To the Editor
Over the past many months I have tried in vain to get used to the fence erected on Manhanset Road by the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm.
Every day when I drive past it, I am annoyed at how ugly it is and how it blocks the view we once had of a beautiful meadow. Now the fence is directly in one’s line of sight and its lopsided, crooked stakes look as though they were put together by kindergartners.
What concerns me more is the fear that as more land is cleared by the Farm, there might be more fencing-in ahead. Why is the fence needed? Our Island is not cattle oriented; we love our totally open spaces without fences and we love what we once had, like the Windmill Field, not a bunch of large rocks and little huts and other paraphernalia not pleasant to the eye.
I wish the Farm could use interior fields for its farming and keep the vistas we were used to and enjoyed as they were. Money invested by the Community Preservation Fund, I thought, was to be used to preserve our open spaces.
While the Farm is engaged in many well-supported and well-received activities, it is important to give consideration to the Island’s character and appearance as we have known them for recent generations, not necessarily to resurrect those of past generations!
Board flip flops?
To the Editor:
At the Town Board work session on May 12 the board told Mr. Lapham of 4D Hidden Path that his proposed house appeared too large for his ecologically-challenged, less than .5 acre property, and that it should be moved to not encroach into the wetlands regulated area.
The board clearly suggested that the application would not be approved as applied for and Mr. Lapham was told “to go back to the drawing board for a new architectural design,” which was reported on the cover page of the May 21 Shelter Island Reporter.
Mr. Lapham subsequently told the board he would not alter the size or location of the proposed house. Over objections from neighbors and against the recommendation of the Shelter Island Conservation Advisory Council, the Town Board unexplainably flip flopped at the May 29 Town Board meeting by approving Mr. Lapham’s wetlands application with the house and location as originally planned and with only a minor outside deck modification.
The approval of this application is the first time in Shelter Island history that a house located completely outside of the wetlands-regulated area is allowed to be torn down and replaced by a house that is within the regulated area. This sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the Island.
The Town Board, in a four to five decision, seemed more concerned about ensuring that Mr. Lapham’s proposed house was sufficiently far enough away from the neighbor’s pool so that the applicants would not be bothered by noise, than they were about protecting our wetlands.