At its work session Tuesday, the Town Board discussed requiring all commercial property owners to formally submit plans for development — a process called site plan review. Shelter Island is the only municipality on the East End lacking one.
Town Attorney Laury Dowd explained that site plan review includes requiring owners to outline the uses of the property and detailed descriptions of everything from parking, trash, signage and more.
The issue has come to a head ,Supervisor Jim Dougherty said, because “Route 114, north and south of the Center, is becoming an eyesore and maybe we have to be a little more careful in our review of proposed projects. We want to be respectful of people, but we want to meet our responsibilities.”
Two properties in particular have caught the board’s attention and the need for action. One is a proposed storage facility at 18 North Ferry Road under construction by John Sieni. The town issued a building permit on February 11 and concrete was poured.
But a stop work order has been issued, since, according to the Building Department, the original permit “was issued in error” because the development “constitutes expansion of a pre-existing, non-conforming use.”
The other property in question is just down the street, 13 North Ferry Road, owned by Dan Calabro and leased to Marcello Masonry. The board has discussed this site several times over the last several months because of its unsightly appearance, and noise. Recently board heard complaints about the operation of a concrete grinding machine on the premises.
Resident Craig Wood said the board should act with caution and “think this through before we make another hurdle for commercial properties.”
Mr. Wood noted that he was neighbor of the two properties on North Ferry Road. He suggested an expansion of the business zone away from Route 114, where it is currently concentrated. He agreed with Supervisor Dougherty that Route 114 has become an eyesore “and that’s what we’re showing all our visitors.”
There was a suggestion from the audience about instituting a town architectural review board. Mr. Dougherty responded that “I’ve raised that a couple of times and been described as the Bernie Sanders of Shelter Island. It’s a tough sell, believe me.
Councilman Paul Shepherd said that an architectural review board “can strangle a place.”
Councilwoman Chris Lewis said she was in favor of site plan review. Mr. Dougherty, before winding up the discussion to be discussed later, said “I think we’re a little over due on it.”
In other business: The town’s cell tower consultant, Albert Tagliaferri of The Center for Municipal Solutions in Westchester County, briefed the board on tests conducted Tuesday at the proposed site of a tower on Cobbett’s Lane. Mr. Tagliaferri said Deer Park’s Elite Towers had conducted tests with a crane transmitting signals from 120, 100 and 80 feet and took photos from various locations on the Island to show how the tower would appear. It will most likely be a “flagless- flagpole,” the consultant said, with all antennas contained inside the pole.
Mr. Tagliaferri will report back to the board in about two weeks when he’s received data from Elite towers.
Councilwoman Mary Dudley reported on a meeting of helicopter pilots, aircraft providers and community members held in Melville recently on “noise abetment.”
Curfews put in place last summer banning helicopter traffic from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. into or out of East Hampton airport, and so called “noisy” aircraft from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m., will begin May 1 and run though September 30, Ms. Dudley reported. Also, the aircraft services are proposing a new route that will fly over “unpopulated areas” as much as possible.
Over all traffic in helicopters was down 6 percent last summer over 2014, but seaplane traffic spiked 54 percent.
Ms. Dudley urged Islanders to continue to lodge complaints via the East Hampton Airport’s website. “Keeping your voice going on this is the right thing to do,” she added.
Councilwoman Chris Lewis said she had “exciting news” on the workforce-housing front. At a meeting of the Community Housing Board, Island real estate professional Janalyn Travis-Messer has proposed a site to build a structure that could house a family and also include an attached apartment for a single person.
The project is still in an early stage, but “it has a lot of potential,” Ms. Lewis said.