The Shoreline Access Task Force heard mostly compliments at both its Tuesday morning meeting and a followup that afternoon with the Town Board.
It’s certain that no overall plan to control access to beaches for residents, visitors and day-trippers will please everyone, but efforts are being made to ensure everyone has some access to the water, whether or not they have permits. Another step that won applause was Chairman Peter Vielbig’s proposal to use a service capable of delivering permits at sites for those who need day passes.
An electronic system, “Pavemint,” enables drivers to enter the site where they want to use a permit on their cellphones and then enter credit card information to receive a permit. The number of permits allowed at each site may vary. Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar does not need to get involved or chase non-payers. She will simply get a written accounting of money the company has collected, along with a check. Mr. Vielbig said the company is set up to offer its service on a 12-month basis, but since Shelter Island only needs the service for May through September, he’s hoping to negotiate a deal that will save the town a bit of money for the other months.
Residents — both property owners and renters — do not have to pay any fee for their seasonal permits. Currently, restricted parking exists at various sites from mid-May to mid-September.
In the interest of providing water access to everyone, there’s likely to be parking without a permit at sites, but for those spaces, people will have to walk a short distance, with permitted parking near to the water access sites.
Because those day permits will be limited, if someone arrives at a beach or town landing and no permit parking spaces are left, the driver will simply get a message that all spaces are currently taken.
In an attempt to simplify signs around the Island, Beau Payne showed signs that will indicate the type of access point a person has reached and what activities are allowed along with regulations banning camping, littering and other limits.
It’s expected the Town Board at Tuesday’s work session will smooth out some remaining issues so it can set a public hearing date at its May 7 regular meeting.
The aim of the Task Force is to have signs set in place and regulations primarily affecting eight sites that are considered of primary importance starting with Bootleggers Alley, which had major problems last summer with people sleeping on the shore, setting up tents, barbecues, leaving garbage at the site and using the dunes as toilets.