08/02/13 2:11pm

 

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) said the new CPF figures were good news on two fronts.

In the first six months of 2013,  money flowing into the Island’s Community Preservation Fund soared more than 205 percent over the same period last year.

That was the largest increase by percentage in CPF money of any East End town.

Numbers released by Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) showed Shelter Island receiving $1.16 million through June as opposed to $380,000 in the January to June period of 2012.

The so-called “2-percent” or CPF fund is financed by a two percent tax buyers pay on real estate deals, with the first $250,000 of the sale price exempted for Island deals. That money goes into a town’s CPF fund and is solely dedicated to open space acquisitions.

CPF money was up across the board for the five East End towns to the tune of 48 percent, or a total of about $49 million for the first six months of 2013, as opposed to $29.6 million for the same period last year.
East Hampton was second to Shelter Island in most money collected, up 59 percent, while Southold had the lowest number, with an increase of about 4 percent.

Mr. Thiele said the news was positive in two ways. “This is good news for Shelter Island for land preservation, but it also shows that the real estate market is recovering nicely,” Mr. Thiel said.

Peter Vielbig, Chairman of the town’s Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board, said there was another reason for the spike in funds. With new tax laws

Supervisor Jim Dougherty welcomed the new figures. “This is very, very good news,” Mr. Dougherty said.

Peter Vielebig, Chairman of the town’s Community Preservation Advisory Board said there was another factor at play  in the robust amount of money coming into the funds coffers. He noted that there was a spike in real estate deals in November and December of last year with buyers and sellers getting ahead of new lax laws slated to kick in with the new year.

“But because the way the collection process works, by the time we get the check it’s usually a couple of months after the sale is made,” Mr. Vielebig said.

January and February collections were “tremendous” he added, a result of the end of 2012 sales. The amount of money coming in dropped significantly in March and April, Mr. Vielebig said, but got much stronger in May, June and July.

“We have some debt we have to keep in mind,” Mr. Vielbig said. “But it’s good to have money to work with when someone comes by with a piece of land we can negotiate with knowing we have the money.”

Mr. Dougherty said that strategy and cooperation were important now in light of the new figures. “There remains a lot of open space opportunities where we have to take the quiet and respectful initiative,” he said.

Last spring Mr. Dougherty and Mr. Vielbig were at loggerheads over acquiring the St. Gabriel Retreat Center property on Coecles Harbor.

Mr. Dougherty said the new numbers were “encouraging, but we’ll still need assistance from the county and others to raise money to make the open space acquisitions I want to make.”

Since the fund was made into law in 1999, the East End has received more than $833 million to buy open space.

06/09/13 10:52am

COURTESY PHOTO  |  Floyd Memorial Library opened in 1917 on First Street. The stone building was donated by Grace Floyd, whose grandfather William Floyd was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The architecture of Greenport illustrates the village’s growth from its pre-Revolutionary beginnings through its heyday as a commercial whaling center into a modern-day working waterfront that serves locals and visitors alike.

After the Revolutionary War, the village was called Green Hill — named for its expansive marshland and a hill located near present-day Greenport Yacht and Ship Building. The hill was leveled at the turn of the century to fill in the marsh that would become the incorporated village.

Lacking the natural materials to make their own, residents relied on bricks shipped from Europe to build the foundation of the village’s earliest homes until the discovery of clay, according to local historian Carlos DeJesus.

Many buildings were even floated into Greenport, village historian Gail Horton said.

Today, Greenport’s historic district consists of 254 wood-framed structures, a mix of residential and commercial, laid out in a fan shape from the village’s Main Street waterfront business district.

Vernacular, Greek revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and Victorian styles were among the most popular home designs.

COURTESY PHOTO | The Metro Theatre was a popular attraction in Greenport during the early 1900s.

“The architecture of this village is fascinating,” Ms. Horton said. “You can walk around and really see the past in the housing. You can tell what people did for a living.”

Turn-of-the-century dwellings occupied by the working class are typically found on cross-streets near Carpenter Street. Most are small, simply designed homes sited close to the street on deep, narrow lots.

