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Sep 30, 2009 11:54 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Residents outraged over proposed windmill plan

Sep 30, 2009 11:54 AM

A man’s proposal to build a backyard windmill in Shinnecock Hills is blowing up against resistance from neighbors.

Dom Seddio, a co-owner of Wind Source Energy of Flanders, is proposing a 32-foot-tall, vertical-axis windmill to supplement the solar panels at his waterfront home on Bayberry Cove Lane. The windmill, Mr. Seddio said, would enable the home to be powered almost entirely by renewable energy.

“It’s, in my opinion, the environmentally correct thing to do,” said Mr. Seddio, who lives at the house about 10 months out of the year with his wife, Marianne. “Whatever we can do to get ourselves off fossil fuels we should do it.”

But neighbors concerned about environmental and quality of life impacts hope to shoot down Mr. Seddio’s plan.

Mr. Seddio’s 2.2-acre, beachfront property is separated from most other homes in the community by a 125-foot-wide pond. But neighbor Anne Marie Schiller of Bay Berry Cove Lane said the windmill will be visible from across the pond and to people walking along the beach in front of Mr. Seddio’s home.

“All this stuff for a 32-foot structure for someone that is a multimillionaire?” Ms. Schiller said. “It’s crazy. It’s not necessary.”

Dorothy Nigro of Far Pond Road voiced concern that the windmill will scare local birds from the area. “We look out everyday and see herrings and egrets,” Ms. Nigro said. “Those are going to be in danger.”

Charles Schwartz, an environmental engineer and director of LI Green said the windmill will be noisy, dangerous and a disturbance to the wetlands area. Mr. Schwartz, who has drummed up opposition to the windmill in the community, said more than 100 residents signed a petition opposing the project.

Mr. Schwartz said his opposition to the windmill is not in conflict with LI Green’s stated mission to promote green energy because the windmill would be a detriment to the local wetlands environment. According to the group’s website, LI Green’s mission is to “reduce the release of greenhouse gases and other pollution” by promoting renewable energy.

“No one is saying wind turbines are a bad idea,” Mr. Schwartz said. “We’re just saying you wouldn’t put the wrong thing in the wrong place.”

Mr. Seddio said it was “astounding” and “ironic” that Mr. Schwartz is fighting the windmill project.

“That, to me, is absolutely astounding. I find it ironic,” Mr. Seddio said. “We have the room. We have the wind. It’s not going to disturb anybody, and yet the environmentalist Mr. Schwartz finds fault with it.”

Mr. Seddio said he hopes to build the windmill on his property despite resistance from neighbors because he believes the windmill is not intrusive.

“You see telephone poles, you see all kinds of different things, and once it’s there you don’t notice it anymore,” Mr. Seddio said. “I think that’s the case with this.”

Plans for the windmill were initially approved by Southampton Town’s land management department on June 3, but promptly rescinded on June 26 after neighbors logged complaints with the town.

The application is being considered by the Southampton Conservation Board, which has the power to reject the project if it finds the windmill is a detriment to the wetlands area.

A public hearing is scheduled for Mr. Seddio’s application on October 28.

The application could either be rejected or approved depending on where the windmill is located on Mr. Seddio’s property. Locations proposed are to the south along the beach and to the north beside Mr. Seddio’s driveway.

Conservation Board Chairman Harry Ludlow said the board hopes to reach an agreement on the proposal that makes both Mr. Seddio and his neighbors happy.

“We have to look at the impacts and see if they can be mitigated,” Mr. Ludlow said. “If they can be mitigated, then we are good to go.”

At a Conservation Board meeting on September 23, Chief Environmental Analyst Marty Shea said he prefers placing the windmill to the north rather than the south. Installing the windmill beside the beach could affect birds such as terns and pipping plovers that nest there, he said.

“The installation of a tower at [the south] location could result in the loss of nesting habitat,” Mr. Shea said. “The movement associated with the turning of the blades could affect their feeding habits and distract the adults from caring for the chicks.”

Installing the windmill at either location would not disturb wetlands fauna, he said.

“With both of these locations it is not apparent at this time that the work would result in a significant clearing of natural vegetation,” Mr. Shea said.

Still, Mr. Shea recommended the windmill be placed on the north side of Mr. Seddio’s property, away from the beach, to lessen its impact on the wetlands.

