Pols Pitch Plan To Bury Power Lines

Stephen J. Kotz

Local politicians are making the rounds gathering a consensus on a proposal to create a special taxing district funding the burial and maintenance of utility lines along Long Beach Road in the hamlet of Noyac.

Support for the push comes from some residents who believe the scenic stretch would not only be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but that the move would also be beneficial. It would ensure that residents who receive electricity from the lines would not lose power during a storm, which is a regular occurrence in bad weather.

To support the project, the Town of Southampton would have to create a special taxing district, which would follow the boundaries of the Sag Harbor School District. Residents in the villages of Sag Harbor and North Haven, as well as Noyac and Bay Point, would be affected by its creation.

Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni said he and North Haven Mayor Jeff Sander hope to have a meeting with Sag Harbor officials about the proposal soon because they would need to “sign on” to be part of the special taxing district. Under state law, Southampton Town cannot enforce the tax on village residents, some of whom live in the Town of East Hampton. That would have to be undertaken by village government.

It is expected that the project would cost roughly $1.5 million. Residents included in the special taxing district would pay about $25 per year for a home assessed at roughly $1 million. To offset the cost of the project, residents from North Haven and the Bay Point neighborhood would also put up a donation of about $200,000 to install the lines.

Legislation has already been passed at the state level that would allow the creation of a special taxing district, however, a public hearing and vote would be required to create it, Schiavoni said. He does not expect to schedule a public hearing before developing more of a consensus on the project.

“We really want the public to weigh in on this,” he said.

Schiavoni said that as the project has been discussed with community members, some in Noyac have expressed concerns about increased taxes and who the project will benefit most.

Sander said Sag Harbor officials have been reluctant to support the project because only half of the village is located in the township. But overall, he has found residents in the area 80 to 90 percent supportive of the proposal.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive. I think that there is a lot of support for it,” he said.

Sag Harbor Mayor Sandra Schroeder did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

In the meantime, Schiavoni said an ongoing restoration by Suffolk County of natural habitat along the beach where osprey nests are located will not be finished until upgraded power lines are installed. It is likely the upgrade will not be completed by utility company Public Service Enterprise Group of Long Island until the end of summer, when the ospreys are finished nesting.

Schiavoni and Sander were expected to make their pitch before the Noyac Civil Council after deadline, on Tuesday, July 10, at the Old School House on Noyac Road. Civic president Elena Loreto said her membership would like more information about the project from Schiavoni.

“I think there are some people who aren’t entirely for it and there are some people who aren’t entirely against it,” she said.

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