03/14/13 1:00pm
03/14/2013 1:00 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | National Grid said its finalizing plans for a Cutchogue to Southold natural gas line.

Southold Town residents and businesses have been clamoring for access to natural gas for heating, cooking and hot water since the price began to plummet two years ago but, to date, there’s been little action on the part of National Grid to meet the growing demand.

“There’s a pretty steady and broad-based demand for gas,” Supervisor Scott Russell said in an interview last week. “My understanding is the capacity to serve the town is there. The need is the infrastructure.”

That could change in the near future, said National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd. The company is working on a “gas reinforcement project” that would run a second main line down Route 48 from Cutchogue to Southold, she said.

Although there is already a gas line there, she said the new line could accommodate higher pressures than the existing line, making it possible to bring natural gas to more neighborhoods.

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | A natural gas meter on the side of a local home.

“National Grid continues to invest in gas system infrastructure across Long Island including the North Fork,” Ms. Ladd added. “National Grid’s construction program is designed to support continued growth across the region.” She said the company is still finalizing plans for the Cutchogue to Southold line.

There has been some concern voiced locally that National Grid may not want to invest in gas system infrastructure since the contract to service the LIPA’s electric grid will be given to PSEG next year.

Ms. Ladd said that National Grid still owns, and plans to operate, the natural gas system after the electric contract switch.

Mattituck resident Art Tillman, who also serves as the town’s Democratic Party chairman, has recently taken a part-time job selling natural gas for a company called JJT Energy.

That company is known in the business as an “Esco,” an independent producer authorized to supply gas using National Grid’s infrastructure when the gas industry was deregulated in the 1990s.

Customers of Escos receive one bill from National Grid, which is broken down into two sections — one for the gas used and one for the cost of delivering the gas. JJT’s customers pay both companies with one bill.

“We buy gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange,” said Mr. Tillman. “Our thing is to sell gas at the lowest possible rate.”

Mr. Tillman said natural gas is a relatively easy sell, but hooking up new customers has proven infuriating. He said it’s further complicated by the fact that there is no publicly available map of gas distribution lines because of the threat they could be tampered with by vandals or terrorists.

Even fire department members, he said, have to call National Grid when responding to a scene to ask whether there are gas lines in the area.

Neighbors, of course, know anecdotally whether their neighbors have access to gas.

Barbara Meyran, who lives on Saltaire Way in Mattituck, knows there is gas available on nearby Mill Road. She’s currently circulating a petition among her neighbors to bring gas lines to their neighborhood.

“Ten people have called National Grid and nobody calls them back,” she said. “We’ve been trying for months and months.”

Mr. Tillman said many greenhouse operators are also interested in hooking up, in part because greenhouses currently using oil heat are at a huge competitive disadvantage against those with gas heat.

“Greenhouses are huge users of energy,” said Mr. Tillman. “It’s not fair for growers using oil to be competing with growers who use natural gas.”

He said it usually costs about $100 per foot to bring a gas line to a customer.

“That’s nice if a main is in front of the house, but in many cases it’s a half-mile to a main,” he said. “Therefore, it’s cost prohibitive. Just as in cable and water, gas should be available to those that want it.”

For his part, Mr. Russell said he has never received a map of the gas lines, which he requested from National Grid a year ago. He said at one point he was told the company was interested in expanding access, but had questions about how to charge new customers for the lines.

“National Grid would find a very receptive community” here, the supervisor said. “It’s a question of getting their attention.”

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Featured Story
05/07/17 6:02am
05/07/2017 6:02 AM

A portion of a controversial fence bordering the Old Town Arts & Crafts Guild property in Cutchogue has been removed.

The fence was installed in November by the owners of an adjacent retail center and has since been a focus of concern among guild members and officials. READ

03/06/13 10:00am
03/06/2013 10:00 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO  |  The scene in Cutchogue Saturday morning.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The scene in Cutchogue after last month’s blizzard.

As another winter storm bears down on the North Fork, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for eastern Suffolk County, saying the storm could bring as much as 10 inches to the area over the next two days.

But North Fork town officials said they’ll be prepared to take on this latest nor’easter.

The storm, which is building off the Carolinas, isn’t expected to move over the Northeast like most winter storms, but the sheer size of the nor’easter means the North Fork will see some of its effects, said David Stark, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Station in Upton.

A rain/snow mix will begin Wednesday afternoon, with the precipitation changing to snow as the sun goes down, Mr. Stark said. Snow will generally be light, though there could be “occasional moments of moderate snowfall” through Thursday morning, Mr. Stark said. The storm will dump between 3 to 5 inches on the area overnight, Mr. Stark said.

Temperatures will warm up on Thursday afternoon, possibly leading to a wintery mix, but snow will move back into the area overnight into Friday, adding another couple of inches to the totals by Friday morning, he added.