The village’s official jailhouse was also located on Carpenter Street. The jail was nicknamed the Greenlight Hotel because a green light was turned on out front when the jail was occupied. While no longer used in any official capacity, the brick building still stands at 232 Carpenter St.

Members of Greenport’s rising merchant class built their homes on Bay Avenue. They favored the Italianate style, which features decorative molding, often in a floral motif, and open front porches with tapered square columns.

Main Street was where wealthy captains constructed grand, impressive houses. At one point the road was called High Street or Captain’s Walk after the stately homes. It even held the name Murray Hill — a reference to the upscale Manhattan neighborhood.

An example of the upper-class-style house is the Ebenezer W. Case House at 527 Main St. Mr. Case resided there through the mid-1800s. The two-story house is a vintage Victorian with a side bay window and a double front door.

Sterling Street was also the site of prominent homes. Built in 1835, the waterfront residence at 162 Sterling was home to the president of New York City Fire Insurance Co. The house, set on spacious grounds, has several unique features, including a Palladian style window in the front gable and wood fanlight carving in the gable.

Many of the multi-room houses in the village were later transformed into bed-and-breakfasts.

Today, Greenport’s Historic Preservation Commission keeps a watchful eye on its oldest residences, and has even published a pamphlet, “Recommendations for Homeowners,” as a guide for protecting the historic integrity of the buildings.

cmurray@timesreview.com

06/09/13 10:52am

COURTESY PHOTO  |  Floyd Memorial Library opened in 1917 on First Street. The stone building was donated by Grace Floyd, whose grandfather William Floyd was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The architecture of Greenport illustrates the village’s growth from its pre-Revolutionary beginnings through its heyday as a commercial whaling center into a modern-day working waterfront that serves locals and visitors alike.

After the Revolutionary War, the village was called Green Hill — named for its expansive marshland and a hill located near present-day Greenport Yacht and Ship Building. The hill was leveled at the turn of the century to fill in the marsh that would become the incorporated village.

Lacking the natural materials to make their own, residents relied on bricks shipped from Europe to build the foundation of the village’s earliest homes until the discovery of clay, according to local historian Carlos DeJesus.

Many buildings were even floated into Greenport, village historian Gail Horton said.

Today, Greenport’s historic district consists of 254 wood-framed structures, a mix of residential and commercial, laid out in a fan shape from the village’s Main Street waterfront business district.

Vernacular, Greek revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and Victorian styles were among the most popular home designs.

COURTESY PHOTO | The Metro Theatre was a popular attraction in Greenport during the early 1900s.

“The architecture of this village is fascinating,” Ms. Horton said. “You can walk around and really see the past in the housing. You can tell what people did for a living.”

Turn-of-the-century dwellings occupied by the working class are typically found on cross-streets near Carpenter Street. Most are small, simply designed homes sited close to the street on deep, narrow lots.

The village’s official jailhouse was also located on Carpenter Street. The jail was nicknamed the Greenlight Hotel because a green light was turned on out front when the jail was occupied. While no longer used in any official capacity, the brick building still stands at 232 Carpenter St.

Members of Greenport’s rising merchant class built their homes on Bay Avenue. They favored the Italianate style, which features decorative molding, often in a floral motif, and open front porches with tapered square columns.

Main Street was where wealthy captains constructed grand, impressive houses. At one point the road was called High Street or Captain’s Walk after the stately homes. It even held the name Murray Hill — a reference to the upscale Manhattan neighborhood.

An example of the upper-class-style house is the Ebenezer W. Case House at 527 Main St. Mr. Case resided there through the mid-1800s. The two-story house is a vintage Victorian with a side bay window and a double front door.

Sterling Street was also the site of prominent homes. Built in 1835, the waterfront residence at 162 Sterling was home to the president of New York City Fire Insurance Co. The house, set on spacious grounds, has several unique features, including a Palladian style window in the front gable and wood fanlight carving in the gable.

Many of the multi-room houses in the village were later transformed into bed-and-breakfasts.

