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Deer & Tick Committee: More money needed for culling

JULIE LANE PHOTO Retiring as chairman of the Deer & Tick Committee and as natural resources manager at Mashomack Preserve, Mike Scheibel (center) received a commendation from the Town Board Tuesday for his years of service. Supervisor Gary Gerth, left, and Councilman Jim Colligan presented a plaque.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Retiring as chairman of the Deer & Tick Committee and as natural resources manager at Mashomack Preserve, Mike Scheibel (center) received a commendation from the Town Board Tuesday for his years of service. Supervisor Gary Gerth, left, and Councilman Jim Colligan presented him with a plaque.

The Town Board learned at Tuesday’s work session that the Deer & Tick Committee will either ask for a reallocation of its money or more funding for its 2019 budget.

Listening to an account of efforts made in the 2017-18 hunting season, members heard about a successful pilot “Nuisance Wildlife Control Officers” (NWCO) program that killed 50 deer during the February and March hunt on some town-managed properties.

The specially licensed local hunters surpassed by 10 the target number the committee hoped would be taken during that period. To get more hunters licensed for the NWCO hunt beyond the three that participated this year, it would cost more money, Animal Control Officer Beau Payne told the Town Board.

“We’re trying new things,” Mr. Payne said, outlining efforts in place during the October through March hunting period.

He said money could be saved on the cost of corn used to lure deer to 4-poster units — feeding stands that brush deer with a tickicide, permethrin. But that would happen only if the deer population markedly decreased, he said. Corn consumption did drop during the months the units were deployed, but not enough to free more money from the budget for hunting.

Deer & Tick Committee Chairman Mike Scheibel, who retires from the committee and as natural resources manager at Mashomack Preserve next month, told the board that he appreciates everything recreational hunters have done to reduce the herd, but it’s time to think about employing professional hunters if the town wants significant improvement in the number of deer reduced from the herd.

In the past, the committee has rejected using outside sharpshooters. But a survey conducted last fall showed that 72 percent of Island respondents favored hiring outside contractors to effectively lower the number of tick bites and tick-borne diseases.

VELLA PROPERTIES
Herrmann’s Castle met the wrecking ball in November, but questions remain about the future of property overlooking Crescent Beach near the Pridwin. Questions also are being asked about owner Zach Vella’s plans for construction on a second property — this one Clinton Avenue in the Heights.

At the board’s work session, Councilman Jim Colligan said the project to rebuild on the Herrmann’s Castle property had been abandoned. Mr. Vella and his family, he said, are choosing instead to live in the Clinton Avenue house once construction is done there to link two properties on the lot through a corridor.

But Councilman Paul Shepherd said he understood the Clinton property would be a temporary home for the Vella family until a new structure is built on the Herrmann’s Castle property. The original plans were live on Clinton Avenue temporarily until the new house is finished and then Mr. Vella’s parents would occupy the Clinton Avenue residence.

Mr. Vella’s architect, Barbara Corwin, said both projects are going forward just as Mr. Shepherd described the situations.

Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC) General Manager Stella Lagudis set forth a number of stipulations about the work on the Clinton Avenue property and Town Board members Tuesday were leaning toward not allowing work to begin until after Labor Day in September.

Among Ms. Lagudis’ requirements were that there be no blockage of the North Ferry line that runs in front of the Clinton Avenue house and that all construction materials and vehicles be contained on the property. The HPOC doesn’t want any work on weekends or holidays and meaning work could only be done between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Councilman Albert Dickson said he thought the overall project on Clinton Avenue wouldn’t be in keeping with the neighborhood where houses tend to be half the size of the 7.600 square foot structure that the Vella property would be if the two structures on the lot were linked.

But Mr. Shepherd argued that the work wasn’t to build a 7,600 square foot structure, but to link two existing units on the property.

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