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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

Free and brave

To the Editor:
Thank you, Supervisor Siller, for your comments about the state of the Island. We are truly sheltered on Shelter Island.

My biggest complaint is hiring an outside consultant for the Comprehensive Plan. Was there not a full committee when it was first drafted by Dr. Alyce Knight? This money should not be spent or budgeted. Go back to the original committee. Some of the original members are still here. This has to be driven by Shelter Islanders, not outside consultants.

Of course, I will never, never back down on the short-term-rental (STR) business. Since the pandemic, there have been so many STR rentals, but not without fear and trepidation. This is supposed to be the land of the free and the brave. But not so free when your simple existence is challenged and you need to be beyond brave to survive. Get rid of that law. And yes, I am screaming!

Shelter Island

Distancing at the Post Office

To the Editor:
As an “elder,” I am particularly aware of distancing. The most dangerous place I go to is the Post Office. Built before the virus, the entrance is only 3-feet wide.

That can’t be changed, but I ask that one of the blue distancing “X’s” be removed from the space right inside (right) of the entry. When entering, if a person is in that spot waiting for a package, there is no way to enter/exit without being 6 inches from them.

I give a lot of credit to all the hardworking postal employees and the people of Shelter Island who wear masks and social distance. That one blue X spot needs eliminating.

Shelter Island

Care and competence

To the Editor:
Kudos to Supervisor Siller, Chief Read and the Shelter Island Town and Police Department teams for the way they have been handling the COVID-19 pandemic and Bootleggers Alley situations.

Thanks as well to the Police and Highway department teams for their quick and efficient interventions when a large cherry tree fell across Stearns Point Road in the late afternoon of Saturday, June 6. Shelter Islanders and visitors to the Island can be thankful for our town’s care and competence.

Shelter Island

Making us stronger

To the Editor:
I have never been happier or prouder to live on Shelter Island than I was when I read Supervisor Siller’s statement on the off-Island visitors to Bootleggers Alley.

In light of all the turmoil that our nation is living through in this moment, it was heartwarming to know that there is a voice on the Island for generosity and making room for the other.

The pandemic has required us to be judicious in our physical interactions with other people, for our own safety and the safety of others; it has created a sense of anxiety, weariness and fearfulness. Those feelings are at risk of being exacerbated by the social unrest that we are now experiencing on top of the pandemic.

If we let those feelings fester on our Island, it may result in a sense of social distrust of the other.

As evidenced by the low rate of infection on Shelter Island, we have learned how to manage the COVID-19 risk by properly adhering to social distancing and other risk-reduction actions.

We do not have to fear others, whether they are second homeowners fleeing to the relative safety of Shelter Island, or visitors seeking a day of respite on Bootleggers Alley.

Supervisor Siller’s response seems to me the perfect combination of generosity and practicality. His words and actions should remind all of us that generosity is as meaningful to the giver as to the receiver. That it deepens a sense of hope, purpose and meaning for a better future for all of us.

That making a meaningful difference in the lives of others in the face of all these social challenges will make us all stronger as human beings.

Shelter Island

Beach watch

To the Editor:
On June 5, a Silver Beach resident had a criminal trespass on his dock. June 6 was a busy day at Silver Beach. Now that the potty is installed, more fisherman are using the beach. I stopped counting cars at 30 non-resident cars — two folks in a car that’s 60 folks. Based on the five adults in Friday’s car I would say closer to 150. I did witness people drive to the potty, use it, then leave. Not just the fishermen are using it.

On June 7, I arrived a few minutes before 5 a.m. and noticed two non-resident cars parked on Bootleggers Alley. They had possibly spent the night in their cars. They now have a 24-hour potty to facilitate overnight stays. One car had trash and a beer can outside it. In the pile of trash was a couple of cases of empty Corona bottles. There may have been more. These non-residents are not aware of the no glass on the beach law.

I walked the beach picking up trash and Corona bottles that did not make it off the beach. One bottle was broken and the long shards of clear glass were almost invisible. As I came off the beach a police officer pulled in making his rounds and we talked. I showed him the bottles and broken glass. He had walked the beach three times the day before and did not see a single person drinking a beer. He was in uniform.

I’m concerned about DWI, confrontations between residents and non-resident trespassers, theft of property, broken glass, trespassing and the overnight stays. The potty is enabling more fishermen/overnights to come to Silver Beach. The constant police patrols and signs can’t prevent all the issues that the residents of Silver Beach are dealing with every weekend.

We knew this from day one.

Removing the potty and one “Residents Only” sign has been and will continue to be the best solution for the residents of Silver Beach. Sunset Beach has better parking and traffic flow, a potty already installed, a food truck, and is more easily patrolled by the police. Machinery can be used to clean the beach. It’s a much better beach for these large crowds.

Shelter Island

Only get better

To the Editor:
I lay on Montauk Highway for 8 minutes 46 seconds at the June 2 Bridgehampton demonstration with several thousand others, chanting “Black Lives Matter.”

The hour-long highway demonstration was peaceful and, for me, very moving. Our young people are providing needed moral leadership at an important moment.

A few years ago, I was at the lonely end of a 4-1 vote adopting the initial short-term rental law. And yes, a few residents urging enactment — just a handful but quite outspoken — made it clear to me that I must vote for the law to help keep undesirables (“You know who I mean, Jim, some don’t even speak English”) from both buying and renting on Shelter Island. I was not convinced.

Several times this week I walked on beautiful Reel Point (thanks again, Herb and Marcia Stern) encountering few people, just three or four small family groups — some of color, some speaking Spanish — fishing and sunbathing. We would exchange friendly waves as I passed.

Shelter Island is precious and unique, thanks to the efforts of many of you, and will only get better as we diversify.

Mr. Dougherty is a former supervisor of the Town of Shelter Island