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Town buses scheduled for PSEG substation field trip

COURTESY PHOTO | The Town Board met Tuesday in work session.

COURTESY PHOTO | The Town Board met Tuesday in work session.

The Town Board has set a date for a residents’ tour on town buses of substations to the North Fork.

Supervisor Jim Dougherty said at Tuesday’s Town Board work session that the tour would begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 17 from Town Hall. PSEG — the power company that manages Long Island’s electricity — representatives will meet the bus at the Greenport side of North Ferry.

It’s anticipated the tour would take the morning, returning to Town Hall around lunch time or soon thereafter.

“If we can not accommodate everyone on the 17th, we plan to schedule additional tours at later dates,” Mr. Dougherty said after the meeting.

The tour is in response to mounting concern over the power company’s proposal to install an electrical substation on town-owned property on South Ferry Road next to the Shelter Island Historical Society.

Next Tuesday, July 8, PSEG representatives will be at the board’s work session to discuss the project and other options, Mr. Dougherty said.

“The goal here is simple,” Mr. Dougherty said. “We just want to find the best way to provide safe and reliable electric power in face of increasing power demands as our population grows and also the increased frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms.”

A month ago PSEG representatives made a strong pitch to the board to secure permission to build an electrical substation on the town-owned property where the old highway barn once was, just north of the Havens House.

PSEG would negotiate with the town for a deal to lease or purchase the acre or so of land and have easements for vehicle access and to run cables back from Route 114.

Drilling another conduit under the bay for a second cable from the North Fork was another option to ensure reliability of electricity to the Island, but PSEG representatives have disparaged that idea in light of the disaster of a $9 million LIPA scheme that was abandoned last autumn.

In November 2012, one of two distribution cables coming from the North Fork failed. The remaining cable and one from the South Fork have adequate capacity to provide electricity to the Island under normal conditions, but may fail in severe weather.

Opposition to a substation on environmental and quality of life issues has been on the rise, with people speaking out at public meetings, petition drives and sending letters to the board and to the Reporter.
In other business:

• The board approved a draft by Town Attorney Laury Dowd to amend the Town Code on false automated police and fire alarms.

A false alarm is defined as one that is “activated by cause or events other than the commission of emergency which the fire or fire department-related alarm system is designed to detect. An alarm system activated by violent or unusual conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstance not subject to the control of the alarm system owner shall not constitute a false fire alarm.”

There are no penalties for two false police alarms, but the third one will cost the resident $100, the fourth will be $200 and then will increase by increments of $100 for further false alarms.

The same rules will apply for false fire alarms, except the third one will carry a $200 penalty.

The board will schedule a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the town code.

• Town engineer John Cronin has told the board that two candidates came forward for the job as summer intern to map septic systems and cesspools on the Island, but didn’t follow up. Mr. Dougherty said the board would extend the date for applicants. Ms. Dowd noted that there is “no demand that it be done over the summer. We could do it in the fall.”