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Village Board approves lease to Hawkeye Greenport Energy

07/04/2019 6:01 AM |

Despite opposition from several residents, the Greenport Village Board voted unanimously last Thursday to grant Hawkeye Greenport Energy an option to lease an additional 1.75 acres of land adjacent to the land it already leases from the village near parkland at Moore’s Lane.

The additional lease would cost $500 more per month for a term of 36 months.

Hawkeye currently runs an electric plant on village-owned land that was built in 2003.

Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said that the village and the Greenport School District receive about $750,000 in revenue combined through the plant.

The rent is based on capacity, in megawatts, of the electric units on the site, according to the agreement.

Hawkeye also will be required to demolish an old storage building on the 1.7 acre site, and to pay the village an additional $80,000.

A group of 13 residents called the Friends of Moore’s Woods, which was formed last year, urged the board not to approve the option to lease at last Thursday’s board meeting, until it can hold public hearings.

“When considering this type of action, the mayor and the Village Board have a duty responsibility to provide their constituents with complete and accurate information,” the group said in a letter to the board.

Randy Wade, a member of the Friends of Moore’s Woods, said that in November 2002, “the village was hurting financially.”

“The board back then approved a power plant, and in only six months, she said, it was in operation.

“In what should not be a precedent, there was no public hearing,” Ms. Wade said last Thursday.

“A public hearing is not required on this,” Mr. Hubbard said. “It’s been in the works for 16 months and its been talked about at our regular meetings all along. It hasn’t been a secret.”

Mr. Hubbard said that once the agreement to extend the lease is reached, Hawkeye would then have to submit a project, and then it would have to go though the environmental review process, at which time the public will have a chance to weigh in.

Whether the final decision is made by the village or another agency depend on who has “lead agency” status.

Ms. Wade said LIPA had lead agency status in the original approvals for Hawkeye.

“Someone other than the village has to say no,” she said.

David Corwin, who attends most village board meetings, said he disagrees with the mayor that the project was thoroughly discussed at board meetings.

A search of Village Board meeting minutes since 2018 shows Hawkeye was mentioned at five meetings, and discussed in detail at two of them.

Bill Swiskey, a former trustee, said Hawkeye pays a significant amount of taxes to the school district, and he recommended the board approved the lease option.

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