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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The first video recorded session of a Shelter Island Town Board occurred on May 7, 2004.
The first video recorded session of a Shelter Island Town Board occurred on May 7, 2004.

Clouded title delays Heights Post Office

It was in May 1964 when construction on a new Heights Post Office was suddenly halted. Seems the owner of the land being leased for the building found that a deed change that had occurred 30 years earlier was being questioned by a bank involved in the mortgage.

The property owner, Alexander Kueller of Thermo Consttruction Company, who had won the bid to lease the building to the Post Office, said early construction had been privately financed, but  he needed the bank mortgage to continue the construction. He predicted that the situation would be quickly resolved.

POSTSCRIPT: Islanders at both the Heights and Center Post Offices love their individual identities, but a few have suggested that if only a single Post Office existed on the Island, it might eliminate some of the problems resulting when mail is mis-addressed, often because of faulty lists companies purchase.

Board postpones county dredging

In an  unusual twist, the Town Board opted in the spring of 1984 to postpone planned dredging at the mouth of Dickerson Creek because of a local controversy over dock construction and its impact. The town’s Environmental Conservation Council recommended a full study of the area before any dredging could occur. In announcing the delay on dredging, Supervisor George Kontje said the county would instead advance the timing of its work at Menantic Creek and address Dickerson Creek the following year. “We’re not cancelling the dredging project,” the supervisor said, just delaying it.

POSTSCRIPT: In today’s world, more often there’s competition to get various areas dredged since the county is hard-pressed to keep up with requests.

West Neck, HPOC debate water

In May of 1994, approximately 50 customers of the then privately owned West Neck Water District were debating the pros and cons of the town taking over the operation. At the same time, the Suffolk County Water Authority was courting the Heights Property Owners Corporation, trying to convince decision-makers there to hook up to its system. Both situations were debated extensively before decisions were made.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the town operates the West Neck Water District while the HPOC continues its own water operations sans SCWA.

TV coverage begins for Town Board

The Shelter Island Association took the initiative back in May 2004 to install camera equipment in Town Hall chambers to video tape Town Board meetings.

The recordings were available on Channel 22.  An account of the first recorded meeting showed  it lasted 90 minutes as Town Board members dealt with an agenda that included adoption of new access fees for the West Neck Water District; a rise in income levels for seniors to obtain property tax decreases; and a debate over allowing a waiver from the wetlands code to enable Angelo Piccozzi to remove underground fuel storage tanks from a Bridge Street property. Town Board members agreed the camera made no difference to the way they conduct business.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, the Town Board meeting room has undergone an audio makeover with the installlation of new equipment and there’s talk about enabling members of various boards and committees to access occasional meetings from remote locations. Some effort in that direction has taken place, though members can’t vote unless they are on a video feed and their location has been advertised in advance so others in the area can  be present at the site where members are broadcasting.

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