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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

Albert DeSalvo, who confessed and later recanted to being the Boston Strangler, was convicted of numerous crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment, but none of the crimes for which he was sentenced were specific to the Boston Strangler case.

Thirty-nine Republic of Korea Navy men were killed when their patrol boat was sunk by cannon fire from the shores of North Korea when their boat entered North Korea’s coastal waters to try to save those aboard 70 fishing vessels who had strayed off course.

Actress Ann Sheridan, who starred with Bette Davis in “The Man Who Came to Dinner” was in Los Angeles filming the CBS comedy, “Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats” when she succumbed to esophageal and liver cancer.

Peggy Fleming secured her fourth successive U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Omaha, Nebraska.

And on Shelter Island …

50 YEARS AGO
Town Board raises pay, benefits

In late January 1967, the Town Board increased salaries for its workers, establishing an hourly rate of $2.50. The Town Board established a 30-day sick leave policy and two weeks of paid vacation for all full-time elected and appointed workers.

30 YEARS AGO
Mooring plans promise new waterways law

Thirty years ago, the Mooring Advisory Committee was in the process of establishing two Dering Harbor navigational channels and the Shelter Island Yacht Club mooring area as part of a new town ordinance to provide for controlled mooring and anchorage in all Shelter Island harbors and creeks.

Among provisions being considered at the time were that registrations of all moorings with the town clerk be prominently displayed on the moorings and that mooring tackle be the responsibility of each mooring owner.

Town plans called for removing all unregistered moorings.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC) oversees mooring grids and has been working in the past couple of years to improve grids in order to maximize available space.

Much of that work was organized by former Councilman Peter Reich who was liaison to the WMAC and its members have continued working on the grid revisions.

The Town Clerk maintains a list of those seeking moorings so as they become available they can be passed on to the next person on the list.

20 YEARS AGO
Debate on highway barn reopened

As the Town Board in January 1997 was moving toward endorsing building a new highway barn at the recycling center, neighbors along Bowditch and Menantic roads raised their voices in protest, reopening what was already a heated debate.

Neighbors worried about increased noise and traffic if, instead of rebuilding the barn on the Route 114 site where it stood, a new building was constructed in their area.

The Town Board subsequently met with Alfred Kilb who had been elected highway superintendent and would be appointed public works commissioner.

Mr. Kilb said he thought his job would be made easier by having both the barn and Recycling Center on the same property. He projected that with plantings, within a few years, neighbors wouldn’t be aware of the new building.

POSTSCRIPT: The highway barn is on the northeast corner of the Recycling Center property and neighbors are silent these days about the operations, lending credence to Mr. Kilb’s prediction 20 years earlier.

10 YEARS AGO
Floating zone legislation for affordables moves toward hearing

The Town Board, in an effort to try to create affordable housing on the Island, was in the process 10 years ago of creating floating zones that wouldn’t be subject to the same restrictions as other housing.

A Community Housing Commission created a new code that Town Attorney Laury Dowd crafted into draft legislation that was to be reviewed by the commission, the Planning Board and Town Board before being subject to a public hearing.

POSTSCRIPT: Toward the end of 2016, the first project to proceed to a public hearing was rejected by the Town Board, concluding that  it was too large for the site on which it would be constructed. The developer, Janalyn Travis-Messer complained that the town never really intended to create affordable housing, but only gave lip service to it.

Only one Town Board member, Councilman Paul Shepherd, said he thought that might be the case, while the other four defended the vote.

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