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Town Hall meeting notes

At a special Sept. 15 meeting, the Town Board:

• Voted unanimously to send $51,728 to the town of Southold to handle the Shelter Island Police department emergency dispatch system.

• Voted unanimously to grant a wetlands permit to build a two-story, single- family house with 2,888 square feet of living space at 44-46 Tuthill Drive. On the 25,646-square-foot parcel, a pool and patio will also be constructed.

The project has been the subject of a court case, numerous Zoning Board of Appeals and Town Board meetings, taking more than a decade before the vote on Tuesday.

Before the vote, Councilman Albert Dickson asked for time to speak on the environmental impacts of allowing construction within a designated, protected buffer near wetlands. Mr. Dickson said he wasn’t specifically singling out the project under discussion, “But what do we do moving forward?”

He mentioned  the consequences of impinging on wetlands, which can produce saltwater intrusion in the aquifer, and mentioned the effects of global warming, citing extensive and frequent wildfires out west and hurricanes down south as consequences of dangerous environmental decisions.

The rise of sea levels around Shelter Island “in just 25 years is frightening,” Mr. Dickson said. One solution would be to decide that no building will be allowed in any regulated area, he added.

Mr. Siller agreed that problems are inherent in granting special permits, and that the reworking of the town’s Comprehensive Plan would address these issues.