No new underground fuel storage tanks

Supervisor Jim Dougherty and Councilman Ed Brown review plans to expand the living area of a Nostrand Parkway house beyond 8,500 square feet during Friday’s public hearing on a special permit.

Fuel tanks can no longer be buried on Shelter Island.

On Friday, the Town Board adopted code amendments that prohibit the installation of any new or replacement fuel tanks for storage of petroleum products below the ground surface. Tanks in near shore areas must be above ground; in other areas, outdoor tanks must be above ground but tanks are allowed in basements with impermeable floors.

Underground fuel tanks, which can leak undetected, pose more of a risk to the Island’s sole source aquifer than above-ground tanks. 

Commercial facilities that are subject to “very rigorous standards” under state and county codes, including double-walled designs and metering to detect leaks, are exempt from the local law, Town Attorney Laury Dowd explained.

No public comment was offered during the hearing. After the Town Board voted unanimously to approve the law, John Needham of Coecles Harbor Marina, thanked the board for considering the local businessmen in crafting the law. “It’s a real relief to know we have a local government and a Town Board that will listen to our concerns, use some common sense and take action,” he said.

The board also amended the town code on public notification of Zoning Board of Appeals and Town Board hearings on property applications. As part of the variance and wetlands permit application process, properties will now be posted with a sign announcing that it is subject to a public hearing. Newspaper notice and mailed notices to nearby property owners will continue to be required as well.

Planning Board applications have required the signage for years; the code change “makes notices of hearings consistent between the Planning Board, Zoning Board and Town Board,” Ms. Dowd said.


During the October 2 meeting, the Town Board also:

• Revoked a total of 24 permits for moorings in Shelter Island waters. The moorings could not be found when inspected by the town over the summer and the permit holders did not appear before the board during a September 22 administrative hearing or provide proof of installation after receiving a warning letter in February and a notice of possible revocation in August.

• Set a public hearing on October 23 at 4:50 p.m. for comments on how the town should spend the $16,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds it expects to receive from Suffolk County next year.

• Approved permits for a mooring in Gardiners Bay and the rebuilding of a section of bulkhead along an Oak Tree Lane property. A dock rebuild project for the Galasso family of Winthrop Road was approved minus a proposed 10,000-pound boat lift. The board set public hearings on four new waterways permits, including a dock rebuild project for the Dering Harbor Inn.

• Adopted a workplace violence prevention policy to meet the requirements of New York State labor law. The policy requires the town as an employer to establish a committee on the subject, identify hazards and respond immediately to incident reports.

• Held a public hearing on plans to expand the Nostrand Parkway residence of John B. Sommi beyond the 8,500-square-foot threshold by adding 406 square feet of finished basement to the total living area. The Planning Board recommended approval of the project. A Town Board vote is expected on October 23.

• Authorized an agreement with current town auditors Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck and Company to audit the town’s 2009 and 2010 finances. The board also renewed a contract with grant writer Jean O’Connell.

• Established an accounting line in the town budget to pay the 0.34 percent Metropolitan Transit Authority tax, which begins next month and is retroactive to March 1, 2009.