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Board returns to a town business review plan

The Town Board, at its Tuesday work session, turned again to crafting a site plan review process for the town.

It’s time consuming work, and complicated by conflicting ideas voiced about over-regulation of businesses and the need to set standards for the good of the community.

Site plan review — Shelter Island is the only town on the East End lacking one — means a process that requires all commercial property owners to formally submit plans for development. The review’s purpose is among other things, to mitigate environmental impacts of new development on the land and water resources, traffic, parking and overcrowding of land or buildings.

At several previous meetings, board members have reviewed drafts prepared by Town Attorney Robert DeStefano Jr. Tuesday, Mr. DeStefano sought to clarify the process by noting that there would be three situations that would trigger a site plan review: a new business proposal; a significant change of use for an existing business; or an application to the Building Department.

The idea of “scalability” was discussed, which Mr. DeStefano said would be defined as “simple, normal or complex.”

Mr. DeStefano added that “the fee structure will be based on this.”

The procedure would begin by an application to the Building Department, which would decide within 10 days to proceed with a site plan review, or just a simple building permit.

Supervisor Gerry Siller said it was important that the Building Department and the Planning Board be involved, which opened up a discussion about, as Councilman Mike Bebon said, “the flow” of the review, which he has insisted be as streamlined as possible.

Councilman Jim Colligan said that he and his colleagues “have a way to go before we finalize site plan review.”

In a similar discussion, Senior Building Inspector Chris Tehan said that the major restructuring of The Pridwin Hotel had reached a milestone and the town is awaiting the go-ahead from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to sign off on the project so the town can issue a permit for the hotel.

Mr. Colligan said that the best scenario is that the hotel will open in 2021.

In other business: The board is expected to approve a new law at its regular meeting July 31 allowing the police to tow vehicles when they are blocking driveways or roads and for public safety purposes.

The board passed on discussing the situation at the Center Post Office, of long lines and delays (see story, page 1). Mr. Colligan said he was looking into the situation and would have a report to his colleagues at a later date.

possible 2021 reopening