The Orangetown Town Council held a public hearing last week to discuss repealing Energy Star as the town's energy efficiency standard for new homes.
This came two weeks after the board tabled a vote on replacing Energy Star with a HERS rating of 70 or better.
Even before public comments, the matter was already settled.
"It's going to go the way it's going to go," Orangetown Councilman Denis Troy said before the public comments Thursday.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the resolution, leaving the town to revert to the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code as its standard for energy efficiency in newly built homes. Supervisor Andy Stewart was the only vote against.
"The New York state energy efficiency code is one of the best on the country," Councilman Paul Valentine said. "It is much better than New Jersey, just a few miles away. I think people have the right to build Energy Star houses, but they also have the right to build whatever they want.
"We have federal guidelines for the insulation of houses. We have state guidelines. I don't see why we need another layer of government."
Stewart said he still believes the town building department's recommendation of switching from Energy Star to the HERS rating of 70 was the best choice.
"Efficiency may cost a little more, but in the long run, you or the people you sell your house to will save money," Stewart said. "I will vote against it because I think that is the right thing to do, but also because I think it will pass."
Stewart acknowledged the importance of settling the matter as soon as possible to help homeowners who have been waiting to see what standard they must adhere to.
Resident Martyn Ryan of Piermont argued against the change.
"We should maintain the standards as they are now," Ryan said. "We should make sure Orangetown is a leader in energy efficiency in New York state and the country."
Larry Vail of Tappan argued that having the higher standard helped raise property values in the town. Diviny argued that making homes more expensive might not be a good thing.
"I don't think we should be increasing the cost of homes," Diviny said. "The cost incurred purchasing homes is already going up."
"What this comes down to is trusting people in town to make their own decisions with their own homes in the town," Councilman Tom Morr said. "People in town are intelligent enough to find the right energy efficiency system for their homes. The majority of people in town are environmentally sensitive and will take that into account."
Among other items the town board dealt with at Thursday's meeting were:
- Continued the debate of the fate of Broadacres Golf Course.
- Approved a sick leave policy for town employees. Check back with Patch for more on this item.
- Approved the painting of a blue line down Central Avenue in Pearl River by the Highway Department at the request of the Light it Up Blue Rockland campaign in recognition of autism awareness. The Light it Up Blue campaign kicks of today.
- Approve quarterly payment to Hi-Tor Animal Care Center as part of $26,520 the town would pay for 2012.
- Set a public hearing for the next regular town board meeting April 26 to discuss a proposed change in a local law regarding floor area ratios.
- Approved $890,000 bond for the purchase of equipment by the Orangetown Highway Department. The department had requested $1,725,000, but only half of that is needed over the next year or so. The town board left it open to approving another bond for the remainder of the money in the future, though splitting the cost into two bonds will cost approximately $10,000 more.
- Appointed John Wintersteiger to the position of Assistant Operator I at a salary of $66,437 in the Department of Environmental Management and Engineering. Wintersteiger was already a DEME employee. He passed the testing required for the higher-grade position.