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Loriz to Town Board: Save money by putting up solar panels
A new Long Island Power Authority Clean Solar Initiative has Shelter Island’s Town Board poised to consider an alternative energy initiative because it might generate revenue for the town.
LIPA’s Feed-In Tariff program could net the town as much as 22 cents a kilowatt hour for energy it delivers to the company’s grid. Solar panels on the town-owned American Legion Hall and highway barn could be sufficient to cover all the town spends on LIPA bills, Legion Commander Mike Loriz told the Town Board at its July 3 work session. Mr. Loriz has had his own home solar panel system, which has paid for itself over the last five years, he said.
While LIPA is no longer offering grants to residential customers to install solar panels, there are grants for municipalities, Mr. Loriz said.
If the town signed on to the FIT program, that 22-cent per kilowatt hour return would be paid for 20 years, no matter what happens to LIPA rates, he said. Information on the program has been forwarded to the town’s Green Options Advisory Committee for its review, he said.
“We’re all excited by it,” Supervisor Jim Dougherty told Mr. Loriz.
Mr. Loriz said that was good news because he and Advisory Committee Chair Herb Stelljes have been pushing the idea for years without much success.
Any type of solar initiative by the town would set a good example for residents and business owners, Councilwoman Chris Lewis said.
It will be mid-September before the Town Board receives a final report but botanists are suggesting that invasive trees that are creeping across Shell Beach be removed so that plants natural to the area can thrive. Town Attorney Laury Dowd brought that message back to the Town Board following a recent meeting she attended of botanists and officials from the Peconic Estuary Program.
Fast growing locust trees and other species not native to the beach were creating a problem, she said.
In addition to blocking off natural species, the trees are providing perches for predators to use to attack terns and piping plovers that nest on the beach. She said the botanists described the beach as naturally “open, sandy, hot and wind swept.” The botanists said if the trees were removed, native vegetation would naturally restore itself, Ms. Dowd said.
That rankled Councilman Paul Shepherd, who questioned how the botanists know locusts and other plants aren’t native. But Councilwoman Lewis said she recalled hearing similar information about locust trees being an invasive species on the Causeways. A wrap-up meeting is expected at the end of August with a final report due to the Town Board by mid-September, Ms. Dowd said. At that time, board members can decide how to move forward with the beach restoration project, she said.
The Town Board is submitting its priority wish list to Suffolk County of sites it would like to have dredged. South Ferry is at the top of the list, followed by the entrance to Coecles Harbor and both Dickerson Creek and Menantic Creek tied for third place, according to Councilman Peter Reich. (At this week’s July 10 work session, Mr. Reich suggested those two creeks be dredged as one project because they are so close together.)
The town’s list will be reviewed in conjunction with lists from other Suffolk County communities. There’s no guarantee that any of the projects will be on the list that ultimately gets dredged this year, Mr Dougherty said.
Mr. Dougherty said in July he observed a large number of people on the balcony at Sunset Beach the weekend before July 4 and said building permit examiner Mary Wilson was dealing with the hotel owners to establish signs limiting the balcony occupancy to whatever number is appropriately safe. The supervisor said that both the hotel and town could be liable if the balcony collapsed.
Police also conducted an inspection and issued a number of warnings, as reported in last week’s edition in the Reporter.
After only two members showed for the July 2 Waterways Management Advisory Council meeting, Councilman Ed Brown requested that the Town Board adopt a policy that requires members to send emails to their colleagues if they will be absent so meetings without a quorum can be canceled in advance. While Mr. Reich suggested 48 hours notice, except in an emergency, Mr. Brown said six hours in advance would satisfy him. Both noted that it’s unfair to people with applications for permits not to have a quorum. They agreed that discussions on minor applications could be conducted via email rather than hold up an applicant until the next monthly meeting.
That’s especially critical for those who might be seeking moorings for the summer, Mr. Reich said. The issue will be a topic for discussion at the next WMAC meeting in August.