JULIE LANE PHOTO | This disputed road leading into the Clark Capital LLC property will have to be widened — something the town requires that neither the applicants nor the neighbors want.
Despite neighbors’ complaints, a new subdivision of land behind North Cartwright Road owned by Clark Capital LLC, will be allowed, providing the owners comply with a number of conditions contained in the approval.
That’s the word from Shelter Island Planning Board Chairman Paul Mobius, who said that among the restrictions attached to the subdivision approval is widening of a gravel road that leads to the property.
It’s that road, to be named Meadow Road, that has caused consternation among neighbors. Widening it to 16 feet with narrow gutters on either side to absorb stormwater runoff, will put it too close to bedroom windows of neighbors on either side, they said. But to grant the subdivision, the road must be widened to accommodate fire trucks, Mr. Mobius said.
While the Planning Board has approved the subdivision, compliance with several conditions including the road widening must be met before the approval takes effect, Mr. Mobius said.
Meanwhile, the son of a couple whose property is next to the subdivision, Frederick Thumhart Jr. of Delmar, New York, is protesting the Planning Board’s decision and the advice he believes was given to the board by its attorney, Anthony Pasca.
Mr. Thumhart said allowing the subdivision “threatened” the residential character of his parent’s house at 16 North Cartwright Road. His parents are Frederick and Linda Thumhart. In a letter to Mr. Pasca he said the subdivision would “impose commercial uses and traffic on a southerly adjoining residential gore/strip of land” on Meadow Road.
“You threw the Shelter Island Town Planning Board, the neighbors and the Shelter Island Town citizens under the bus,” Mr. Thumhart wrote in an October 8 letter, arguing that Mr. Pasca was wrong in advising the Planning Board that it couldn’t restrict road use.
The information Mr. Thumhart used came from meeting minutes that offer an overview, not a thorough record of what was a lengthy discussion about the road, according to Mr. Pasca. Mr. Thumhart wasn’t at the public hearings, he said.
Mr. Thumhart said the road use should be restricted to residential and emergency traffic. But it’s just that emergency traffic that is responsible for the requirement to widen the roadway, Mr. Mobius said.
Other neighbors expressed similar concerns at public hearings.
Matt Sherman, who is representing Clark Capital, said he anticipates there will be “very little traffic” on the road “for the foreseeable future.”
Residential neighborhoods throughout the state have roads that lead to commercial developments, Mr. Pasca said, explaining that it would be impossible to block commercial traffic from riding through a residential area. Not one inch of the Clark Capital property is within a strictly residential area, he said.
Mr. Thumhart said he had a verbal agreement from the Clark family that the road adjoining his parents’ property would only be used for residential traffic. But Ms. Clark said she wasn’t aware of any such verbal agreement, although her husband’s father, now deceased, may have made such an agreement.
“If they want to change it, we’d be very happy,” she said about the town requirement to widen the road as a condition for granting the subdivision.