To the Editor:
Support for affordable housing in our community is growing. At the same time, a counter-current for conversion of rentable residences to lucrative short term rentals (STR) is underway. This is difficult to reconcile.
Yearly renters are people who work nearby, contribute to our social fabric, emergency services and schools. Recent reporting on the town’s pre-school financial support mentions that children who start here might stay here in school. Their parents also will be “eyes and ears” to what’s going on. If they can afford a home in a residential neighborhood, they might buy.
One only has to search Airbnb listings for the Island’s eye-popping rental rates. The July 4th weekend has rental prices in the thousands.
Does an STR owner net more than a yearly rental? If the town reopens the STR rules, their rental income and sales tax data are needed.
STR revenues that outpace yearly rentals will gradually — or rapidly — remove affordable housing from the market. STR financial data is critical for an informed decision to condone STRs in residential areas.
Are we to become a weekend drop-in “destination place” benefitting absentee investors or strive to be a community for all?
Follow the money.
Welcome to the neighborhood
To the Editor:
Shelter Island has always been fortunate, even blessed, by its location, its weather and by the wonderful people who inhabit the Island.
Numerous residents volunteer their time to serve in the Fire Department or the Emergency Medical Services, on many town committees — such as the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board — at Mashomack, on the School Board or PTA, or on countless groups that benefit senior citizens, local churches, hospitals, hospices or … well, you get the idea. Frankly, we are a community of givers and friends and it is a joy to be a part of it.
So it came as quite a shock to find a full page “Open Letter to My Neighbors on Shelter Island” in the February 21 Reporter that seemed out of synch with the image of giving and friendship. Mr. and Mrs. Gaynor are apparently new residents on Cobbetts Lane and they are so excited to join our tight community that they took out a full page ad to not only announce their arrival, but to educate us as well.
Imagine learning, at my advanced age, that “people need water to survive.” Better yet, I now know that within a mere 10 miles “there are probably about 1,000 really smart people” who can explain why water is “a precious and LIMITED resource on the Island.” I hope that 5 of them are on the Town Board!
In their letters to the Reporter. Ms. Molin and Mr. & Mrs. Koller took the time to point out that the Gaynors had every right to clear-cut their property. They did not agree with their action and they said so. In no way did they —or the rest of us “neighbors” — deserve the arrogant, condescending, rude and obnoxious “letter” from the Gaynors.
They wanted a place for their three Clydesdales and now they have it. So Shelter Island will now have its first Clydesdales, and a new couple who have a great deal to learn about how the rest of us get along.
But who knows, maybe they’ll turn out to be a real peach!
To the Editor:
I would like to add to the conversation regarding access to Taylor’s Island as reported in the Reporter (“Dispute arises over road access to Taylor’s Island,” February 7).
In August 2018, a friend and I attempted to reach Taylor’s by bicycle. We reached the curve in the road just before Taylor’s when we were harassed by a blond man on a bicycle. He told us we were trespassing and must leave immediately. I replied that Taylor’s belonged to everyone and we had the right to be there. He replied that it was private property and he had been installed by the homeowners to police access. Instead of continuing the argument we pedaled our way back to Route 114.
This encounter brought many things to my mind, including the global issue of property rights to beaches, woods and nature.
Who is preventing access to Taylor’s via roadway, the homeowners along this stretch, Mashomack or the town? And if access is prohibited, why? Doesn’t Taylor’s (and Mashomack) belong to all of us as citizens?
The town attorney has advised me that the road is controlled by The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit organization.
I understand the need to limit vehicle traffic on rural roads, in this case a one-way dirt road.
I propose that this road in question be open to residents’ vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. But even those of us who do not reside there should be allowed access.
No harm will come to nature. It’s a beautiful stretch of rural roadway that leads to the gem that is Taylor’s Island.
Card of thanks
To the Editor:
On Sunday, February 24, my wife was unresponsive, so I immediately called 911. Phil Power and three other EMTs spent an hour trying to revive her, but to no avail. I thank them so much.
I also want to thank Police Officers Dave McGayhey and Andrew Graffagnino, who spent hours with me waiting for the Medical Examiner to arrive. Thanks so much to you all.