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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Deion Sanders, the only man to have played in both a World Series and a Super Bowl, was born in Fort Myers, Florida.

The first lineup of Fleetwood Mac made its live debut at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival in the United Kingdom.

Actress Vivian Leigh, perhaps best known to American audiences for her starring roles in “Gone With the Wind” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” died in the Britain.

Tommy Lucchese, crime boss and a founding member of the mafia in the United States, succumbed to a brain tumor at home in Lido Beach on Long Island.

The cost of a movie ticket throughout the United States averaged $1.25.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Zoning amendments set to kick in

There was a day on the Island when zoning codes were unnecessary and neighbors reached agreements with a handshake. But 50 years ago, the Town Board adopted 17 amendments to its established zoning code.

Among the changes  set to kick in during August 1967 were a provision that lot sizes for residences in A residential areas had to be a minimum of 40,000 square feet with front setbacks changed from 100 to 125 feet. In residential C areas, lots had to be at least 30,000 square feet, up from the previously required 20,000 square feet.

Developers with plans that varied from the new requirements and had projects underway were allowed to continue provided they completed work within three years.

POSTSCRIPT: Time has taken its toll with more changes to the zoning, some of which has been dictated by environmental concerns, particularly related to the town’s fragile aquifer.


Stop and speed signs an issue

A move to maintain a 25 mph speed limit on Shelterlands Path was defeated by the Town Board during the summer of 1987 while members delayed action on a proposal to place a stop sign on Shore Road near Prospect Avenue.

Both were considered controversial, with resident Mal Nevel questioning whether the town had any authority to put up stop signs on county roads. Supervisor Jeffrey Symes agreed that was a question that had to be researched before the discussion could continue.

As for the 25 mph speed limit, only Mr. Simes thought that was reasonable with the rest of the Town Board defeating the measure.

POSTSCRIPT: As Islanders and regular visitors know, there’s not a single red light on the Island, but there are stop signs. As for speed limits, much of the Island is posted for 35 mph speeds, while there are some areas such as New York Avenue in the Heights that are posted for a 25 mph speed limit.


Opposition to access faces Fresh Pond land plan

Twenty years ago, neighbors protested a plan for Peconic Land Trust and the town, to protect 11.5 acres of Shorewood open space and wetlands because they believed two parcels straddling an undeveloped lot on the north of Fresh Pond would be used for public access to the pond.

Supervisor Hoot Sherman said the town favored the acquisition because it would protect open space and groundwater resources while providing access to Fresh Pond.

But one neighbor argued public access would change the character of the area. Since the town already owned a landing that provided access, she argued there was no reason for further acquisition of what she said was mostly wetlands.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the focus on Fresh Pond is the quality of the water and neighbors have formed an association and agreed to chip in for another round of testing to determine whether or not swimming in Fresh Pond in safe.


DEC OKs 4-poster pesticide

The effort to deploy 4-poster tick-killing stations on Shelter Island overcame a major hurdle 10 years ago when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation registered the use of the tickicide permethrin for restricted use here and on Fire Island. Both were sites for the Cornell University-Cornell Cooperative Extension pilot program.

There were 60 units deployed on Shelter Island during the three-year program.

POSTSCRIPT: When a member of the Deer & Tick Committee August 2 sought a discussion on a resolution he wanted to introduce calling for tests that could reveal long-range effects of permethrin, he couldn’t win a second vote to support opening a discussion.

Yet earlier in the year, the committee had talked about a study but took no steps to push for it.

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