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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor— March 4-11

Participate in the Comprehensive Plan

To the Editor:

Where do you see your personal growth in this decade? Now use this same thought process to consider the future of Shelter Island’s community growth, ferry service, preservation, housing and quality of life. A town opinion survey and two scheduled public meetings are opportunities to participate in each plan development stage.

The last Comprehensive Plan for Shelter Island passed over 28 years ago outlined many of the Island’s fundamental goals and plans to meet them; however, resources, infrastructure, demographics and community needs have all significantly changed since then. This new plan is an opportunity to inventory current data and build a strategic plan for the town moving forward.

Through a collaborative effort incorporating public feedback combined with data-driven analysis and decision-making, this process will create a detailed picture of the current conditions and guide future growth, transformation and development through a consistent framework. However, this process can only be effective with public input to make it a valid policy statement.

Shelter Island must build a plan upon community values, desires and visions to guide the town’s future. The planning issues include potable water, advanced septic systems, housing, deer and tick problems, public health and safety, education, business and job opportunities, economics, natural resources, land use, transportation, utilities, and community services and governance.

While all residents and visitors can agree on a variety of aspects of the Island’s future, such as environmental preservation efforts and improving water quality and service, the development plan will also have to balance the needs between full-time and seasonal residents on the Island. Full-time residents are more likely to have a fixed income, while seasonal visitors have financial flexibility.

Additionally, senior residents comprise a large part of the Island’s population. The plan must balance each group’s essential needs and elective service desires. These decisions are likely to impact the town’s relatively low tax rate sharply. Stakeholders will share these types of concerns, and much more public discourse is expected on these decisions over the coming months.

Participants can complete the survey via this link: shelterislandtown.us/comprehensive-plan-survey.

Physical copies of the draft plan are available at Town Hall and the Library in English and Spanish. Public Visioning Workshops will be conducted between 6 and 8 p.m. via Zoom and Live Stream on March 18, 2021 and April 22, 2021, respectively.

JOHN J. METRO, Mr. Metro is the city manager for Jersey City, N. J. and a seasonal Shelter Island visitor.

Joy and relief

To the Editor:

Many thanks to Gerry Siller and other Town Board members, Laurie Fanelli, Sara Mundy and other Senior Center staff and volunteers, Stony Brook Southampton staff and everyone else who put on the pop-up vaccination facility at the Shelter Island School last Friday.

I heard that the number vaccinated was over 500 people. It was an amazing scene — for some a first time experience, for others a repeat of other such experiences this year but not so repeated as to have become ordinary.

And, there was a spirit of joy and relief. Wonderful, wonderful — many thanks to all involved.


A disgrace

To the Editor:

The loss of foliage on the Island is happening faster than the melting of the polar ice cap and it’s not because of global warming,

It is bad enough when new homeowners come in and clear cut their recently acquired property for reasons that I don’t quite understand, but when the Town Board joins in on the fray it becomes very disheartening, indeed.

The clearing of the underbrush on the corner of Nostrand and West Neck is in my opinion a disgrace.

It may come as a surprise to some people that not everyone wants to live across the street from Central Park.

Before you know it, the only wild life you will see are rodents and pigeons. When is the last time you saw a fox, deer, an eagle or osprey in the city?

If you like the park setting so much you could always move to the city.

The properties purchased by the town with the Community Preservation Funds or land that is gifted to the town belong to the residents of Shelter Island and, in my opinion, the board should have to get the permission of the residents before they are allowed to make drastic changes to it.

STEVE KOLLER, Shelter Island