CPFAB meets Monday morning to discuss ‘priority list’

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Community Preservation Advisory Committee Chairman Peter Vielbig, left, and committee member Charles Kraus at Monday’s meeting.

The Community Preservation Advisory Board, which targets and vets open space acquisitions for the town, met Monday morning with an updated list of properties to consider.

With Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty in attendance, Committee Chairman Peter Vielbig made reference to a recent statement by the supervisor that the committee’s priority list of properties to consider was, in essence, a ”kitchen sink list” that included almost every parcel for sale on Shelter Island.

“So Jim,” Mr. Vielbig said, “if it’s a kitchen sink list this separates the fine silver and good china from the everyday.”

The list consists of 24 properties, broken into two categories. One category is properties that have been purchased or are in contract by the Community Preservation Fund, along with properties that are in development by the owner. The second category is properties that should be considered by the committee.

The St. Gabriel’s Retreat Center on Coecles Harbor, which Supervisor Dougherty has been campaigning hard for the town to purchase and preserve, had recently been removed from the priority list by the committee. Monday it was back on the list.

Mr. Vielbig said the list should be looked at and updated from time to time. Committee members will now look at each property and score or rate them with a numerical system as either good or poor possibilities to recommend to the Town Board for purchase.

In other business, committee members were asked to choose properties already purchased by the Community Preservation Fund as individual stewardship projects.

At the top of the meeting, Mr. Dougherty asked Mr. Vielbig if the Reporter should be “allowed” or had “permission” to cover the public part of the meeting.

Mr. Vielbig said he had no problem with the Reporter being present, on the contrary, he welcomed the coverage. He added that just as the public is welcome, so should the newspaper. Committee member Art Williams and Town Attorney Laury Dowd noted that under the New York state open meetings law, no one could be banned.

Mr. Dougherty said then that there had been an agreement between the Reporter and the committee that the newspaper wouldn’t cover meetings. Mr. Vielbig polled the board and Ms. Dowd and no one said they’d ever heard of any such agreement.

Former Reporter editor Peter Boody said he had never heard of any agreement that kept the newspaper out of public meetings.