A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

FILE PHOTO | Hay Beach Section 9 as it appeared 20 years ago remains undeveloped thanks to preservation efforts that succeeded in 1993.

Section 9: It’s a done deal
It was 20 years ago that after a more than 20-year battle, Islanders finally got the word that Section 9 of the Hay Beach development would be preserved and the shoreline there would remain free from housing. The area includes 35 acres of wind-swept beaches and wetlands that residents wanted to see protected. The Nature Conservancy took title to the shore front property stretching from Menhaden Lane east along the first Ram Causeway and then transferred it to Shelter Island and Suffolk County.
POSTSCRIPT: Through the years, thanks to the 2 percent mortgage tax, Shelter Island, like other East End towns, has been able to preserve important areas of the town from development. Just this week, Supervisor Jim Dougherty announced that with an improvement in the real estate market, more money is flowing to the town for land conservation purposes.

Budget to go before the public
Thirty years ago, the Town Board wrapped up its budgeting for the 1984 fiscal year and set plans for a public hearing on a $1.49 million spending plan that represented a 7.6 percent in spending from the $1.37 million budget of 1983. Town Board members had managed to knock off only $500 from the tentative budget that Supervisor Mal Nevel had submitted a month earlier. The preliminary budget was headed for a public hearing and then adoption by the Town Board.
POSTSCRIPT: Earlier this week, the Town Board agreed to a preliminary budget of $9.95 million for 2014. It will be the subject of a public hearing on Wednesday, November 6, and is expected to be adopted on Friday, November 8, at the regular Town Board meeting.

Alert citizen alerts firefighters
Thanks to an alert citizen who spotted flames in roadside brush along Manhanset Road 50 years ago, a major fire was averted. Firefighters worked throughout the night to ensure that the tinder-dry woods wouldn’t erupt into a major conflagration. The story at the time described conditions as “crisp as a newly baked Saltine following more than two rainless weeks.”
POSTSCRIPT: Firefighters today are very alert to the possibility that light rain amounts this fall have left the area very dry. And those on the Water Advisory Committee are also concerned that the lack of precipitation is spelling very low readings at area test wells.