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Something I heard along time ago--"An environmentalist in the hamptons is someone who bulldozes a three acre plot of woodland to build their dream house, and then fights tooth and nail with their neighbors for wanting to do the same thing, claiming that it is bad for the trees."
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 28, 09 6:33 PM
What has me nervous is that apparently that there is so many questions about these Urban Wind things. Apparently the real problem is that the Southampton Zoning Code, which was written many years ago, never anticipated technologies like it. From what I am told this wind device is treated with the same scrutiny as a shed (it is classified as an auxiliary structure). Obviously it is completely different.

I support renewable energy. It is an important part of solving our climate change ...more
By Objective Person (1), Southampton on Oct 2, 09 7:17 AM
This story is missing critical facts regarding LI Green's opposition.

First, Charles Schwartz (head of LI Green) lives directly next to Mr. Seddio's home (where the windmill is planned). So It's not really LI Green that opposes the windmill, it's Charles Schwartz pulling a NIMBY (not in my backyard).

Second, this is exactly the kind of project LI Green should support. The article says LI Green's mission is to "reduce the release of greenhouse gases and other pollution" - this ...more
By CoweeDewey (110), East Quogue on Sep 28, 09 7:29 PM
2 members liked this comment
Classic NIMBY case.

LOL @ rich hypocrites.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 28, 09 7:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
The critic who has organized opposition to the windmill in apparent contradiction to his organization's mission is a contiguous neighbor to Mr. Seddio? That is very illuminating. I wonder how the reporter missed it.

If it is true that the windmill is noisy and disturbs wildlife, I wouldn't want it near me either. Perhaps Mr. Siddio could mitigate the windmill's impact by locating it in front of his house, thereby creating a buffer.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 28, 09 9:23 PM
And you know this because you've personally surveyed the area?
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 3:03 PM
How does he know placing this windmill in your front yard would be any less offensive? Is he your neighbor? Does he live with you? Has he surveyed the property? Yeah, it is clear you are the home owner - who else would fight so vehemently on behalf of this pseudo-green pinwheel. The most astonishing level of ignorance I could aspire to would be the bar placed by you. I have seen your postings, INS, and the nonsense that spews from you is matched only by your anger and fear.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 8:30 PM
There's something V-E-R-Y wrong here when a group of neighbors are out to drive a stake in the heart of this guy's ecologically and environmentally sound alternative energy plan for the flimsiest of reasons!

A neighbor is worried about upsetting some birds?!?

I think Dom Seddio's strategy should be to offer any surplus energy he realizes from his windmill project to the neighbors at below-LIPA rates. (Otherwise, by law, LIPA would have to purchase it from Seddio!) That way his ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 29, 09 12:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yeah, screw the birds! After all, that windmill will probably generate enough energy to power three lightbulbs! Besides, who needs birds!
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 3:05 PM
The more windmills the better. And I don't mean the wooden ones that tourists take pictures of. Put them up!!!
By Undertow (64), Southampton on Sep 29, 09 9:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
would a windmill make any more noise than say,a pool generator?leaf blower,weed whacker? do these things not affect the nesting habitat??
By montauk resident (41), montauk on Sep 29, 09 9:32 AM
2 members liked this comment
Unfortunately you folks really don't know what you are talking about. The cute little windmill that is being described here is actually an Industrial Urban Wind Turbine. It is designed for installation in cities and along roadways. It is 32 feet high which is the height of the monstrous 9000 square foot house that Mr. Seddio owns. But there is more. The portion of the Urban Wind Turbine that spins around at 300 rpm is 14 feet high and 9 feet wide which is the size of a van. So please let's ...more
By greengal (1), Southampton on Oct 1, 09 6:29 AM
I know Chuck Schwartz and the representations being made here are all wrong. Chuck has been working on green energy for decades. He is an engineer with multiple degrees. Three month ago the Sierra Club gave him a major award for for eco-entrepreneurship. If he says there are problems with these Urban Wind Turbines then there must be more to it than just that is is near his house.

