A group of Wainscott residents who oppose a wind farm power cable through their neighborhood are raising new alarms about potential fire-code violations as project developers begin a winter work schedule.
But the Town of East Hampton, which has an easement agreement with developer South Fork Wind, denied there were violations, and South Fork said it's in compliance with the code and its agreement.
In a letter to the East Hampton Town board last week, the group, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, accused the South Fork Wind Farm developers of violating terms of an easement with the town that included assurances the project would be compliant with state fire code and approved by the East Hampton Fire Marshal.
In the Oct. 17 letter to the town, the Wainscott residents’ group attorney Lance Gotko charged the work plan by South Fork Wind was not “fully compliant” with the agreement because some roads have been narrowed and walled in a way that could prevent fire trucks and other emergency vehicles from easily traversing or turning around.
South Fork Wind work plans would narrow parts of Beach Lane, a vital pathway for the cable as it lands from the ocean, to just a 10-foot wide access road for vehicles and walkers, while state code calls for a 20-foot clearance. And the road will be “hemmed in” on each side by 8-foot-tall sound walls, the group charged, further restricting emergency vehicle access. The group is also concerned that a dead-end area at the end of Beach Lane, where vehicles can normally turn around, will be taken up by a “huge staging area,” thus hindering turnaround by fire trucks and other vehicles.
“Fire Code violations present serious safety issues,” the group said in its letter. “For example, once a fire truck is in the narrow, 10-foot-wide chute, other emergency vehicles will not be able to go around it.”
And "when a fire truck gets to the end of Beach Lane, there will be nowhere for it to turn around, so it will need to back up the entire length of the chute,” the group’s letter continued. “And if a fire truck arrives on the scene only to find a broken-down vehicle in the chute, the fire truck will be unable to get where it needs to go.”
The group also contends the town Fire Marshal “apparently has not approved” the developer's road plans.
East Hampton, in an Oct. 21 letter to the group's lawyer, said the town's Chief Fire Marshal, David Bowne, has "reviewed and approved the work zone plan." And it noted the agreement provides for 10-foot wide "travel lanes" during the work, "without prior consultation" with the town's highway superintendent and the state Department of Transportation.
South Fork Wind's work "activities on Beach Lane do not involve construction or movement of any facilities or buildings, as defined by the fire code, but merely temporary construction activities related to the installation of [a] power transmission cable and cable connections beneath Beach Lane," town attorney John Jilnicki wrote to the group.
Meaghan Wims, a spokeswoman for South Fork Wind, disputed the group’s claims, saying, “South Fork Wind is in compliance with all its required approvals, including the applicable provisions of the fire code.”
Gotko, who stressed that the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott do not oppose the wind farm, only the cable route through their neighborhood, said the group would consider its legal options if the town didn’t enforce the rules.
“If they [town officials] don’t cause South Fork Wind to comply with the safety requirements they put in place for the safety of citizens of the town and [South Fork Wind] continues to press forward, we’ll examine our options and one of them may be legal action,” Gotko said.
Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.