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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


The human element
To the Editor:
In reading the article in last week’s Reporter (“Island mostly unaffected by fed shutdown – so far”), I noted a critical absence of any reference to the degree to which the Island’s residents have been and will likely be impacted.

Shelter Island is not just infrastructure and services — indeed, several important stakeholders comprise the fabric of our town, and to suggest that the “Island [is] mostly unaffected” is misleading in its omission of the human element.

I am a federal employee and am aware of at least two other Island residents who have either been furloughed or are working without pay. I surmise there may be others in our Island demographic who have been similarly impacted, such as weekenders, summer renters or recurring visitors.

If the federal shutdown is protracted, as many in Washington are anticipating, the temporary financial impact on we federal employees will be significant and will certainly be reflected in our spending habits.

Without an immediate end to the stalemate in sight, I am already curtailing arbitrary or unnecessary spending, as many other government workers are doing, and the degree to which our local businesses, tourism, summer rentals, etc. suffer the economic ramifications will at least in some measure be contingent on how long we are out of work and unpaid.

I caution against any inclination toward complacency when considering the impact of the federal shutdown on our town and on its residents and not just on its infrastructure and services.

Shelter Island

Reserving our rights
To the Editor:
Dering Harbor proposes a May 1 through Columbus Day ban on property maintenance, Saturdays and Sundays. As many of us work Monday through Friday, complying with this law is impossible.

The village refers to this usurpation (look it up) as a “Construction Law” amendment but doesn’t want to use the phrase “six-month ban on weekend lawn mowing, maintenance and gardening.” The logic reads as follows: “Construction work” requires a permit. “Construction work” now includes property maintenance that requires “machinery” (a.k.a. lawn mower … but don’t use that term … no, no, no…). A reasonable person can therefore conclude that property maintenance now requires permits under Local Law 4.

What? I need a permit to mow my lawn? You mean the same wordsmith care taken when the village banned snow plowing 16 hours daily and all-day Sundays in a previous draft? This makes sense only if you review recently passed Local Law 3, adopting Orwellian-era penalties for retroactive zoning violations. I can just imagine counsel shaking their head manipulating the legalese cherry-picker catapult to claim the opposite, but notice how the code mangles definitions.

If this sounds absurd, it is.

The village has decided the long-suffering homeowner can perform their own work for two hours maximum on non-holiday Saturday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. two-thirds of the year. I kid you not. (Darn that Colby … we gave him 120 … er … minutes … and heralded our benevolence with a “carve-out!”) Granted, the mayor admits never to have mowed her own lawn, but somehow determined two hours is adequate for me, on a 3-acre lot, to mow mine. If I sprint in dry weather, I could perhaps finish the trim in 90 minutes (never mind the rest of the lawn and clean-up), but if the temperature hits 90 I’ll just keel over after 60, call it a day, and let the day-lilies, daisies and dandelions grow around me.

The Village Board (Morgan, Parcells, Kelly, Benacerraf, Kelsey) and its Southampton counsel (O’Shea, Marcincuk & Bruyn) meet again January 12 hoping to pass this “amendment” in the stone, dead, cold of winter. (I’m sure the board hopes it doesn’t snow.)

I urge them to reconsider as I reserve my right as a New York State homeowner to perform reasonable maintenance. If a neighbor has a problem with any “noise,” just let me know and I’ll manage a better time. This is a bad law and counsel should know better.

I will continue to reserve my rights as a homeowner under the New York State Constitution.

Shelter Island

Added value
To the Editor:
My name is John Spinelli. I’m the new general manager of the Bucks and will be working with Frank Emmett, Brian Cass and Carol Galligan.

We’re ready to start our housing push for the year. This year we lost several families who hosted every year because they felt they need a break for a year or two, which is well understood.

The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League is offering a $200 a month per player stipend in 2019 to help offset the cost associated with hosting. We feel this incentive, along with the free week of baseball camp — a $950 value — to any child or grandchildren of a host, will surely help our cause. But we need to get the word out there. Let your friends and family know about the offer and the great fun and opportunities in store by hosting a Buck.

For more information please contact Frank Emmett at (631) 487-7997.

Shelter Island

Dealer’s choice
To the Editor:
Considering the dearth of lightheartedness in the current body politic, I feel an opportunity for a little levity was missed when recently reporting on the departure of our highway superintendent.

The headline could have been: “Town Fails to Make Deal with Card — Shuffle at Highway Department Likely.”

Shelter Island