Monday, April 14, 2008

Suffolk County Water Authority Is Importing Water

SCWA and Southold Town Board Don’t Want The Public To Know That Suffolk County Water Authority Is Importing Water

I personally resent any implication that we are withholding ANY information about public water supply on the north fork or planning some nefarious scheme to bring water in "to support new residential developments". Stephen M. Jones SCWA CEO (2/7/2008)

Alternative B. Water Importation
The proposed well is an integral part of the ultimate plan of importation of water into Southold. After many years of developing local water supply sources, the SCWA realized that the best way of providing contaminant free water into Southold is to supply it from sources outside of the town that are known for their excellent water quality. The Sound Ave well field is one such place. As previously mentioned, this well field is located essentially on the "mainland" of Suffolk County, and so it benefits from the vast resources of the deeper Magothy aquifer as opposed to the all of the other wells in the Southold Low which draw from the shallow upper Glacial aquifer.
In the matter of the Application of SUFFOLK COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY for NYS DEC Approval of the Operation of Well NO.4 at the Sound Avenue Well Field

Save Cutchogue does not have convenient access to the precise figures, on information and belief in 2006 of the 946,000,000 gallons of public water used in Southold Town, 4% (37,840,000 gallons) of that water was piped in from out of Town. Save Cutchogue estimates that in 2007 5-10% of public water used in Southold Town was imported from out of Town. It is not known if the percentage of water imported will continue to increase.

A regional pipeline system to carry uncontaminated ground water from eastern Riverhead is not recommended because of economic, institutional and social concerns.
Comprehensive Water Resources Plan Suffolk County (1/87) pg 12

The town must remain reliant on its own groundwater resources. The committee does not advocate the construction of a regional pipeline from areas outside the town. The establishment of a regional pipeline would not only increase the rate of development of open space and farmland, but also encourage greater densities than desired, causing the loss of the rural nature of the town The financial costs associated with such a system would be unnecessarily burdensome to town residents.
Town of Southold Water Advisory Committee; Report to Southold Town Board; Aug. 29, 1983

Water is one resource we can't do without and can't very well import. We all need to consider the effect of paving over more and more of the surface with roads, parking lots and roofs and preventing the rain from soaking into the ground. ... We need to consider the water budget of Long Island -- it is as mathematical as your own money budget. ... The only income is the rain that falls; ... Out of this income is deducted the immediate run off, influenced by the area that we seal off with roads and roofs and by the vegetation. Then there is the percentage which evaporates from the surface and that transpired by plants. The rest either remains in the soil or percolates down into the reservoir or aquifer. Once there, it moves toward the nearest shoreline and much flows out into the salt water. This amount, which might be called "wasted", except that it is necessary to many marine organisms, is our renewable water resource. If we use more than this, the water level will be lowered, eventually to a point where salt water will flow in. Most of that which we "use" ends up either in cesspools or municipal sewer systems. The cesspools drain back into the aquifer, the sewers into the salt water. Both are wrong since the former pollutes our only source of water, the latter depletes it. The ultimate solution, since it is unlikely that our water demand will decrease, is to treat all effluents to a point where they may be safely re-introduced to the aquifer. Even if this is done, there is a limited amount which could rationally be withdrawn, so we must abolish the idea that Long Island can take unlimited expansion in the name of "progress". Our thinking must progress to the point where we cen accept the limitations set by our environment.
The Long Story of Long Island by H.J. Evans, Jr. (1971)

Availability of Public Water Drives Development

Contrary to assertions of Supervisor Russell Availability of Public Water Drives Development

"Okay. We, at the end of the day, control all of the zoning of Southold Town. The Suffolk County Water Authority does not control zoning. We do. So the presence of drinkable or potable water in this town doesn’t mean a pell mell rush to develop. The zoning is our job. Not the water authority’s job."
Supervisor Russell at the Town Board Meeting on Feb 26, 2008

"Public water opens up the potential to build on previously non-buildable lots, so the concern that development accompanies the advent of public water is there, and rightly so."
Herman Miller, SCWA deputy CEO for operations (2004)