What is being said about LI Green, the not for profit that he works for is also totally wrong. Do you ...more
By tuckahoeparentandproudofit (7), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 1, 09 7:23 AM
Mr. INS but I don't know what your problem is but you seem to be full of incorrect information. The major reason for the lack of water flow into this pond is that prior to and during the reconstruction of the bridge to Rosko's Island silt filled in. By the way this was an island until hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of dredge spoils were dumped on it to the benefit of the land owners - I remember when it was like that - we could take our boat directly out into Shinnecock bay from Honey Pot ...more
By tuckahoeparentandproudofit (7), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 2, 09 6:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
I can remember taking motor boat rides out of the south side of Honey Pond Pond at high tide. Sorry if that isn't good enough for you.
By tuckahoeparentandproudofit (7), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 3, 09 12:37 PM
Oh yeah. And sorry if I got the square foot size of the Seddio's house wrong. It's a monstrously large 6900 square foot house instead of a gargantuan 9000 square foot house that two people live in part time. Just about every other house in this area is 1/3 the size or smaller except for those on the island. My house is 1/7th the size of his. And Mr. INS. what does this have to do with you anyway? Do you have something to do with the people that live on the island or are trying to install this ...more
By tuckahoeparentandproudofit (7), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 3, 09 12:41 PM
Excuse me but what about the picture of me water skiing behind our boat going out the south side of the pond. You don't know what you are talking about. Come talk with people that live here. The south side of Honey Pot was open much of the day until they filled it in with dredge spoils.
By tuckahoeparentandproudofit (7), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 3, 09 2:04 PM
And the size of the house is very relevant. Seddio is being put out there like this Green God. His carbon footprint is like 5 times everyone else's. Putting up this wind thingy isn't going to change that.
By tuckahoeparentandproudofit (7), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 3, 09 2:09 PM
"You can go review Map # 213 of the Westerly Portion of Shinnecock Hills filed with the county in 1925. Go see Larry Davidson he is in charge of the map dept.(Riverhead)"

Yeah, you're not the homeowner. Hah!
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 8:32 PM
Excellent point!
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 8:33 PM
You're not fooling anyone.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 6, 09 8:14 AM
Chuck Schwartz is one of those homeowners, right?
By CoweeDewey (110), East Quogue on Jan 8, 10 8:38 AM
Sorry to burst your bubble but as a person that works on solar and wind energy projects all over the Northeast I am here to tell you that vertical axis wind turbines such as the one being proposed for this location in Shinnecock Hills do not work. The unit is rated at 4 KW. The reality is that it will actually deliver much less power, probably less than a quarter of what they say it is going to if its lucky. Why? Physics. It's just the way it is - the technology just doesn't really work, the ...more
By greenenergyexpert (3), Eastport on Oct 1, 09 8:01 AM
No that is not the case. My territory is considerably west of the canal.

Your comments point to a lack of understanding. There is tremendous data pointing to the fact that this wind device, particularly in a marginal site such as the one being proposed by Shinnecock Bay, will not achieve even close to its rated output. There are real scientific basis behind this statement. And there is data pointing to the fact that properly installed, properly sited wind devices are highly effective.
By greenenergyexpert (3), Eastport on Oct 2, 09 6:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
You must be the home owner with the windmill so why not identify yourself as such.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 3:08 PM
Then you are his lawyer or his alter-ego.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 8:35 PM
By the way the opposition to this Urban Wind Turbine along our shorelines is not from just a couple of rich people living on their exclusive homes saying no no no (actually with the exception of the mega mansion houses like Mr. Seddio's on Roscoe's Island the rest of the people here live in modest homes and are either working families or senior). Hundreds of residents in Shinnecock Hills and throughout Southampton Town have already expressed their disagreement with this proposal.
By tuckahoeparentandproudofit (7), Shinnecock Hills on Oct 1, 09 8:40 AM
Unfortunately, this is precisely why wind energy will never succeed as a power source along the Eastern Seaboard. A proposal for a commercial facility off the coast of Cape Cod failed to obtain approvals for the same reasons as this proposal will never be built - plain and simple NIMBYism. The shoreline along Middle Pond has already been altered (some might say ruined) by the thousands of feet of bulkhead and docks and dozens upon dozens of homes complete with cesspools for septic disposal. I commend ...more
By Native Westhamptonite (14), Westhampton on Oct 1, 09 4:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
I wonder how many of the residents up in arms over this chastise people for buying an SUV or some other gas guzzler. How many of them, do you think, slam big companies over harmful factory emissions. Which of them, if any, have done more than Mr. Sedido in trying to make THEIR properties less harmful to the earth? They are a bunch of two-faced whiners, who only support energy efficiency when it is convenient for them. "Energy efficiency is a grand idea, but don't let me be burdened with it."
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Oct 2, 09 8:23 PM
Please let's spare the comments about Mr. Seddio caring about being less harmful to the environment. Has anyone seen his house on Rosko's Island? If he were such a proponent of saving the earth, and not thinking of his business as a money making proposition, why choose a spot where birds nest and the pond is dying because of the development of said island?

