Smithtown board votes to pursue NYS energy grants

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Smithtown Town Board members have approved applications for several state grants to fund charging stations for electric vehicles, market renewable energy sources and hire a consultant to assist with a business owner's plan for an indoor recycling facility.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grants, all due June 16, require matching contributions from the town if they are awarded. The board voted unanimously, 5-0, last week on the three grants.

Frank DeRubeis, town planning director, said the Town of North Hempstead is making an application totaling $625,000 on behalf of all Long Island towns to create an east-west corridor of electric vehicle charging stations. If approved, Smithtown would contribute $30,000, he said.

DeRubeis said the first location for the stations should be in the Hauppauge Industrial Park, as part of the town's ongoing efforts to improve it.

But Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio questioned why the park didn't apply for the grant, since it would be the key beneficiary.

Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick suggested that the Hauppauge Industrial Association may be willing to split the costs with the town.

Allyson Murray, a town planner, said officials expect four to five charging stations in each township, adding, "the whole purpose of it is to allow people to travel from one end of the island to the other with these types of vehicles."

To continue its efforts with the Long Island Green Homes Consortium, town officials also authorized a contribution of up to $30,000 per year for three years to be included in the consortium's $6 million grant to bring solar, geothermal and wind power to homes. If approved, the grant would provide the town with $100,000 worth of services each of the three years to hire contractors to assist residents.

"People themselves are interested, but they don't know if it's really going to work," DeRubeis said. "We're trying to answer that particular question for them."

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The town also plans to apply for a grant of up to $187,500 to hire a consultant to help lay the groundwork for an indoor organic waste recycling facility proposed by Toby Carlson, who owns 64 acres in Kings Park and operates Power Crush, an outdoor recycling company.

The consultant would be hired to draft an amendment to the town ordinance to permit indoor composting, among other work. The town agreed to match 25 percent of the grant up to $62,500.

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