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New irrigation law put to the test

JULIE LANE PHOTO Summer Building Department intern Kiera Nissen, working on implementation of the newly minted irrigation law, gave the Town Board a summary Tuesday of progress she’s made.
Summer Building Department intern Kiera Nissen, working on implementation of the newly minted irrigation law, gave the Town Board a summary Tuesday of progress she’s made.


No, it’s that’s not a Shelter Island Bucks baseball score blowout. Rather, it’s the number of permits that have been approved to use existing irrigation systems versus two that have been denied because of tests revealing excessive chloride levels.

That’s consistent with high water use, Building Department summer intern Kiera Nissen told the Town Board at its Tuesday work session.

There are 56 owners of existing irrigation systems who have failed to seek permits allowing them to upgrade and use the systems since the new Irrigation Law was implemented earlier this year.

Another 29 people have submitted salinity tests in the process of getting their permits and 13 said they don’t plan to use the systems this year.

Supervisor Jim Dougherty cautioned those who don’t plan to use their systems that if they allow two years to go by without gaining permits, they would be on the same footing as those seeking to install systems.

Some of those who said they wouldn’t be pursuing a permit this year told Ms. Nissen they want to see how they fare this summer without watering. Others said they didn’t plan to be on Shelter Island this summer.

Ms. Nissen said people concerned about having a green lawn tend to over-water. She suggested they could easily cut back and achieve the same end. Lawns need less than an inch of water a week to remain green, she said.


Police Chief Jim Read appealed to residents and business owners to register with the Department’s CodeRed system that enables them to list telephone numbers where they can be reached in cases of emergencies.

A number of residents and business owners have registered, but too many have not, the chief said. The system is designed to inform people in the event of a major storm or hurricane, but can also be used for other emergencies.

A recent missing person alert sent calls to registrants at 6 a.m. one morning to check their premises before leaving for work. When the person was located about three hours later, another alert went out announcing it.

A test of the CodeRed will take place on Tuesday, July 7, at 7 p.m.

Residents can register either through the Police Department’s website or the town’s website.

“It is a good system heading into the hurricane season,” the chief said.


Town Board members got an update on an early June meeting of the Deer & Tick Committee with local hunters aimed at determining what would motivate them to kill more deer during the hunting season.

It’s clear, Committee Chairman Mike Scheibel said, that most local hunters don’t want to see the town hire professional sharpshooters.

“We don’t have a real good feel for how many deer are here,” said Chief Read, who coordinates hunting on town-owned parcels.

At the same time, both men agreed numbers are too high to effectively reduce incidences of tick-borne diseases.

Deer are at their highest level sat this time of year, since does gave birth to fawns in the spring, Mr. Scheibel said.

Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he thought that while hunters can’t be rewarded on the basis of specific deer kills, the incentive program should be “ratcheted up” to give hunters more reason to actively participate.


Dory owner Jack Kiffer tried to entice the Town Board to endorse a July 25 dance in the park across from his restaurant and bar to get Shelter Island on the map with special events , similar to those in surrounding communities.

Chamber of Commerce president Art Williams, while calling the idea “interesting,” said it came to his organization too late this year for the Chamber to get involved.

Councilman Paul Shepherd was concerned about where it would be promoted and how many people might show up and have to be accommodated. Councilman Peter Reich suggested such events would be better held in early spring and autumn.

Mr. Kiffer said he was prepared to bear the expenses of bringing in a band and arranging for a dance floor in the park, so he wasn’t asking the town for money — just support to hold the event.

He’ll likely go forward on his own this year, holding the event on the Dory dock and then reorganize his request for next year.