Depending on the intensity of the storm, the North Fork could see as much as 10 inches over the next 48 hours, Mr. Stark said. However there’s “still a great deal of uncertainty in the forecast,” which could mean the area could see less snowfall than predicted, he added.

A coastal flood warning is in effect for the North and South shore, as the storm could bring minor to moderate coastal flooding in susceptible areas, Mr. Stark said.

High winds are also a concern, with gusts near 50 mph overnight on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

By Saturday, the weather will have improved, Mr. Stark said.

“It looks like it’s going to be a very sunny weekend,” he said. “We just have to get through the next couple of days.”

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the town has already made preparations to clear away any snow from this storm.

“We’re ready,” he said. “[Highway superintendent] George [Woodson] has the equipment ready, the plows, the salt, we’re just waiting for it to snow,”

The town board’s work session may be cancelled due to the storm, he added.

In Southold, Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the town is taking a “wait and see” approach, but are ready in case the storm does bring its worst.

“We’ve been monitoring the storm,” he said. “If it does turn into snow, [Highway superintendent] Pete [Harris] has got the guys ready to go.”

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02/14/13 2:29pm
02/14/2013 2:29 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | A Cutchogue resident takes the old school approach to digging out from the weekend blizzard.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell put out a call Thursday for shopkeepers and residents with sidewalks running past their properties to take steps to keep the walkways free of ice and snow.

“Please be courteous to your fellow neighbors and friends,” the supervisor said in a release. “Sidewalks must be cleared for the general public’s safety.”

He added that snow should not be shoveled into the roadway.

About 14 inches of snow fell across Southold during the weekend blizzard. At times it mixed with rain and freezing rain making the accumulations particuarly wet, heavy and difficult to move.

Featured Story
03/03/17 12:33pm
03/03/2017 12:33 PM

Scott Russell

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said Thursday he will propose legislation this year to encourage affordable housing development by allowing apartments in commercial properties.

During his annual “State of the Town” at Town Hall, Mr. Russell said he’s proposing to change town code to allow apartments as a primary use in commercial zones. Currently, apartments are only allowed as accessory uses above stores.

READA

Featured Story
02/13/17 6:00am
02/13/2017 6:00 AM

A state Supreme Court Justice has dismissed a Greenport woman’s lawsuit seeking to overturn a 2016 Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals ruling related to the short-term rental law. The court rejected her claim that renting her home for fewer than 14 days should be permitted as a grandfathered use. READ

Featured Story
02/02/17 5:59am
02/02/2017 5:59 AM

T

The topic of zoning alone rarely draws much a crowd to a meeting. But when a specific development application is up for discussion, said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell, “we get 200 people out.” READ

12/10/14 8:00am
12/10/2014 8:00 AM
One of three kiosks that have popped up recently. This one in Southold. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

A kiosk in Southold that will serve as a tourist guide won’t stay in its current location much longer. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Two three-sided structures have popped up around town in recent weeks and have many residents scratching their heads.

Standing seven feet tall, the black structures were installed across the street from the IGA in Southold, at the intersection of Main Road and Youngs Avenue, and in Mattituck, near Love Lane and Pike Street.  (more…)

11/16/12 11:02am
11/16/2012 11:02 AM

Southold’s 18-year-old garbage plan is staying exactly as it has been since its inception.

The town will not alter its state-approved waste management program which includes the yellow bag requirement for two basic reasons, said Supervisor Scott Russell. The first is it has increased the town’s recycling rate, the supervisor said. The second is the state Department of Environmental Conservation is unlikely to sanction a change.

Mr. Russell’s comments came during a brief public informational session on Southold’s waste disposal system at Town Hall Thursday night.

The meeting took place a week before the end of a 120-day grace period during which carters were exempt from the requirement that customers who leave their trash out for pickup must first place it in town yellow bags.

According to the town, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, all carters must again follow the yellow bag rule.

The town agreed to the grace period to give it time to reconsider the yellow bag law in light of its litigation against the Southampton-based Go Green Sanitation company, which does not require it customers to use the yellow bags.

A number of Go Green customers have said the company also does not keep recyclable materials such as bottles and cans separate from the trash it collects.

Go Green owner Frank Fisher, who was in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

Only a handful of carters and residents showed up for the meeting, which included a brief Powerpoint presentation by Supervisor Scott Russell, who explained that the town’s bag law has been effective in ensuring that residents recycle their garbage.

Mr. Russell added that, in light of the program’s effectiveness, the state DEC would be unlikely to approve any alternative plan.

Anthony DiVello of Mattituck Sanitation asked the board if the town will enforce the rule, since his company has lost business to Go Green Sanitation.

“We comply with all the rules. We don’t like them either, but we comply,” he said. “We’ve lost a lot of business because of it… How long can this go on before we decide to do the very same thing?”

“Every carter who picks up garbage curbside will have to live by the law as it is drafted,” said Mr. Russell.