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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Charlie Chaplin launched his last film, “A Countess from Hong Kong,” in the United Kingdom.

Segregationist Lester Maddox was sworn in as governor of Georgia.

“The Milton Berle Show” aired its final episode on ABC.

Actor Lee Marvin divorced Elizabeth Eberling after 14 years of marriage.

The Doors released their debut album, “The Doors.”

And on Shelter Island …

Court reserves decision on suit against appeals board

State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Cromarty in January 1967 reserved judgment on a suit against the Island’s Zoning Board of Appeal that had granted permission for expansion of a restaurant-motel complex on Winthrop Road.

At issue then for the Dering Harbor Corp. was that the ZBA’s ruling failed to specify the reasons for the turn down. Some argued at the time that the judge could have resolved the issue by asking the ZBA to clarify its reasons.

POSTSCRIPT: In today’s world, Town Attorney Laury Dowd has been exacting in insisting that ZBA members not only adhere to a check list of circumstances that allow for or deny a decision, but that they carefully stipulate the reasons for their actions that are then incorporated into written decisions.

It doesn’t mean that an applicant failing to make a case to the ZBA can’’t file an Article 78 to try to overturn the decision. But it does mean the ZBA is unlikely to lose a case on such a technicality.

Town can’t afford HPOC parcel

It was January 1987 — 12 years before the Community Preservation Fund would come into existence that the Heights Property Owners Corporation wanted to sell seven eights of an acre of land at the second tee of the town golf course at Goat Hill. But Supervisor Jeff Simes said there was too little money in the till to pay for the parcel.

POSTSCRIPT: While CPF revenues — money raised by a 2 percent tax on property purchases — have only just inched above what they were in 2015, the town does have money that in today’s world could have been put to work for such a parcel.

Sherman won’t seek another term

Hoot Sherman announced in early 1997 that he would not seek a fourth two-year term as supervisor.

“Six years is enough,” Mr. Sherman said. He had defeated Jeff Simes and Mal Nevel to win his first term in 1991; Mr. Nevel again in 1993; and Frank Beckwith in 1995.

POSTSCRIPT: Just when you began to breathe a sigh of relief that the prolonged election season was over, there are those already looking ahead to next November. Supervisor Jim Dougherty is currently serving a fifth term, having won a solid victory over Art Williams in 2015 with no indication of his plans. And others are surveying the political landscape, wondering who might make a run. Stay tuned.

Equipment purchase gets thumbs down

The first issue of January 2007 carried the front page story on the Town Board rejecting a request from Highway Superintendent Mark Ketcham to purchase a tree spade.

Toward the end of 2006, Mr. Ketcham had told the Town Board the money budgeted to his department would be insufficient to pay for all the services Islanders had come to expect. That prompted a majority of members to turn down the request for the new equipment.

POSTSCRIPT: Since Jay Card Jr. has been highway superintendent, he has echoed Mr. Ketcham’s concerns about insufficient money to handle the town’s needs, particularly related to maintenance of infrastructure. He won one battle at the end of 2016 when the Town Board overrode Supervisor Jim Dougherty’s refusal to move money from one town account to Mr. Card’s roadway maintenance account. The money will be reimbursed when grant funds are later received to cover the expenditure.

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