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New well planned for Goat Hill

John Hallman got approval from the Town Board to bore holes at Goat Hill to determine the best place to site a new well for the West Neck Water District.

A need for a new well on town-owned land at Goat Hill prompted John Hallman to ask the Town Board for permission to bore three or four holes at the site to determine the best placement.

Mr. Hallman, who is operator and manager of the West Neck Water District, told the Town Board at its December 11 work session it would likely take about two years before a new well could be functioning and estimated the cost would be $100,000, with payment coming from West Neck Water revenues.

He rejected a suggestion from Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr. to consider putting the new well at Ice Pond Park, saying that runoff from New York Avenue would jeopardize the well.

Mr. Hallman’s plan calls for swapping out two existing wells in favor of the new well. The new well would be placed out of the way of the Shelter Island Country Club’s golf course so it would have no impact on play.

The two existing wells can’t keep pace with the demand for water from West Neck customers, Mr. Hallman said. The Town Board agreed it’s a step that should be taken and gave Mr. Hallman the go-ahead to bore the test sites.

Councilman Albert Dickson challenged his Town Board colleagues to adopt more stringent efforts to replace old septic systems with the nitrogen-reducing systems.

Currently, the town requires the so called “I/A systems” for new construction of a house of more than 1,500 square feet. But the Town Board agreed not to mandate that requirement for those building “starter houses” on the Island.

Citing Town Engineer John Cronin’s advice that nitrogen levels are increasing every year, Mr. Dickson charged that the board’s actions to date are failing to keep pace to require more people to upgrade to the nitrogen-reducing systems.

He suggested that transfers of property should mandate that the new owners install nitrogen-reducing septic systems.

Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. said, with the state now offering grants for the systems, the process becomes more complicated. Some who applied for grants from the town and county have pulled applications over uncertainty of what they would have to pay before receiving repayment.

For others, there were complications because lots were too small to separate wells from septic systems as required by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

The board decided to ask the Water Quality Improvement Projects Advisory Board to further study what’s happening before trying to incorporate more requirements into the Town Code.

Councilman Paul Shepherd predicted that, once the grant payments are worked out, people will “begin to chase the money” and more systems will start to be installed around the Island.

In other business, the Town Board:
• Agreed to adapt the language in Town Code to assure asbestos wasn’t being dumped at the Recycling Center and steps were being taken to protect neighbors’ properties when demolition of homes was being done.
• Agreed to a request from Animal Control Officer Beau Payne and Police Chief Jim Read to purchase a new vehicle for Mr. Payne.
• Delayed for further consideration a request by Mr. Dickson to hold one work session a month in the evening to make it more accessible for students.