This week in Shelter Island history

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Greenport Mayor David Nyce (left) and North Fork Environmental Council president Bill Toedter found themselves in agreement in February 2012 on a proposed sewer pipeline between the village and Shelter Island Heights.


Sewage plant is on the table
The Greenport Village Board back in March 2003 agreed to send a proposal to the Heights Property Owners Corporation for processing its sewage through the village system. Cameron Engineering was authorized to study the possibility of running a pipe under Greenport Harbor to carry the untreated waste to the Greenport plant. HPOC was responsible for all cost attendant to the study and implementation, while Greenport maintained the right to approve all aspects of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the project if it went forward.

HPOC had made substantial improvements to its mains and management procedures the year before and won a Department of Environmental Conservation permit to increase the flow of treated sewage into the bay from its plant west of the North Ferry slips. But the organization was still facing pressure to make major capital investments in its plant and the idea of connecting with Greenport initially appeared to be a less expensive project. But ultimately, the plan never came to fruition because it was deemed too costly at the time.

POSTSCRIPT: In 2012, the HPOC made another pass at connecting to the Greenport system that has been virtually reconstructed and could easily handle a lot more load than it currently gets from the village and the few entities outside Greenport that already tap into its system. But this time, the North Fork Environmental Council stepped up to object to sewage being piped under Greenport Harbor, concerned that if a pipe leaked, it could result in serious pollution. Greenport Mayor Nyce was quick to withdraw consideration of extending sewer service to the Heights, announcing that he would instead look east and west on the North Fork for potential new communities to serve.


Board, assessors agree town taxes unfair
The Town Board and elected tax assessors agreed in March 1993 that inland property owners were paying too high a tax while their waterfront neighbors were being taxed at too low a rate. The culprit was real market values of waterfront homes that were being under-computed while market values for inland properties were being over-computed But what to do about it led to a heated debate that finally concluded over several months with an agreement that it was time to do an island-wide revaluation. It took until 1996 to complete that process, according to current assessor Al Hammond

POSTSCRIPT: Today, properties are reassessed annually, Mr. Hammond said. He started that process in 2002 and it has been done annually ever since.


Nevel idea to extend LIE meets opposition
It was in March 1983 that then supervisor Mal Nevel proposed an extension of the Long Island Expressway at least to Route 105 to bypass heavily congested Riverhead  His remarks came in response to an invitation from then county executive Peter Cohalan to comment on infrastructure problems affecting the region. But even better, Mr. Nevel said would be to extend the LIE east to Mattituck’s four-lane highway and through to Southold and possibly all the way to Orient where Cross Sound Ferry takes vehicles and passengers to Connecticut. The words were no sooner out of Mr. Nevel’s mouth than William Pell III, who was Southold supervisor, said in a letter to Mr. Nevel that the Southold Town Board was 100 percent opposed to the idea that threatened the bucolic nature of that town’s roadways.

POSTSCRIPT: The LIE today extends only to exit 72 that takes drivers through Riverhead. Those heading to Southold can leave the highway at exit 71 and proceed east along Route 48 through eastern Riverhead and Southold Town. Much of that roadway is two lanes only, although there is a short distance in Mattituck and Southold that has four lanes.


POD seeking bids for new Heights P.O.
It was in March 1963 that the Post Office Department announced it was seeking bids to acquire a suitable site for the Heights Post Office that would afford customers more room for parking. The new building was slated for the same land where the original post office was, but the department was able to secure a lease on more surrounding land to improve the parking situation in the ever-tight Heights area.

POSTSCRIPT: The Island continues to have two post offices — one in the Heights and the other in the Center, although some customers, frustrated by ZIP code confusion since computerization took hold, have suggested perhaps one should close, leaving the Island with a single Post Office and one ZIP code.