range test.

“There are some very excited people,” Mr. von der Heyden said of those who want to give him money to test his technology. But he doesn’t want to take any money, he added, until he has a place to put the unit. He has a letter from the Long Island Power Authority supporting a test run and is planning to make a pitch to the Suffolk County Legislature but wants to be able to do so with the Shelter Island Town Board’s “blessing,” he said.

“We’re kind of the last stop on this train, instead of the first stop,” Councilwoman Chris Lewis told him.

The Town Board shouldn’t be considering the proposal unless the WMAC recommends the project, she said, and even then Mr. von der Heyden should be able to bring experts to a meeting to explain the technology, she told him.

Councilman Peter Reich expressed concerns about possible anchor drag and wanted assurances that, if the prototype snapped a cable, there would be no live wire left in the water.

Councilman Ed Brown told the inventor that he should ask for time on the Town Board’s work session agenda only after the WMAC is satisfied with the proposal.


After public hearings on Friday, the Town Board approved four of five applications for permits. The fifth, an application from Kevin McCafferty to place a mooring in West Neck Creek, won’t be allowed in the specific area Mr. McCafferty requested. But if he’s willing to agree to one of two alternative locations in West Neck Creek, Mr. McCafferty will be able to obtain his permit this week.

Those applications that won outright approval are:

• Mr. McCafferty’s request to place a mooring in Coecles Harbor. The mooring will be placed in the same area as a previous mooring Mr. McCafferty had that expired, Mr. Reich said.

• Alexander Zagoreos’ request to place a mooring in Coecles Harbor.

• Marion Raeder’s request for a stake, mooring and pulley in Coecles Harbor.

• Jonathan Adler’s and Simon Doonan’s request for a wetlands permit to allow them to use some plantings on their property above their bulkhead at 74 Gardiners Bay Drive. They want to maintain the area as naturally as possible, according to Robert Hermann of En-Consultants in Southampton. He said the property owners realized that a severe storm could wash the plants away and they would have to be replaced.


With only a few weeks before Amanda Clark and her team, Sarah Lihan, set sail in the women’s 470-class race in the 2012 Olympics in England, the Town Board issued a proclamation declaring August 3-10 Amanda Clark Week. Those are the days when women’s 470 competition is scheduled in Weymouth.

While he said Ms. Clark needs little encouragement to succeed, Supervisor Jim Dougherty explained that he wants her to know that townspeople are behind her effort to bring home a medal.

The Town Board paid tribute to former assessor Maureen Sheehy, who died on June 19.

“Maureen was a person who worked very diligently” and “was a great asset to our Town,” the proclamation said.

The board also issued a proclamation designating the lawn in front of the police station the Henry H. Preston Plaza. (See separate story on page  4.)


Also on Friday, the board set hearings for its 4:30 p.m. meeting on Friday, July 20 on the following applications:

• From Leslie and Pamela Lawrence of 19A Rocky Point Road to replace 206 feet of bulkhead, backfilling void areas landward with clean trucked-in sand and regrading and revegetation of disturbed areas of the bank.

• From Lawrence Kogel of 6 Country Club Drive to remove north and south jetties and construct a new 12-foot low profile jetty in their place, reconstruct  a stairway to the beach and replace bulkheads.

• From Bobbie and Peter Lane of 84 Peconic Avenue for a wetlands permit to construct a partial second floor addition to their existing single-story house.

• From Mark Vollmer of 13 Fred’s Lane to install a mooring in West Neck Creek.