The second agenda item for the Town Board work session scheduled for Tuesday, February 4 seems innocuous enough: “Parties on residential properties.”
But more than 20 residents of Ram Island, who have sent the Town Board, Town Attorney, and Town Clerk letters complaining about a neighbor doing just that are hopping mad and demanding action.
The property in question is 89 Ram Island Drive, owned by Trip McCrossin. Neighbors claim he rents out his property — zoned residential — as a party house, specifically for large, lavish weddings that disrupt the peace, tranquility and overall character of the neighborhood with increased traffic, loud music to all hours, litter and excessive lighting. Concerns have also been raised about water usage on a commercial scale, which affect neighbors’ wells and puts undue stress on the aquifer.
In addition, the house was listed on an upscale site for commercial wedding venues, northforkweddings.com, until it was taken down.
Mr. McCrossin said Tuesday morning that he had no comment.
According to next door neighbors Elizabeth and William Pedersen, commercial weddings have been going on at 89 Ram Island Drive for years. In a January 31, 2014 letter to the Town Board, Mr. and Mrs. Pedersen wrote: “For the past several years commercial weddings have been held on the McCrossin property, next to ours, on Ram Island. Other than having to call the police shortly before midnight the night of a wedding last summer (when the rock band wouldn’t stop playing) we have registered no objections…until now. Recently, we received a call from Marc Wein, President of the Ram Island Association, telling us of meetings he has held with Trip McCrossin about his intention to hold regularly scheduled weddings on his property in the future. This call from Marc, combined with the cutting of many beautiful trees on the McCrossin property (assumedly to make room for an even larger tent or tents) made clear to us the urgency of making our point of view known. This we did in a letter to the Town Board last week. We stated that the commercial use of property in a residential neighborhood was illegal and that, while it had been permitted by the town in past years at the McCrossin’s request, we intended to challenge any further such use with our own legal representation.
“Our reasons for doing this should be evident to anyone owning property in a residential neighborhood. Living next to the ‘Wedding House’ is a liability when it comes to the value of our property and our enjoyment of Shelter Island. Preparation for a wedding starts four days before the event and lasts two days after it. Meanwhile, the “Wedding House” owner is miles away at a quiet retreat returning only after the dust has settled. Large crowds and loud music make the use of our home for entertaining guests out of the question on a wedding weekend.”
The board is expected to meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the issue.