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Hempstead Town Board considering Oceanside landfill for solar farm

The Oceanside landfill site that the Town of

The Oceanside landfill site that the Town of Hempstead is considering leasing out for use as a solar farm. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A landfill in Oceanside could host a solar farm powering 1,500 homes under a plan being pushed by officials in the Town of Hempstead.

The Town Board on Tuesday votes at its last meeting of the year on awarding a $10,000 contract to Clearview Consultants of Coram to perform a cost-benefit analysis of the plan, under which the town would lease out space at the capped landfill on Long Beach Road for use as a solar farm.

Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said the project, if carried out, would put the vacant site to good environmental use and boost the town treasury.

"The project could potentially help cut greenhouse emissions, while bringing in additional revenue to the town," Gillen said in a statement.

Councilman Anthony D'Esposito, whose district includes Oceanside, proposed hiring the consultant.

"If, in fact, it is determined that this proposal is in the best interest of all impacted, I will demand that the money garnered from the land lease is used to repair Oceanside roadways," he said in a statement. "Oceanside residents are the ones who would have this in their backyards and they should be the ones to benefit.”

The report by Clearview Consultants, which would be completed within a year, would help the town determine how much it could charge solar farm operators for use of the site, town spokesman Mike Fricchione said.

"There's enough space there for it to be one of the biggest [solar farms] on Long Island," said Fricchione, who estimated a solar array at the landfill could produce up to 10 megawatts of energy.

Fricchione said the town earlier this year issued a request for proposals for the project. He said the town would seek community input before ultimately pursuing any solar farm installation.

The town board also is to vote on hiring Stephen Smirti as a $65,000-a-year community research assistant in Gillen's office, and Marcus Povinelli as a $95,000-a-year executive assistant to the town board. 

Gillen, a Democrat, sought to hire Smirti as her press secretary earlier this year, but the move was blocked by the Republican-controlled town board.

The town then hired Smirti as a part-time employee working in constituent affairs and media relations, Fricchione said. If Smirti's new position is approved, he would continue to perform those tasks on a full-time basis, Fricchione said.

Povinelli would work primarily for Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, replacing Alex Vassallo, who will oversee the Office of Resident Concerns, town board spokeswoman Susie Trenkle-Pokalsky said.

Povinelli previously worked for the outgoing Republican majority in the New York State Senate, according to a copy of his resume provided by Trenkle-Pokalsky.

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