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Board to Bootleggers Alley mega-house plan: Fix the water

The way to win friends in the area of Bootleggers Alley and Nostrand Parkway is to demonstrate a means of improving water quality for them.

That message was voiced by Councilman Jim Colligan at Tuesday’s Town Board work session to Southampton attorney Bailey Larkin, representing Seth and Bonnie Harris.

The couple wants to demolish a house at 4 Bootleggers Alley and an accessory building and then merge two properties to build a single family house with an accessory building with a total of 11,000 square feet of living space.

The Town Board had heard the proposal on July 19.

“Water is a shared commodity,” Mr. Colligan said. Neighbors need to know that the proposed Harris house won’t further disrupt the potable water flow to the area that already has serious problems. A solution to the water issue is critical to gaining approval, he added.

That the couple plan to use the house only part time is not a consideration for the board. In assessing the project, it considers the impact it could have if it would be used full time, Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams told Ms. Larkin.

That’s because there’s no guarantee that the house might not someday be sold to others who would use it full time.

Another concern voiced by a neighbor was the look of the proposed house. She said it was not in keeping with the compatibility of the neighborhood. The entire neighborhood is not Nostrand Parkway, she added.

The board wants its own independent study of the promises the applicants’ engineer has presented with respect to water use. An inquiry by Town Engineer John Cronin will determine if it’s something he can complete quickly, or there’s a need to hire an outside engineer.

The board also wants input from the Planning Board on the project.
In other business, the Town Board:
• Advised Vincent Novak to take his concerns about the problem of tick-borne diseases to the Deer & Tick Committee at its August 7 meeting. Mr. Novak said the town should be behind a plan to eradicate all deer from the Island to protect residents from illness, especially children whose immune systems are not fully developed. Based on recent statistics showing Shelter Island as having one of the highest levels of tick-borne diseases. Mr. Novak said the town’s approach is failing, yet officials continue to use the same methods that aren’t working.
• Discussed elements of what could be a revised ordinance to deal with barking dogs; dogs not under control of their owners, and other issues. Board members are seeking an ordinance that will deal more with remediation than punishment, although they agree there needs to be a provision for punishment when an owner defies the law.
• Agreed to extend its agreement with the United States Geological Survey to complete its study of saltwater interfaces on the Island through use of four new wells. The USGS has been delayed in getting Suffolk County Department of Health Services approval for the new wells, necessitating a one-year extension of its contract with the town.