This week in Shelter Island history



REPORTER FILE PHOTO It was an easier day in 1964 when Long Island Lighting Company was able to bury a cable linking Shelter Island to a Greenport substation.

It was an easier day in 1964 when Long Island Lighting Company was able to bury a cable linking Shelter Island to a Greenport substation.

New electric cable installed under sound

In March 1964, the Long Island Lighting Company blasted a new electric power supply cable five feet into the sand beneath Shelter Island Sound between the Island and Greenport. It was the first time the German-built device was used in the United States. It took just a day to drop and move the 4,700 foot-long cable and the following day, the burying device was attached to a barge and towed across the Sound bottom. The machine resembles the lower portion of a huge out-board motor, tipped up to come into shallow water. In operation, it walked across the bottom and the pump in a vertical position forced the cable into the sand. A second cable was slated to be installed in the same way the following May.
POSTSCRIPT: Ah, it was a more simple day that enabled the cable to be buried, instead of needing to be pulled through a tunnel as was attempted in the past year by Long Island Power Authority contractor Bortech. And since that effort failed, PSEG is examining the possibility of instead constructing a substation here on Shelter Island that would be independent of the Greenport substation.
Ospreys arrive

It happened on March 3, 1984 — the first sign that spring was in the air as Scudder Griffing spotted a pair of ospreys near his home near Gardiners Creek.  More traditionally, ospreys generally are first seen around the end of March, Mashomack Preserve’s Mike Laspia told the Reporter at the time. But unseasonably warm weather likely accounted for the early arrival that year, he said.
POSTSCRIPT: If the prolonged and vicious winter of 2014 persists, we can only speculate that we might not see ospreys for many weeks, despite the beginning of Daylight Savings Time this weekend that often ushers in the spring season.
Town passes 6-month sprinkler system moratorium

You probably know that the ban on underground irrigation systems was initially passed in 2003 with the proviso that it not kick in until September 2013. But you may not know that in March 1994, the Town Board was struggling with the issue, passed a ban in 1993 and in March of 1994, implemented a moratorium on the ban. During the debate, former Supervisor Jeffrey Simes argued that the town needed to take action against the installation of swimming pools, most of which were located in shore areas sensitive to water shortage problems.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, while the Town Board contemplates extending a moratorium on implementing a ban on underground irrigation systems until the end of the year, steps have been taken with respect to swimming pools. Those with pools must provide that water is trucked in from off-Island sources so as not to deplete the water supply.

Open space deal is dead, first time ever for program

The town backed off from a planned purchase of development rights on 14.5 acres of land at the northwest corner of Cobbetts Land and Manhanset Road after owner Alistair Tedford refused to be bound by limits on pesticide use on the property. He maintained that while plans were to develop a horse farm on the rest of his property, he feared that entering into an agreement on pesticides might limit further agricultural use of the property. The sale price was to be $700,000, of which $490,000 was going to be paid by Suffolk Country from its Greenways program, while the balance was to come from the Island’s Community Preservation Fund money. But without an agreement limiting pesticide use, the deal was cancelled despite concerns that the land might be developed in a manner that could be detrimental to the surrounding community.
POSTSCRIPT: After letting go of the deal in March 2004, Mr. Tedford later presented the town with an offer to sell the 14.5 acres outright for $1.766 million in the spring of 2004, though he required that the deal be completed by the end of the year. Suffolk County agreed to pay half the cost with the town’s share primarily coming from CPF money plus $34,000 that was raised through contributions. Because the county couldn’t move quickly on the deal, the Peconic Land Trust purchased the county’s share in order to close the deal on time and then resold it to Suffolk Country in April 2005.

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