Shelter Island Reporter Editorial: Make your voices heard

A dozen Shelter Island residents have worked tirelessly with volunteer Project Manager Edward Hindin, Councilmen Mike Bebon and Albert Dickson and consultants Peter Flinker and Larissa Brown to create a new Comprehensive Plan. But they have not worked in a vacuum. They have opened the process to as many people as possible.

Have they heard from you?

More than 1,000 people responded to an early survey that helped spark thoughts about a new Comprehensive Plan, meant to become a guide for what full- and part-time residents and business operators would like their town to be in the future.

There are factors that will affect the Island, such as rising sea levels and limits to money needed to finance changes.

But how the town responds to unavoidable circumstances and how it allots its resources is up to everyone. The plan isn’t static. It’s constantly changing as more input is received.

All of the work that has been achieved so far and all that still needs to be done before a new plan is completed can’t be allowed to become an exercise in futility. The plan must be dynamic, not a report that sits on a shelf, ignored while changes happen un-managed or responded to in crisis.

The question for everyone is whether the town that exists 10 and more years from now is still the place where you want to live and/or work or has it changed in ways that make you want to escape.

That’s up to you. Only about 100 people participated in each of the two workshops held to date. The input from others has been excellent. But is the future town of their dreams the same as yours?

Those working so hard and reaching out through surveys, workshops and individual conversations need to hear your visions that may vary from ideas your neighbors have put forth. There will be other opportunities to weigh in before a new Comprehensive Plan is completed by the end of 2021.

If you sit back idly, the Shelter Island of 2030 and beyond might be the dream town of others. But you will have forfeited the chance to make it the town of your dreams. You will also rob others of your good ideas that no one else has voiced.

Don’t be a bystander who will be disappointed at the outcome. There is plenty of time to get involved.

Sessions have been done using Zoom access online. But they can also be accessed by telephone. In either case, it’s from the comfort of your own home. For information, go to the town’s website at shelterislandtown.us, and click on the Comprehensive Plan link, or phone 631-749-1080. You can contact Project Manager Hindin directly at [email protected]. Don’t let these opportunities go by without your best efforts to have your voice heard.