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Project manager of the Comprehensive Plan resigns, also quits Planning Board: Supervisor says Island ‘at a very dangerous crossroads’

In a stunning announcement, Comprehensive Plan Project Manager Edward Hindin resigned his position as project manager and his role as a member of the Planning Board just a half hour before the Town Board work session began today.

Mr. Hindin gave no reasons, but it was in the cards at Monday night’s Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) meeting. Members of the committee (CPAC) had passed a resolution to ask the Town Board to take no actions on zoning or land use until the final report is issued. Mr. Hindin told the members they were overstepping their boundaries.

The Monday evening meeting was contentious, and the faces of several Town Board members attending revealed their feelings. Mr. Siller summed up on Tuesday as “absurd” the fact that CPAC would even consider asking for no actions until its work is completed.

Town Board members expressed dismay at Mr. Hindin’s decision to resign, something they first learned from the supervisor at Tuesday’s meeting.

Mr. Hindin’s resignation via email stated he was quitting both the Community Plan effort and his role on the Planning Board immediately. He will have no further involvement with the consultants, the Comprehensive Task Force members or CPAC members. He said that he sees no viable path forward for trying to create a new Comprehensive Plan.

Councilman Mike Bebon said that, in phone conversations Monday night and Tuesday morning with Mr. Hindin, the former project manager had suggested that no effort to move the Comprehensive Plan forward should happen for at least 30 to 60 days while the Town Board reassessed the situation.

Mr. Siller started Tuesday’s Town Board work session — which had no announced agenda — by saying Shelter Island “is in a crazy position. We’re at a very dangerous crossroads right now.”

He went on to describe the Monday night Comprehensive Plan meeting and a previous session of the Community Housing Board as organized efforts to change the way the town is run.

Noting calls from Community Housing Board member Bob Kohn for his resignation and that of Mr. Bebon from the Town Board, