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Year in Review: Community service for breaking the code

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO Councilman Paul Shepherd proposed the idea of sentencing some violators of the building code to community service.

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO | Councilman Paul Shepherd proposed the idea of sentencing some violators of the building code to community service.

In 2015, Gary Baddeley was the first Islander sentenced to community service for building code violations.

The Building Department found that Mr. Baddeley had ordered construction on his South Ferry Road property without filing plans with the town and had built past a buffer into environmentally sensitive wetlands.

At a late September Town Board work session, Councilman Paul Shepherd came up with the idea of community service “to take from a rich guy what he does not want to give — time.”

Mr. Shepherd admitted his idea was “radical,” but said that even though “I pretty much come down in favor of the applicants whenever possible, as long as they don’t do anything stupid, this really wobbles on that line.”

He said that Mr. Baddeley had applied for relief from restrictions, was granted them, but then broke the rules.
“[He] struck an agreement with us, and apparently deliberately walked away from it,” Mr. Shepherd said.

After his colleagues agreed, Mr. Baddeley was told to correct the infractions, pay a $5,000 fine and perform 20 hours of community service.

The board then discussed what the service should be. Mr. Baddeley’s representatives offered free skin cancer screenings for town employees — Mr. Baddeley’s wife, Sumayah Jamal, is a dermatologist — or volunteering at Mashomack.

Councilman Peter Reich and Supervisor Jim Dougherty said Mashomack, although providing great benefits to the town, was a private organization, and wouldn’t be an acceptable place for community service.

At a subsequent September meeting, members agreed that skin cancer screening was a good idea, but resident Barbara Lieblein said from the audience that community service should benefit everyone, rather than just town employees.

She suggested a notice be given to all residents who feel they might be at risk and would like to undergo screening for cancer.

A spokesperson at Town Hall said Tuesday that the town “was still working out the details of [Mr. Baddeley’s] community service.”

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