PETER BOODY PHOTO An overflow crowd turned out for swearing-in ceremonies at Town Hall on Tuesday.
A new Town Board started the new year off on Tuesday with something unusual: a split vote to adopt a town code change. It allows paved driveways in the Near Shore and Peninsular Overlay District.
Also at the annual organizational meeting, newly elected and re-elected officials were sworn in by Town Justice Helen Rosenblum before a standing-room-only crowd of well-wishers.
Sworn in at Tuesday’s meeting were Supervisor Jim Dougherty for a third two-year term, Councilman Peter Reich for a third four-year term, Councilman Paul Shepherd for a first four-year term, newly elected Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. for a two-year term, and Assessors Al Hammond for a third full term and BJ Ianfola for a second term.
The ceremony was followed by a brief reception, after which the board in short order went through an agenda of routine annual appointments.
PETER BOODY PHOTOS | Sworn in on Tuesday: Supervisor Jim Dougherty, Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. and Councilman Paul Shepherd..
Starting off the organizational meeting, Mr. Dougherty welcomed Mr. Shepherd to the board.
“We all want to work together to preserve what we cherish about Shelter Island,” Supervisor Dougherty said of the board members, “and to make it an even better place.”
Except for the split vote on the impermeable driveway law, there were no surprises or major changes in the town’s routine annual appointments. Supervisor Dougherty will become the board’s liaison to the Water Advisory Committee, replacing Councilman Glenn Waddington, whose term ended with the New Year. Mr. Dougherty previously had been the board’s liaison to the Conservation Advisory Council.
In a 3-2 vote that was conducted by roll call because it amended the zoning code, the board approved Local Law Number 1 of 2012, which lifts a decade-old ban on paved driveways in the Near Shore and Peninsular Overlay District as long as they include drainage systems that recharge the aquifer and prevent runoff into creeks and bays.
Newly installed Councilman Shepherd, in his first-ever vote, and Supervisor Jim Dougherty, beginning his third two-year term, were the nays. Councilwoman Chris Lewis and Councilmen Peter Reich and Ed Brown voted yes.
“I approve of the effort” that has gone into the proposal over the past year, Mr. Shepherd said, “but I don’t feel the law as drafted is sufficiently flexible to accommodate the various circumstances of people of lesser means on Shelter Island.”
Mr. Dougherty said he agreed with Mr. Shepherd. “I also think visual pollution is an issue,” he said of paved driveways with drywells on the coastal landscape.
Mr. Brown voted yes but agreed with Mr. Shepherd that the law should be modified so that paved driveways could be an option for people who can’t afford a drainage and recharge system.
Initially proposed more than a year ago by Planning Board member Ian McDonald and civil engineer Matt Sherman, the law addresses a problem that they said undermines the intent of the Near Shore ban on paved driveways. Permeable driveways made of crushed concrete aggregate, which had been allowed in the Near Shore, can get so hard-packed with silt that they become impermeable. Without a recharge system — essentially curbing and drywells — they shed water that can run off into the bays, denying water to the Island’s limited aquifer and polluting the bays with petroleum residues, pesticides and lawn chemicals.
As originally proposed, the revised law would have allowed paved driveways if they included a recharge system designed by a licensed engineer. To address Mr. Shepherd’s complaint late last year, the proposal was modified to eliminate the licensed engineer requirement for driveways covering less than 1,000 square feet.
The new law also requires double-washed gravel to be used for permeable driveways because it does not leach silt that can form an impermeable barrier.