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Town Board work session report



Glynis Berry, executive director of Peconic Green Growth, a small non-profit concerned with water quality, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Island’s septic systems to the Town Board work session Tuesday.

A crisis is in the making and we’re at a tipping point because of antiquated systems, Ms. Berry said, and the discharge of nitrogen into our ground water, creeks, ponds and bays.

PCC has done extensive mapping of systems on the Island and is asking for help in coordinating a survey and in the selection for an initial engineering report to assess options and costs.

In other business: New microphones are slated for the Town Hall meeting room. The upgrade will cost about $3,000, but that money is already budgeted and comes from Cablevision’s contract with the town. One procedural change was suggested by Councilman Peter Reich, that a wireless microphone already in use be moved to the podium where residents and guests speak.

“We want everyone to come up to the podium,” Mr. Reich said. The majority of complaints from people watching meetings online or on Channel 22, Mr. Reich said, are  that when people in the audience speak, they often can’t be heard. Rather than putting microphones in the back of the room, which will pick up whispers, coughs and paper shuffling, the best way to handle it is to have people come to the podium to speak and identify themselves.

Councilman Paul Shepherd didn’t like the idea. He’s in favor of  it for regular board meetings, but work sessions should remain “informal,” plus many people have a fear of public speaking and being on camera, Mr. Shepherd said.

“But you can’t penalize people watching online,” Mr. Reich said.

“They could also come,” Mr. Shepherd countered, “unless their legs are busted.”

“Sometimes people do work at one o’clock on Tuesdays,” Mr. Reich said.

Mr. Shepherd said,“It’s like the Coliseum, people want to watch but not really be there.”

• It seems an equitable compromise has been reached on vehicles using Reel Point.

The town is trying to restore the beach at Reel Point with plantings under the direction of the Peconic Land Trust, but the PLT has said those efforts might be undermined by people driving on the beach. Fishermen, some who have driven on the beach for years to get to their traditional fishing grounds, protested that they were being shut out.

In a letter to interested parties, PLT Stewardship Manager Matthew Spain wrote that beach driving permits would be issued by the town. “Once you obtain this permit,” he wrote, “the Town Clerk will provide you with a key to access the preserve. Reel Point will have two separate entrances secured by chains and padlocks. One entrance will be used for highway and emergency vehicle access only (red padlock) while the other will be accessible using the key issued by the Town Clerk (green padlock). In order to prevent damage to the restoration areas, we are limiting vehicular access to Reel Point to those of you who have obtained a Beach Driving Permit.”