Today, Greenport’s Historic Preservation Commission keeps a watchful eye on its oldest residences, and has even published a pamphlet, “Recommendations for Homeowners,” as a guide for protecting the historic integrity of the buildings.

cmurray@timesreview.com

05/30/13 4:30pm

JULIE LANE PHOTO | The disputed driveway at the home of Melissa Koh and husband S. Douglas Hahn on Gardiners Bay Drive.

A landscaper with a small family business alleges he’s caught between deep-pocketed Shelter Island homeowners and the landscape contractor who hired him to the tune of $400,000.

What Matthew Daly of MGD Horticulture in  Mattituck  said he wants is to be paid for the work he and his crew did. This includes both landscaping and creating a granite and “Belgian block” driveway at 34 Gardiners Bay Drive — a house owned by hedge fund manager Melissa Ko and publisher S. Daniel Hahn. Mr. Daly maintains he submitted a proposal for the work to Dirtworks, a New York City landscaping architectural firm, and said the job actually came in below budget. (Note: The NYC Dirtworks has no connection with S.C. Dirtworks, Inc.)

But Robert N. Zausmer of the Garden City law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, representing Ms. Ko and Mr. Hahn, aid his clients were in Korea when they first learned about the driveway work — work they didn’t approve and for which they do not want to be held responsible.

“They had no idea it was being put in,” Mr. Zausmer said about the driveway. “They weren’t happy.”

What’s more, Ms. Ko and Mr. Hahn said Mr. Daly lacked a home improvement contractor’s license necessary to undertake the driveway construction. Mr. Daly said no such license is necessary on Shelter Island and argued the work was done in conjunction with new construction, not a home improvement.

The case has gone national, with the Wall Street Journal running a feature article on the charge and counter charge controversy.

MGD was paid $225,818 of a $226,088 bill for the initial phase of landscaping, but a subsequent bill of $405,595 for additional landscaping and the driveway has gone unpaid. That’s what put the homeowners in court with Mr. Daly.

It’s also why Mr. Zausmer said he’s bringing suit against Dirtworks for any money the court decides is owed to Mr. Daly by his clients. That includes money New York State Supreme Court Justice Emily Pines ruled in April should be paid for landscaping, although the amount has yet to be determined. Mr. Daly said he’s owed $276,902 for landscaping, while Ms. Ko and Mr. Hahn put the amount at $249,172 according to court papers.

While the court ponders the amount to award Mr. Daly for the landscaping, he complains he’s out the full $405,595 — money he said he paid for materials and workers to do the job he said Dirtworks authorized. He added he used up an $89,000 line of credit including his personal credit cards to cover his costs.

He questioned Dirtworks officials about the bill before the job was done, but said he was assured he would be paid.

“I smelled a rat,” Mr. Daly said. What concerned him was a bill he sent to Mr. Hahn that went unpaid. When he questioned Mr. Hahn, he said he was told the check must have been left at his office and would be mailed, but he never got it.

He subsequently questioned Dirtworks about not being paid and was assured the clients would be paying for the work, so he completed it. But after August 2011, when the job was done and no money was forthcoming, Mr. Daly filed suit.

Reporter phone calls to Dirtworks President and Founder David Kamp have gone unanswered. Efforts to reach Ms. Ko and Mr. Hahn resulted in Mr. Zausmer saying only he would speak for his clients.

Mr. Zausmer compared the situation to someone planning to remodel a kitchen for a modest cost and then returning to town to learn that a million dollar kitchen had been installed.

Ms. Ko and Mr. Hahn, meanwhile, counter sued Mr. Daly for “willful exaggeration” of his qualifications.

Mr. Daly’s attorney, Edward Boyle of Manhasset, has filed a motion with the New York State Supreme Court asking for a re-argument of the case. The court could act on that motion as soon as June 4.

Since the completion of the work in August 2011, there was the possibility of negotiating a settlement, Mr. Zausmer said. But a previous attorney for Mr. Daly was “aggressive” and there was no opportunity “to negotiate this before the war broke out,” he said.
“We would be very happy to come to a reasonable resolve,” Mr. Zausmer said.