On another note would you buy a windmill from a man who says a 32' German wind turbine is the same thing as a telephone pole? ...more
By PJ (1), Southampton on Oct 3, 09 11:43 AM
Yes, it is clear you are all about making money.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 8:36 PM
So very typical that you would start yammering about "communism". Look at your calendar, it is 2009.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 6, 09 8:17 AM
Thank you, Joe McCarthy.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 6, 09 5:06 PM
WHile it sounds great on paper, there is definatley an astethic issue with this. We live by pristine beaches, waterways and fields. Looking at a large tower or windmill would spoil that. Zoning will have to be amended taking the view and noise element into consideration in certain areas of the town. For now a variance application is sufficient. The east end is ripe for alternative energy, but not everywhere is good for community reasons. The owner should just spend more money on solar panels and ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Oct 6, 09 6:41 AM
Why don't you to meet for coffee and discuss this offline. The back and forth is getting ridiculous.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Oct 6, 09 5:15 PM
Would the neighbors prefer that he burn coal, oil or peat? Don't think the birds or the neighbors want that. . . .
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Oct 6, 09 8:47 PM
THE real ISSUE here, is the health of OUR PLANET.. The sub sonic transmission of varying frequencies emitted by high velocity Wind Catchers(wind mills) and the introduction of electro-magnetic fields, all of which cause reproductive damage in mammals, reptiles, fish, game and vegetation.. Windmills/ Wind farms should be banned throughout the planet because of the damage to the ecology. Just as dogs hear frequencies, that humans don't; windmills transmit high and low frequencies, some audible, ...more
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Oct 6, 09 9:39 PM
The comments I read above are very interesting. So many people responding on what to me seems as a class war of wealth. Why should someone care about about the wealth of his neighbors? Is this an action of who has more and if they do, should they be allowed to spend it?
I think all should think about what is the motive for their responces to this matter.
Money is a tool. As with anthing else, the more tools we have the more things we can do. Do some of us have more tools than others? Yes. ...more
By bluto (6), riverhead on Oct 7, 09 8:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Some of you have made comments on how much energy will be produced by this wind turbine, the answer is about 14,000 kwh per year. This is many times the three light bulbs suggested. This is enough power to bring Mr. Seddio's electric bill to +/- zero when coupled with his PV system ( a kwh is equal to one 100 watt bulb burning for one hour).
The suggestion of the mega millionarie
Again this is dumb. Any body who lives in this area can be counted as a millonarie since the value of most homes ...more
By bluto (6), riverhead on Oct 7, 09 9:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
you are incorrect on this. But I like your views
By bluto (6), riverhead on Oct 18, 09 9:05 PM
I would like to comment on the electromagnetic fields.
Who has not heard the comments about electric power line and their electromagnetic fields? Does the prospect of a wind turbine generating 4 kw not seem many times less than the 3 to 20,000 volts of the overhead lines?
Last I would like to comment on the term of Seddio's thugs.
I worked there for 11 years. NOT once did anyone treat any of the neighbors with disrespect. If they did, it was never brought to my attention for if it ...more
By bluto (6), riverhead on Oct 7, 09 9:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just a few more words about the spoiling of the pond. Seddio's property is developed to a density of about .066. When compared to those around (except on the eastern side of the bridge) they seem to be about .18. Three times more.
Many people are complaining about how the bridge has effected the water flow to the pond. Who designed the first one? Who complained than? Why when the new one was built did the parties expand the width to 25 feet from its original 20 feet?
What ever happened ...more
By bluto (6), riverhead on Oct 18, 09 8:48 PM
Just a few more words about the spoiling of the pond. Seddio's property is developed to a density of about .066. When compared to those around (except on the eastern side of the bridge) they seem to be about .18. Three times more.
Many people are complaining about how the bridge has effected the water flow to the pond. Who designed the first one? Who complained than? Why when the new one was built did the parties expand the width to 25 feet from its original 20 feet?
What ever happened ...more
By bluto (6), riverhead on Oct 18, 09 9:06 PM