To the Editor:
I am writing to cancel my loyal subscription to the Reporter. I subscribed to the Reporter 38 years ago for local news, not to see the office of the president and other national offices trashed through words and offensive cartoons. There are plenty of national print and televised organizations that already do that very well. I wish you would concentrate more on local issues which directly affect Islanders.
This is America, so of course you have the right to your views and can print what you want. I only ask that you also respect my views and print this letter.
PETER S. REICH
To the Editor:
My wife and I bought a weekend home on Shelter Island in 2003. We come out regularly throughout the year. I am astounded that this once collegial community has been ripped apart by the short-term rental (STR) issue. I place much of the blame at the doorstep of the Town Board.
Certainly the STR discussion is bound to have passionate supporters on each side of the equation. However, our board has to take responsibility for creating an incendiary landscape. I have seen board members denigrate people with profanity in one case and condescension and arrogance on many other occasions. In one instance a member, thinking the camera was off, began to mock and criticize a highly respected Shelter Islander who had just addressed the meeting. In another instance a different member sarcastically said, referring to short-term renters, “Who are we saving here?”
My wife and I do not rent out our home. My interest in this issue was catalyzed by the boorish behavior of elected officials who are expected to represent and respect all Shelter Islanders. My impression is that this board went out of its way to demonize the rental contingent.
I have allied with the short-term renters because I feel the board overextended its authority in trying to regulate something that has worked well and served our neighbors for 150 years. It provides these people with badly needed income to give them the ability to live in their own homes. These are not elitists with multimillion dollar salaries, bonuses and pensions.
I was flabbergasted by the board member who catalyzed this whole process, saying the board would force compliance with proposed restrictions with an enforcement officer and spyware.
Who will pay this added cost? Also, that same member said: “I want to know who lives behind me, in front of me, to the left of me and to the right of me”.
If he and the other board members get their way with the proposed two-week minimum, he can be assured there will be nobody around him because they will no longer be able to afford to live on Shelter Island.
I plead with the Town Board to do the right thing and respect the Island renters. Over regulation is not the order of the day.
JOHN M. COSGROVE
Two weeks not the answer
To the Editor:
Some on the Island rent their homes because they need the help that the income provides.
There are others who do it because they are not using their property at the time and would prefer to get some return. Others might do it to help a fellow Islander who has family members or guests arriving for a private party or a wedding who need the extra space.
There are residents who might not care in the same way that stores, services and tradesmen who depend upon the summer trade survive. These though are part of the allure for renters, second homeowners and some full-time owners alike.
Reasons for renting aside, the winner is the Island economy, the town and the support personnel on the Island. I, for one, would prefer not to be faced with service cutbacks or potentially higher taxes because the Island is getting reduced income from fewer tourists visiting.
A minimum rental period of two weeks is not the answer. Realtors, owners and other local areas alike have said that there is not the demand to sustain such a market. Just hoping for the longer rentals does not mean that market can be found.
Most people looking to rent a house for a long weekend simply would not visit. More home owners would be forced to compete for dwindling two-week rentals, with additional competition from properties on the North and South forks.
Competition like that provokes price wars. Those that need the income would have to rent more often. There is a potential for more party houses as prospective tenants do not get fully screened.
I don’t want raucous people on the Island, renters who would trash my house or be inconsiderate to others. Along with everyone I want to feel safe. I do however feel that there are plenty of people who do respect the Island and it’s ways, my property and are considerate of others. People do spend money in the local economy. The thing is that they only have a long weekend or a week to spare.
To the Editor:
It is bad enough the national politics is giving me PTSD, but, local politics on Shelter Island is out of control.
It seems many people arrive on Shelter Island and want the gates locked. For over 100 years, short-term rentals for Island families have been the norm.
The boat could not stay afloat without the help of second homeowners, who pay incredible school taxes when they have no children in the school, but can rent their homes for a short period to help with these taxes. Think about it.
No extreme legislation, but please just some good old common sense. If you see an accident about to happen, call 911. Hopefully, for this issue, 911 will not be necessary
I’m very disappointed in our Town Board. They do not seem to be the least bit interested in doing their job for the people of Shelter Island, but seem to have their own agenda. I will never, never forgive them for letting St. Gabe’s disappear from the face of the earth.
Think people, think!
Float the economy
To the Editor:
The tourism dollars summer visitors bring to the Island float our economy for the entire year and support every Island business. Without weekly rentals, Island businesses cannot survive.
Don’t over-regulate our beautiful community to the ends of the earth.
Sign our petition at change.org, Search: “Support Shelter Island’s Short Term Rentals, a 150 Year Old Tradition.”
DAVID F. KLENAWICUS