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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

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Torturous
To the Editor:
I strongly encourage the Town Board not to require home sellers to update septic systems to I/A systems.

It is not a simple process like screwing on a smoke or CO detector or adjusting a pool gate. I applied using a professional’s services back in December 2017 and finally received my county health department permit this week, 13 months later.

The county’s grant website is also cumbersome and problematic. I tried several times to fill out the form, only to get an error message stating that my property does not exist. I tried using different variations of my street name, both with and without punctuation and different abbreviations.

After a week of persistent calls to the help line, I finally got a live person who said I was typing too fast! She instructed me to type slowly — one letter at a time — and then a drop down box would appear. She then warned me not to select “NY” (state) because, oddly, that would not work.

Once I was able to enter my address, I had to upload several forms, including proof of homeowner’s insurance, latest tax bill, etc., which required a lot of preparatory work. I am fairly computer savvy, but the process was torturous. No wonder so few permits and grants have actually been issued.

In addition, some of the county’s permit requirements, such as requiring me to excavate 5-feet deep so as to move my water line a few feet laterally, are a total waste of my money (and town grant money) and do nothing to protect me, the ground water or Menantic Creek.

While I think I/A systems are good overall for the Island in houses occupied year-round, from what I have been reading, they can be problematic for seasonal houses since they need to be restarted if not used for a certain amount of time.

Tying I/A systems to property transfers would be disastrous for residents, brokers and builders, not to mention the hit the Community Preservation Fund would take.
PETER S. REICH,  Former councilman, Town of Shelter Island

A cartel controls
To the Editor:
Today I want to comment on a theme that I have written about in years past, going back to the early 1990s — moorings on Shelter Island.

Since I am limited in length that you allow letters to the editor, I shall make my point while I skip much of the history.

What has happened on Shelter Island regarding the mooring industry compared to other locations under similar circumstances shows what happens when a cartel controls the means and ways. The strangle hold by the principals, with the supporting actors of government, has stymied growth to what could have been a robust and locally developed sector.

By controlling access and re-writing ordinances to protect the cartel’s interest, while ignoring the public trust doctrine, we have arrived at this point with a weak ability to respond to the changing environment facing our waters.

Now, in one last act of greed, the seeds are set for the greatest coup of all, the sellout and transfer of our local native rights to a bidder with the highest offer. As written in Town Code and amended with the help of the cartel is the following: “In the event that the permittee is a business which is conveyed, any commercial mooring permits held by that business shall not be assigned or transferred to the new owner without approval of the Town Board after a public hearing, who shall give due consideration to, among other things, all the factors listed for consideration for new commercial mooring applications.”

The potential for permanent displacement of local control is leaking into the minds of our local officials who are being seduced by what they see as inherent rights but — were only gained by ginning the system for so many years.
BERT WAIFE, Shelter Island

Hands off CPF
To the Editor:
The Community Preservation Fund (CPF) has been a uniquely effective program. It is simple, efficient and economical. You raise the money through the 2-percent tax and use it to buy land for open space, which, in turn, adds to the quality of life and helps protect the water supply.

Unfortunately, politicians salivate at a pool of money and look for new ways to get their hands on it and spend it. Such is the case with the CPF.

First it was for water research, then for affordable housing. What will be next? With constraints on how fast individual property taxes can be raised — Shelter Island spending increased more than 10 percent and taxes more than 5 percent last year — the CPF presents an attractive source of money to be tapped. Gordon Gooding, chairman of the CPF, is correct when he characterizes this as a “honey pot” for new programs not listed in the original legislation.

With these new ways to spend the CPF funds, not surprisingly our local and county governments want to get on the slippery slope of increasing the tax. What they fail to understand is that the new programs are diluting the original intent of the CPF and, at some point, will have a negative impact on real estate values.

I say to our Town board and County government: Leave the tax alone and keep your hands off the money.
DON BINDLER, Shelter Island

Keep Taylor’s Island access
To the Editor:
This week’s edition of the Reporter reports that the Town is drafting a new agreement to replace an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to improve public access to Taylor’s Island. This is welcome news to many Shelter Islanders who enjoy visits to the island. Taylor’s Island, and its restored Smith-Taylor cabin, is the crown jewel of our park and recreation areas.

According to the Taylor’s Island website, public access is primarily by water. However, water access is seasonal and therefore impractical for most Islanders during the “off season.” I encourage our Town Board members to work with TNC and the Town Board-appointed Taylor’s Island Preservation and Management Committee to secure an agreement that ensures year-round, reasonable public access to Taylor’s Island.
RICH O’HALLORAN, Shelter Island

Card of thanks
To the Editor:
The family of William A. Anderson Jr. would like to thank our many friends, family members, employees, co-workers, customers, the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, the East End Church of Christ and Our Lady of the Isle parish for all the food, flowers, cards, calls, text messages, transportation and visits.

In addition, a special thank you to the Shelter Island Fire Department, Ambulance Corps and Police for their continuous quick response and expert and compassionate help.

Where would our family have been without the Shelter Island community support? May God’s blessings be upon each and everyone.

A memorial service and reception will be held at the Presbyterian Church on Saturday, April 20, at 11 a.m.
THE ANDERSON AND PYERS FAMILIES, Shelter Island

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