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Water Authority Wind turbine proposed for Laurel Lake Preserve

The Suffolk County Water Authority is interested in installing a wind turbine on Laurel Lake Preserve, according to Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell.

At a work session Tuesday morning, Supervisor Russell mentioned that a Suffolk County Water Authority representative proposed the installation of a windmill the same size as the one recently installed at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic – the largest so far in Southold Town. The wind turbine would help power water pumps located in the preserve area and would offset energy costs for the company.

Russell asked the board members if they were interested in tweaking the town’s wind energy code, which currently allows for the installation of turbines only on active farmland. He said he was also concerned about disturbing the natural state of Laurel Lake Preserve.

“With all the franchise and commercial activity that already goes on through that corridor, we really need to balance out the need for wind power and preservation of that view shed that Mattituck deserves,” he said.

As a neighbor to Pindar’s turbine, Councilman Al Krupski said that the winery’s windmill is a “great-looking machine” that runs constantly and does not make any noise.

“And from the viewshed point —people pull over to take pictures of it during sunset,” he said. “Everyone is looking at it. And these things have to be that high to catch the wind, I think that’s been demonstrated well out here.”

Councilman William Ruland said that though the intention of the water company’s windmill would be to offset power costs, he doubted if those savings would trickle down to the taxpayer. Councilman Chris Talbot said he wanted to wait until after the last meeting of an East End wind symposium, a group that is analyzing the wind power needs of the whole of the East End, but Russell said he wanted to address amending the code sooner than later.

“I want to get more specific recommendations from both the Planning Board and Land Preservation,” he said. “We have to amend the code with technology.”