Friday, May 22, 2009

Natural Gas Cars for a New York City

By A.J. Carter

The Huntington Town Board moved Tuesday night toward converting some of the town’s garbage collection fleet to compressed natural gas, helping to reduce the town’s reliance on foreign oil and help preserve the environment.

The board approved a resolution authorizing Supervisor Frank P. Petrone to apply for $260,000 in federal stimulus funds administered by the Long Island Clean Cities Coalition to help purchase two new compressed natural gas garbage trucks and to retrofit two existing trucks to run on compressed natural gas. The total cost of the project is $574,000; the application is for the maximum reimbursable amount.

“This step reinforces Huntington’s commitment to go green,” said Petrone, who sponsored the resolution. “This is proof that the town board’s adoption of the United States Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement last month was more than lip service. We look forward to implementing other planet-saving measures in the future.”

“The Town of Huntington is dedicated to clean and renewable energy across the board," said Councilwoman Susan Berland, who co-sponsored the resolution. "We have a great relationship with the Long Island Clean Cities Coalition and we're looking forward to continuing that partnership. I would eventually like to see our entire fleet of trucks run on natural compressed gas."

Councilman Stuart Besen, the other co-sponsor, said, “To convert refuse trucks to natural gas is another mechanism in which the town has taken to lead the charge in our Keep Huntington Green movement.” Besen added, “By retrofitting our refuse vehicles with natural gas, this program encourages and promotes the residents of the Town of Huntington to think and act green.”

The town already has 18 hybrid vehicles and one alternate fuel vehicle, the car assigned to Petrone. The town hopes to have the first of the trucks in service by the end of the year.

In other action, the Board:

-- Authorized the Town Attorney to begin legal action against the owners of the East Northport shopping center that includes Home Depot because the home improvement retailer, despite paying extensive fines, has continued to display and store merchandise outside the building without approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“Due to the consistent and flagrant disregard of Town of Huntington covenants and restrictions that maintain our quality of life, we are seeking an injunction against the Home Depot store of East Northport,” Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said. “Despite yearly fines, summonses and threats of injunction this particular branch has been in perpetual violation of Town Code without any genuine attempt to rectify the situation. As the Town holds all businesses to the same standard regardless of size, we cannot let any one business assume it is above the law.”
-- Approved the use of up to $429,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust fund to help acquire properties at 4/6 and 14 Columbia Street as part of the Take Back the Blocks program. The amount represents half the estimated cost of the properties plus closing and maintenance costs. The remainder is to come from a Suffolk County fund. Once acquired, the properties will be transferred to the Town’s Community Development Agency for demolition and redevelopment. “The Take Back the Block Program allows the Town to essentially make lemonade out of lemons. The Columbia Street homes are a perfect example of that. These blighted properties were bought through grant opportunities, renovated and are now put back on the market as affordable homes for first time homebuyers. Take Back the Block is revitalizing communities across the nation and we are grateful to be able to use funding towards Huntington Station this time around,” Councilwoman Glenda Jackson said.
-- Authorized a formal application for $242,411 in federal Community Development Block Grant stimulus funds.
-- Approved the zoning changes necessary to allow construction of a Lowe’s Home Center at the site of the former Huntington Town House in Huntington Station.

A.J. Carter is the town’s public information officer.

1 comment:

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