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Apr 27, 2018 3:52 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Eastport Utility Poles

Poles lining County Road 51 in Eastport. FILE PHOTO
May 2, 2018 10:44 AM

A State Supreme Court justice last week dismissed a lawsuit challenging the installation of nearly 200 steel utility poles stretching from Riverside to Eastport last year by the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island.

Brookhaven Town officials, who sued LIPA and PSEG in July 2017, said on Wednesday that they will appeal the decision.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine is calling for the utility to honor its promise to the community to bury the wires underground. Originally the lawsuit called for the removal of the 211 metal poles, which range in height from 70 feet tall to 110 feet tall. The town is arguing that the utility failed to properly notify and include the town and its residents in its siting process and that the court never addressed the public nussiance aspect of it. The town is alsochallenging a determination by LIPA—the lead agency for the project—that the installation of the new utility poles along both County Road 51 and Eastport Manor Road between Riverside and Eastport would not have a “significant adverse impact on the environment.”

"We just ask them to live up to their word," Mr. Romaine said this week.

In August 2017, Southampton Town officials joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff, arguing that PSEG also failed to alert them about the work that started early in the spring.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Santorelli on Tuesday, April 24, deemed both towns’ arguments moot, however, explaining that the utility pole replacements and the installation of the existing 69-kilovolt overhead transmission circuit was not done in bad faith and could not be undone without “undue hardship.”

Justice Santorelli noted that the pole upgrades, which replaced 195 wood poles along the route, and new transmission lines were substantially completed on June 9, 2017, 42 days before Brookhaven Town filed its petition on July 21, 2017.

In an email response this week, PSEG spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said that the company was pleased with the court’s decision.

“Infrastructure projects, like this one, enable PSEG Long Island to continue to live up to our commitment of providing our customers with safe, reliable and resilient electric service,” she said.

“We don’t think it’s moot,” Mr. Romaine argued last week. “If this decision stands, it will set a bad precedent for PSEG to put up these poles without regard to the community or the environment.”

Jim Gleason, vice president and director of the East Moriches Property Owners Association, said he was in favor of appealing the decision.

“Every time I go up the road, I see those things,” the East Moriches resident said on Thursday, April 26, two days after the ruling. “They’re unsightly in a historic district. And these poles don’t look historic to me—not in any sense.”

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Wonder who paid who off...
By hojo (10), Speonk on Apr 27, 18 5:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
why would they sue? These were put up to help long island survive a hurricane.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 28, 18 10:42 AM
Run for your lives Godzilla is coming!
By Hugh G. Annoyed (1), Hicksville on Aug 14, 18 7:45 PM