As regards the implementation of our consultants’ advice in the matter of potable water the Planning Board has followed the guidelines of the Pirnie report and envisions our water resource as a fixed or absolute limit within which all planning and growth projections must be fitted. This was the reason for 40,000 square foot zoning and for our limits on population density.
Development Plan of the Town of Southold (1978) pg 68

There is a Limited Supply of Fresh Water on the North Fork

Contrary to Councilman Wickham's Assertion There is a Limited Supply of Fresh Water on the North Fork

"There was a lengthy process of developing a water mains map and I don’t want to try to go into all of that tonight, all I can say is there is adequate water in volume terms to supply and to support, according to the water authority and their data, to support this and all the other foreseen developments that will require water in the near future."
Councilman Wickham at the Town Board Meeting on Feb 26, 2008

For most of Long Island, obtaining enough water is generally not an issue (having adequate quality of the available water may be a problem). However, on the North and South Forks, and for the islands of the Peconic Estuary (specifically, Shelter Island), because the deeper aquifers are saline, having sufficient quantities of water can be problematic.
Valerie Scopaz, Southold Town planner

Ground-water withdrawals from the Lloyd aquifer in Kings and Queens Counties have lowered water levels in those two counties and in much of Nassau County. A large cone of depression dominates the potentiometric surface of the Lloyd aquifer in the western part of Long Island; water levels are more than 20 feet below sea level in Brooklyn, Queens and western southern Nassau County.
U.S. Geological Survey

"Existing developed areas and expected infilling in coastal areas, where public water distribution is necessary [because of saltwater intrusion problems in wells], will consume available water supply."
Southold Town Water Supply Management and Protection Strategy by Chick Voorhis, Nelson, Pope & Voorhis Environmental Consultant

"Now it is ironic because I could see this, people talking about water quality and population and density growth. I am looking at a list of people who have probably, I have got one person here who has got four illegal apartments in their house. So they are already doing their part of gobbling up all the water. That is the problem."
Supervisor Russell at the Town Board Meeting on Feb 26, 2008

Zoning Should Be Based On Comprehensive Planning

The Heritage at Cutchogue site plan application is based on 25 year old spot zoning. The downzoning was done based on blatant lies and without even any show of comprehensive planning. In the past 25 years zoning has developed into new theories and forms. The most recent changes made to Southold Town zoning applicable to the proposed Heritage at Cutchogue are incomplete. Site plan design standards are referenced, but they were never enacted. For over a quarter of a century the Town Board has failed to correct the zoning. There is still time, but time is running out.

Hamlet Density zones are outside of Hamlet Centers and outside Hamlet Halo Zones. Recent planning provides that high density be limited to inside the hamlet halo zones. The Town Board has clear legal authority to enact a moratorium on development in, and conduct a planning review of the Hamlet Density zoning.

Analysis of environmental impacts of development is important as a basis for planning and for application of legal regulations based on planning. But, the Planning Board is bound by the current zoning.

The bottom line is that the proposed Heritage at Cutchogue is a plan for a separate community apart from, rather than apart of, the existing community. It does not fit into traditional existing patterns of development and conflicts with recent planning studies. It is the antithesis of smart growth.

In Appreciation of the Natural Bounty of the North Fork of Long Island

Politicians are very good at taking credit for everything. Unfortunately, the more eager they are to claim credit the less credit is usually due.

The natural bounty of the North Fork is great and subtle, obvious and mysterious. Living in such a special place is both a gift and a responsibility.

The proposed development of a separate new community of 139 condominiums on 46 acres in the heart of Cutchogue hamlet threatens to severly damage the natural environment, cultural character, public health, safety and welfare of the North Fork.

Supervisor Russell and his loyal opposition Councilman Thomas Wickham are both in favor of the current development plan (they both oppose even consideration of rezoning). The fact that these two disagree more than they agree raises the questions why each of them opposes reviewing the current zoning.