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Friendly deal: Town could buy property from Quakers

ANNETTE HINCKLE PHOTO George Fox Lane, which is close to the landlocked parcel the town is considering for purchase and preservation.
ANNETTE HINCKLE PHOTO George Fox Lane, which is close to the landlocked parcel the town is considering for purchase and preservation.

Shelter Island is on track to pick up 4.5 acres of undeveloped property for $25,000.

At the last Town Board meeting of 2016 on December 28, the board unanimously passed a resolution to set a public hearing for January 27 on purchasing the lot between Burns and Ram Island roads “from the Shelter Island Meeting of Religious Society of Friends for the bargain sale price of $25,000.”

If the resolution passes after the public hearing — and there seems to be no opposition so far — Community Preservation Fund (CPF) money will be used to purchase the parcel. The CPF is funded via a 2 percent real estate transfer tax and used to preserve open space.

The property is “landlocked” with no road access, according to Gordon Gooding, chairman of the Community Preservation Advisory Board, which identifies, vets and recommends purchases through the CPF.

Mr. Gooding further described the lot as “woodlands and some water, with a small section that could possibly be built on. With the bargain price, we just found it was a no brainer. Better to take it off the market rather than someone spend money for it for their backyard.”

As Annette Hinkle reported in September on a story on the origins of the naming of George Fox Lane, the lot for sale is part of a parcel bought in 1973 by Dr. George Nicklin of Garden City, who was a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and educator. A Quaker who helped found numerous educational and professional institutions, he died in 2007.

Dr. Nicklin spent summers on the Island and established the Quaker Meeting that still meets in the warmer months on Sylvester Manor property. Town Assessor Quinn Karpeh noted that Dr. Nicklin donated a 13-acre parcel abutting George Fox Lane to Friends World College, which subsequently subdivided it for housing.

The Shelter Island Friends was given title to the adjacent 4.5-acre parcel in 2011, representing the remainder of Dr. Nicklin’s original land purchase.

Mr. Gooding said the advisory board he chairs has new membership and certain changes are coming. In the future, people seeking information about the CPF will be able to contact Mr. Gooding and Vice Chairman Mike Laspia directly through their email addresses, rather than go through the town’s information email address.

The advisory committee is also undertaking a review of all stewardship plans to discover if it is conforming to its responsibilities, Mr. Gooding said.

Part of the CPF’s brief is to maintain the properties purchased to reserve. There have been complaints in the past that the CPF has not taken the stewardship role as seriously as it should. One particular example is Tarkettle Road resident William Dickerson, who has asked the town and the advisory board repeatedly to maintain property adjoining his, a 1.2-acre site known as Lawnsdale on Dickerson Creek.

Mr. Dickerson has said tree trimming is needed to keep leaves and twigs out of his pool and to restore his rightful property line.