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Letter: Solar project caught community off-guard

I'm disappointed that Newsday passed judgment on my community and me before even reaching out to us for the facts ["Opponents of solar farm offer thin arguments," Editorial, Sept. 24]. The consternation in Shoreham over the proposed solar project is not the result of NIMBYism; it's the result of being caught off-guard about a major proposal in our downtown one week before the final town approval vote, and three weeks before construction would start on a 60-acre, 50,000-panel, utility-scale solar power installation.

I'm pro solar. When I was a member of the State Assembly, I sponsored many of the laws that enabled the solar industry to become as vibrant as it is today. I welcome an installation like this to Shoreham, though I think putting it into an industrially zoned area would make more sense. The Shoreham nuclear power plant site owned by the Long Island Power Authority has all of the connections to the electric grid.

What concerns me most is the lack of transparency and community input into the plan at the DeLalio sod farm, in the middle of a residential zone. This decision predated my tenure on the LIPA board. We need to examine how a project of this magnitude could have been so far along without the majority of the community being aware of it.

There are ways to improve the proposal at the site, including preserving the rural character on Route 25A by setting this project back from the road a few acres. Additionally, the project should not be anywhere near homes. Preserving views and maintaining rural character are directives established under the Shoreham community's 25A Corridor Study/Comprehensive Plan.

Marc Alessi, Shoreham

Tappan Zee tolls could escalate

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reminds me of the cartoon character Wimpy who famously said, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Neither Cuomo nor the New York State Thruway Authority has made public how they would repay a major federal loan to finance most of the $3.9-billion cost of replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge ["Bridge confusion takes toll," News, Sept. 22].

How much more will motorists have to pay in tolls to pick up the tab? Will it double or more over the coming years and decades? Do we have to wait for an answer until after Election Day?

Larry Penner, Great Neck

School merger would benefit kids

I believe we should vote yes on the Southampton-Tuckahoe school merger on Nov. 18 ["Districts to vote on merger," News, Sept. 24].

We all live in one community together and it should be one school. Many of usshop in the same local stores, work locally, and go to the same social events and kids' birthday parties. Our kids play on the same sporting teams and attend summer camps together. This is about our children and what is best for them.

Tuckahoe's tax rate is much higher than Southampton's, meaning a merger would cause taxes in Tuckahoe to drop and taxes in Southampton to rise. Southampton voters said they feared a sudden tax hike and last year the merger was voted down.

However, $9 million in capital reserves now set aside for a new Southampton administration building would be used instead to maintain the school district's estimated tax rate and avoid a significant increase in property taxes for Southampton. Increases would gradually be phased in over 10 years.

Scott Farina, the Southampton school superintendent, said the merger would result in enhanced learning opportunities and help maintain extracurricular activities. Students could be grouped in developmentally appropriate ways.

Officials also say the merger could save taxpayers in the new district $4 million a year through the elimination of about a half-dozen administrative positions.

Claudia Kosciusko, Southampton

Setting record straight on judge

I am writing to correct a misrepresentation of fact in the news story, "Woodard on ballot" [Sept. 25].

The story attributes to the Nassau Democratic Party's chairman, Jay Jacobs, the statement that State Supreme Court Justice Michele Woodard was not supported for re-election by Nassau Democrats in part because "the GOP would not cross endorse her in any event." That statement is simply not factual.

At no time was Woodard proposed by the Democratic Party for inclusion in the recently concluded cross-endorsement arrangement with the Republican Party. The only name proffered by the Democrats for cross-endorsement was District Court Judge Sharon Gianelli. She, along with Republican judges Anna Anzalone and Angelo Delligatti, will run in November for Supreme Court with the support of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Joseph N. Mondello, Westbury

Editor's note: The writer is the chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee. Woodard will be on the Nov. 4 ballot on the Working Families and Independence party lines.