From our files: This week in Shelter Island history

Fred Thiele Jr. won a Suffolk Country Legislative seat on the Republican ticket in 1987 and, as a result of redistricting, will soon be representing Shelter Islanders in the New York State Assembly’s First District.

Court okays Lear-Ruig horse farm

Following a contentious battle between Pieter Ruig and Ellen Lear and their Ram Island neighbors the Zoning Board of Appeals approved plans for the couple to create a horse farm on their property on Ram Island and North Cartwright Roads. But neighbors filed two suits, maintaining that the ZBA was incorrect in allowing a commercial operation in a residential neighborhood. A lower court eventually ruled that the could should cease operation of the horse farm, but in October 2002, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court ruled to reverse the lower court ruling, clearing the way for the horse farm.
POSTSCRIPT: This fall, Mr. Ruig announced that the property, which includes 29 acres preserved by Peconic Land Trust from further development, is on the market. Mr. Ruig declined comment, except to say he just decided to sell the property.

Thiele, Matthews vie for 16th Legislative District seat

It was in 1987 that Fred Thiele Jr., ran on the Republican and Peconic County Party lines for a seat in the Suffolk County Legislature. He had served as Southampton Town attorney and as a member of the East Hampton Planning Board. His opponent on the Democratic line was James Matthews of Southampton. Mr. Thiele won an overwhelming victory, garnering 74 percent of the vote.
POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Thiele, who is now a New York State Assemblyman, will soon be representing Shelter Islanders as a result of redistricting that moves the Island to his First Assembly District instead of Assemblyman Dan Losquadro’s Second Assembly District. Mr. Thiele is running unopposed in November, while Mr. Losquadro, a Republican, is running for a second two-year term facing Democratic challenger Nicholas Deegan.

Ferry fares to rise

What was in 1972 the Shelter Island and Greenport Ferry Company received Suffolk County Legislative approval for a fare hike that would boost one-way fares from $1.60 to $1.75 and round trips from $2 to $2.25. In return the ferry service agreed to extend weekend night service from 11:10 leaving the Island to 11:45 p.m. and service from Greenport to midnight.
POSTSCRIPT: North Ferry won a fare hike in 2011 that increased by 18.2 percent the price of a resident 5-day commuter pass from $22 to $26.

Taxes at new high as assessments fall

In October 1962, the Town Board was anticipating that between the highest preliminary budget in Island history and a drop in assessments, taxpayers would be facing a major tax increase in 1963. Every department except the fire department had increases in their budget requests. It was anticipated that the tax rate would be going from $1.47 per $100 of assessed property valuation to $1.55. And school taxes were already poised to go up by 27 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
POSTSCRIPT: The Town Board is currently working with a budget proposal for 2013, aiming to stay within the 2 percent tax cap imposed by state mandate. By law, the tax cap can only be pierced by a vote of 60 percent of the Town Board.



45 Comment

  • Hooray for the Horton Avenue residents. Although I know Ms. Hobsen would have wanted a less drastic solution to the horror facing these residents, at this point in time, she and all other so affected have no choice but to seek compensation for damages and neglect. Let us not forget for one minute that the reason the residents were allowed to build in the “bottoms” was that “red-lining” practices in Riverhead prohibited them at that time from settling elsewhere. And today let us ask- why have those homes been allowed to fester and swell with toxic molds, a constant reminder of loss and hurt to the residents? Why has there been no effort to remove these homes and then seek a way, perhaps, to make the area habitable once more if that is at all possible? And why have not our trailer parks opened themselves to these 11 families with an offering of new residence? The ugly face of segregation and racism appears to be alive and hearty here in Riverhead.

  • Of course it was racism that forced people to buy these homes.

    I think a couple of million in damages, each, would be fair, don’t you? Is there any way to make sure that only white families property taxes go up to cover this settlement? After all, justice demands it.

  • I am very happy that these families have finally decided to seek restitution against the County and Town. While none of these homes are worth 300-350 thousand it’s long overdue for them to get some form of monetary compensation. For our town to give tax abatements to businesses who stand to profit millions of dollars on the backs of it’s taxpayers while basically turning their backs on Horton Avenue is borderline discriminatory. The town owes these taxpaying residents an apology on top of cash disbursements. Go after them and get everything you can!

  • What next, 20 acres and a mule on top of it?? It’s sad, but they have lived there for quite a long time now, and have seen “flood after flood after flood” according to their attorney. Why didn’t they move??? Just curious

  • Correct me if I’m wrong but…Didn’t the Town do that circle through a grant and didn’t the County engineers draw it up and do the work?

  • That enormous traffic circle and drainage ditch constructed a few years ago seems to have negatively impacted the flooding situation on Horton Ave. I’m sure that whole project was very expensive and all costs associated with it need to be reviewed. Unfortunately the hard-working, tightly-knot community existing on that road have suffered due to this mismanagement of our tax dollars. I hope the residents are successful in gaining restitution.

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