Meanwhile, he’s filing suit against Dirtworks for any money his clients would have to pay Mr. Daly if Judge Pines stands by her original ruling that Ms. Ko and Mr. Hahn are responsible for landscaping costs.

Dirtworks, in turn, presumably could bring suit against the unnamed architectural firm originally hired by the couple if it cleared Mr. Daly’s proposed costs with that firm before authorizing any work.

05/30/13 1:13pm

PETER BOODY PHOTO | The newly created Shelter Island Town emblem was created by boards secretary Danielle LiCausi in 2011 replacing an original flag that had been dedicated in 1983. Here Supervisor Jim Dougherty (standing), Councilman Peter Reich (right) and former Councilman Glenn Waddington unveiled the new emblem.

10 YEARS AGO
Rare clash over money and staffing for landfill

With the political season drawing near and municipalities everywhere dealing with revenue shortfalls, things got testy at Town Hall in late May 2003. Then Supervisor Art Williams and Highway Department Superintendent Mark Ketcham clashed over the issues of productivity and efficiency. Mr. Ketcham was arguing for a 15th crew member that had been promised when the budget was drafted. Mr. Williams wanted to wait to assess what revenues were being generated by the landfill operation. Councilman Ed Brown joined the argument, mentioning young people on the Island who need jobs. Mr. Williams argued that the budget called for adding another worker in the second half of the year, but he said landfill revenues were “off dramatically” and hiring should be delayed. Mr. Ketcham blamed bad weather and higher tipping fees for the declining revenues.
POSTSCRIPT: The issues may be different today, but there’s apparently something about spring that gives way to heated Town Board arguments as Supervisor Jim Dougherty and Councilman Paul Shepherd, whose tempers simmered throughout a May Town Board meeting and  erupted  during the “around the table.”

20 YEARS AGO
Board needs fifth vote to move on affordable housing

With the January 1993 death of Ccouncilman Lou Price, the Town Board was left with a four-member split opinion on the future of affordable housing for Shelter Island. Then Supervisor Hoot Sherman and Councilman George Chimenti favored building six houses while Councilmen Alfred Kilb J. and Hal McGee favored a four-house development on Bowditch Road. Mr. Chimenti tried for a five-house compromise until Mr. Sherman suggested back-burnering the issue until a new Town Board could be seated as a result of the November 1993 election.
POSTSCRIPT: It took some doing, but eventually, a six-house development was constructed and last year, the Reporter followed up with residents, learning that all the original owners were still living in the houses, but many had undergone structural expansions as their financial fortunes enabled them to add to the houses that had been built.

30 YEARS AGO
Visitors jam the Island on weekend

The headline might well come from any Memorial Day issue of the Reporter. But what made the June 2, 1983, celebration special was the dedication and flying of the new town flag at Town Hall. Supervisor Mal Nevel issued a proclamation officially adopting the seal on the flag. The seal depicted Indian Chief Pogatticut in his canoe.
POSTSCRIPT: To everything there is a season and the flag unveiled in 1983 had seen many seasons. By 2011, the aging banner was always falling from the wall where it had been mounted. A new town emblem painted by Danielle LiCausi, secretary to the boards, was unveiled The work is on plywood and follows the same general design as the flag, but  its execution is finer than what Councilman Peter Reich said was a coarsely executed image of a Native American paddling a canoe on the original flag.

40 YEARS AGO
Town adopts licensing of plumbers, electricians

Shelter Island’s streak of independence runs deep and in 1971 the town had rescinded a requirement that plumbers and electricians doing business here didn’t have to be licensed by Suffolk County. But 40 years ago, in the spring of 1973, moved by arguments that those hiring such workers had no way of knowing their qualifications, the Town Board finally rescinded its ban on licensing, joining every other municipality in Suffolk County in requiring licensing.
POSTSCRIPT: The argument against ‘dark skies legislation’ festering today among Town Board members is another sign of that famous Island independent streak that eschews regulation. While some argue that such legislation is designed to protect the few with neighbors who aren’t considerate, others see it as an infringement of their freedom to do as they please with their property.