Errors of the past

To the Editor: 

Although we will be unable to attend the February 24 public hearing on the matter of the future development of the Zagoreos property on the first Ram Island causeway, we want to register our opposition to the building of houses on environmentally sensitive wetland areas. With the exception of the small, man-made elevated patch on which the previous house sat, the area south of the first causeway is clearly that.

While we are sympathetic to the Zagoreoses personally, we believe their proposed multi-story house is totally inappropriate to the site, and that permission to build should be denied. The building platform, after all, was created in the first place by destroying sensitive wetlands. The decision to grant permission to build was controversial even then. Now, correcting the errors of the past — rather than compounding them — is the task at hand. We believe allowing the Zagoreoses to build would set an unwelcome precedent that invites the destruction of other sensitive sites on the Island. 

We also believe it is the duty of the Supervisor, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Town Board to consider the Zagoreoses’ application for building permission within the context of errors made in the past and in light of the pressure it would create to allow future development-via-landfill in fragile coastal areas elsewhere on Shelter Island. To fail to consider past folly and future implications of the Zagoreos proposal would be very short-sighted and would endanger other areas all across our beloved Island. 

We therefore urge you to consider any and every alternative, and to act decisively to protect Shelter Island from far-reaching negative consequences of allowing this proposed unsuitable development.