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Board hears dispute on North Ferry Road property

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | The entrance to 13 North Ferry Road.
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | The entrance to 13 North Ferry Road.

Tuesday at its work session, the Town Board turned to an agenda item —“Uses allowed in a business zone.”

The discussion was spurred by a dispute at 13 North Ferry Road, owned by Dan Calabro.

On December 17, 2014, town Building Inspector Chris Tehan sent an “Order to Remedy” to Mr. Calabro requiring him to remove trucks and materials stored on the site by his tenant, Marcello Masonry, by January 20. Just prior to the Building Department’s deadline, the property was cleaned up of dismantled automobiles, trucks, tractors and similar equipment, as well as construction supplies and debris

On April 8, Mr. Tehan advised Mr. Calabro that to maintain the site as a moving and storage and general trucking operation, he would need a special permit from the town and permission from the State Department of Transportation to install a curb cut. The curb cut was needed to provide safe egress onto the state road and minimize storm water runoff and road damage, Mr. Tehan said.

In the middle of Tuesday’s discussion, with the board going over the town code and parsing language, Police Chief Jim Read asked, “Is this a special permit hearing or a change of legislation?”

Mr. Calabro asked to be heard and said that “to this date, I, the property owner, have never been asked to come in by the town to review anything, which would have been real handy because we wouldn’t be sitting here now.” He added that the town’s actions were “highly unprofessional” and that he had been “selectively picked out because you don’t like what I have on my property.”

He reiterated that he had not been asked to explain his point of view.

Building Inspector Bill Banks said Mr. Calabro had it wrong, and was not being “truthful.”

“You can’t blame the board for not having a tea party for you and say, ‘Dan come in and let’s discuss all this,’” Mr. Banks added. “You were told, by the Building Department that the activity that’s going on that property involved getting a special permit from the Town Board and it was up to you as the owner to make an application for that special permit. You have to go to the mountain, you can’t expect the mountain to go to you.”

Robert Waife who owns a neighboring property, told the board that screening the site was needed, which is required by the town code. He said he had been worried that hazardous construction and demolition debris had been stored on the property. Mr. Marcello said there was nothing out of the ordinary stored there, but only broken concrete from septic systems and wooden forms, among other harmless debris.

A DOT application for a curb cut was approved and would be done within a month, Mr. Marcello said. It could take only a month to effectively screen the property from public view using fencing and shrubbery, he added.

In other business: Promises made, if kept, could mean smoother and safer driving for Islanders.

That was Highway superintendent Jay Card Jr.’s message to the board Tuesday. He was speaking about the Island’s representatives in Albany, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) who have pledged to grant close to $325,000 for road improvements.

Mr. Card said that Mr. Thiele had staged “a photo op” but there has not followed through on funding and Mr. LaValle has been silent on a proposed grant of $200,000. “Unless they come through” Mr. Card told the board, only some “thoroughfares and some of the worst” roads can be repaved.

On his work list, Mr. Card said, were St. Mary’s Road and School Street. Dawn Lane and a road in Montclair Colony “which are down to dirt,” Mr. Card said, will be worked on. If the promised state money arrives, Mr. Card said Winthrop Road, Shorewood Road, Osprey Lane, West Neck Road from HiLo to Bootleggers Alley, Midway Road from Lake Drive to Tarkettle and Proposed Road in Shorewood could be worked on.

“But without the funding, that’s not going to happen,” Mr. Card said.

He urged Supervisor Jim Dougherty, chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association, to ask that group to pressure the state representatives for money and offered to speak at meetings.

Mr. Dougherty said there was a lunch meeting Wednesday of the EESMA in Westhampton, but Mr. Thiele, although invited, had bowed out. Mr. Dougherty characterized Mr. Thiele as “a wonderful man and represents Shelter Island well, but Fred survives as a politician and when he has good news, he comes to our lunches, and when the news isn’t so good he’s got a prior commitment.”

The Board was also in agreement on a proposal Tuesday for a project to make a permanent seawall for Taylor’s Island, a project that will cost about $350,000 from town funds, but will be totally reimbursed by the state.

Resident Vincent Novak spoke during the public comment part of the meeting, suggesting that web links about protection from tick-borne illnesses and town sites be put on the back of North Ferry tickets.