This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER ARCHIVE PHOTO| Then Suffolk County Legislator Bill Jones (left) attended the Shelter Island Town Board meeting in November 1992 to discuss several county financial issues that would affect taxes for Islanders.

Perlman seeks new ZBA ruling
In order to enable the Perlman Music Program to raise money needed to support its efforts on Shelter Island, there was a need to redefine the 2001 approval of the operation lifting restrictions that had been imposed barring fund-raising events and limiting the season and the number of faculty and students who could be accommodated. Program executive director Catherine Arcure said there was a need to lift the restriction, allowing fund raisers to support ongoing development.

The aim, which has since been realized, was to fix up the property, providing new buildings and space to accommodate a growing student body and faculty.
POSTSCRIPT: In June 2012, the Kristy and James H. Clark Arts Center opened on the campus following a $3.5 million fund-raising effort. The new center includes a recital hall with an audience capacity of 100, 10 soundproof practice rooms, a music library and a new, modern girls dormitory that replaces a run-down girls’ dormitory. The new art center will be the venue for the Alumni Concert Festival that the Perlman Music Program has hosted for two years in the fall and it also represents a step toward the program having a year-round presence on the Island.

$3.6 million budget approved  by Town Board

The Town Board approved a budget that would take effect in January 1993 keeping the tax rate flat. The owner of a Center house assessed at $10,000 paid $1,008.50. That number was expected to drop slightly to pay for the 1993 budget. Of course, the actual tax bill would have to include levies for the Shelter Island School District and Suffolk County and were expected to raise the overall tax rate by 10.2 percent. Then County Legislator Bill Jones told the Town Board the county had deep problems and might be headed toward bankruptcy.
POSTSCRIPT: The Town Board this week approved a budget showing total expenditures at $9.8 million that is expected to raise taxes 3 percent, but because there’s a credit from the 2012 budget when taxes were hiked 1.1 percent, the new budget is considered to stay within the state-imposed 2 percent cap.

Country gift to town: seven miles and more

Suffolk County Commissioner of Public Works Rudy Kammerer informed the Town Board it was turning over 7.8 miles of roadway. The State Department of Transportation had to approve the change that had been requested by both the county and town since all agreed the roads could be more economically and feasibly maintained at the local level. It was estimated at the time of the turnover that the roads were in good condition and would not need any major maintenance for at least five years.
POSTSCRIPT: The town currently owns all the roads except for Route 114, a state highway, and about five miles of roads that still belong to the county, according to Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr.

Town Board orders halt of construction on Causeway

Construction on a one-story private house on low-lying land between the Ram Island Causeway and the head of Coecles Harbor was stopped because the plan approved by the building inspector at the time showed an elevation at three feet above the mean high water mark, four feet less that the minimum set by code. But then Building Inspector Michael Minenna said that plans were to add five feet of fill around the foundation that would bring the house up to code. However, code required that the fill had to be in place before construction could commence.
POSTSCRIPT: Some issues never cease. After more than a year and half of debate and revisions, the Town Board in December 2011 adopted a new law affecting building on the Causeways. The law requires that lots be at least five acres and limits the maximum size of structures to 1,800 feet, depending on lot size. Height is limited to 25 feet and no accessory structures — garages, tennis courts, swimming pools — are allowed.