Letters to the Editor


To the Editor:

As you may know, Superstorm Sandy knocked out one of LIPA’s two distribution cables from the North Fork. Shelter Island essentially depends on these cables for our electrical service. (There is a cable from the South Fork but it has very limited capability.) This presents very severe challenges for Shelter Island as the hurricane season approaches. Should this single, very old, remaining cable be knocked out, Shelter Island could be without power for an extended period of time, depending almost entirely on the very limited resources of generators.

LIPA has budgeted $9 million to install a new, upgraded cable from the North Fork, commencing work this week. They will work 12 hour days, seven days a week to get the job done as soon as possible. They are estimating a late June completion date but this, of course, is subject to many variables and contingencies.

Unfortunately the work has to be done to give Shelter Island any reasonable chance of getting through the hurricane season without Island-wide loss of electrical power for extended periods of time. At our urging, LIPA, National Grid and the contractor they have awarded the bid to — Voritech — have been working together night and day to complete the paperwork, field surveys and prep work to get this inconvenience behind us as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, this work will involve inconvenience for all of us — the temporary price we unfortunately have to pay for the long term benefit. We deeply appreciate your understanding and patience.

The town’s manager for the project is Commissioner of Public Works Jay Card. Town Board members as well as Emergency Management Coordinator  Jim Read  are available as well to try to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation in this very essential emergency project for Shelter Island.

Supervisor, Town of Shelter Island

Our interest

To the Editor:

Would it not be great for Shelter Islanders if we could get even more out of the LIPA project to install a cable from Greenport to Shelter Island? For instance, perhaps Verizon could negotiate with Optimum to piggyback on that cable to bring FIOS to the Island. This would be in our interest as it might break the near monopoly that Cablevision has on the Island. There may be other services that could also be brought to the Island in conjunction with LIPA’s under-the-bay connection.

Shelter Island

Fixing the problem

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the ZBA for listening to the North Cartwright community on April 24 in regard to the Stamberg/Aferiat variance. It can’t be easy to sit on the other side of the table and hear all the complaints.
To set the record straight, we were shocked to hear this month that the owner/architects of the property at 60 North Cartwright had deliberately violated their building permit, submitting plans for one structure while building another to skirt our zoning codes. Stamberg/Aferiat, who are licensed architects, were also renting the property out without a certificate of occupancy. In June 2012 their poor renters were thrown out on the street when the building department issued an order to vacate.

On April 15 Elizabeth and Bill Pedersen proposed a plan to mediate the situation. I canvassed the neighbors and got an overwhelmingly positive response. The proposal was and still is:

• Repaint the house in keeping with historic Eeltown.

• Landscape on north, south and west sides to create a green buffer zone.

• Deal with acoustic issues stemming from metal fabrication.

While there is no architectural review board and the ZBA cannot mandate changes such as these, I would like it to be known that a hand was extended even in the face of such duplicity. We would ask the ZBA to deny this variance but would be willing to revisit the issue with the above considerations as part of the deal. We would like to give a little and get a little. The neighborhood really does want to work it out so there is a win/win.

Shelter Island

Who’s a neighbor?

To the Editor:

With regards to your online article about the April 24 ZBA meeting, I’d like to clarify one point.
You state, “But while several neighbors wrote letters in support of the application, more showed up at Town Hall Wednesday night to argue that Mr. Stamberg and Mr. Aferiat haven’t been good neighbors.”

All the letters in favor of the variance, save one, are from people who are not neighbors, do not reside in the neighborhood and who are not directly involved or affected by the issues at stake. Heck, my cousin in California is against granting a variance but since he’s not a part of this neighborhood, I declined his offer of a letter. I prefer not to waste the ZBA’s time.

Shelter Island

Rural is as rural does

To the Editor:

The Reporter in last week’s editorial somehow drew parallels between the new irrigation regulations and the proposed dark skies code. It was a comparison of apples and oranges. No, make that apples and beer nuts. It is that different.

The irrigation law is meant to protect our common water supply. We all drink from the same aquifer. The primary purpose of all laws is to protect our health and safety, while ensuring that we can all live our lives as freely as possible. This is why our legislatures, at all levels of government, take an oath of office to support the Constitution of the U.S.A.

On the other hand, the dark skies code is a “designer law.” It is a law that is custom-tailored for the sensibilities and aesthetic values of a few people who have the ear of one or two elected officials. The problem is that this law does not promote our common health and safety. But it will be imposed on all of us eventually; complete with hefty fines if you do not comply with the strict and complex code.

Dark skies is a law that is simply meant to control us, not to protect us. Of all of the reasons given for dark skies, I haven’t heard any that are substantial enough that justify being less free in our own homes, on our own property.

One argument that was made at a work session is that dark skies will keep Shelter Island “rural.” But “rural” should be defined as being able to live your life as you see fit, not as others think you should. There should be less restrictive codes and forced conformity than suburban or urban environs.

Rural life embraces both the liberty of the individual and a community spirit. Those who represent the community must always respect the rights of each and every citizen, first and foremost, in all that they say and do.

On a recent WLNG call-in show, I asked Supervisor Dougherty why dark skies needs to be a law at all. I suggested that voluntary compliance could be encouraged with a tax discount incentive. Mr. Dougherty replied that the rich folk would ignore this deal. One reason that the rich are rich is because they take advantage of every tax loophole that they can find. Given the supervisor’s background, he certainly should know this.

If this law is really meant for the mega-mansions, then target the rich. But that might be unconstitutional. We don’t need a blanket law to solve what is not a problem for the majority of residents here.

Shelter Island

Student art on display

To the Editor:

Congratulations to Stephanie Sareyani and the students of the Shelter Island School for the wonderful display of talent and imagination shown in the 3rd annual Student Art Show at the library. The Friends of the Shelter Island Library sponsored the opening reception on Friday night and for all of those who were not able to attend, the exhibit will be in place through May. Unfortunately the free-standing and ceramic pieces had to be removed since the community room tables are in great demand on a daily basis. We hope to display these pieces in the display case upstairs at a later date.

Please visit the show before the end of May!

Chair, The Friends of the
Shelter Island Public Library

Goody, goody

To the Editor:
Thank you to the anonymous donor of “The Classic Hoagy Carmichael” 3-cassette boxed set with booklet; “The American Woman’s Cook Book” published in 1945, which includes a recipe for Sausages & Corn Au Gratin (no thanks but what an interesting collection of cookery); and “Mrs. Beeton’s All About Cookery,” Fourteenth Impression, 1971 (how to dress a chicken after it’s been plucked and other instructions). Hours of pleasurable reading and listening.
Long live the goody pile!

Shelter Island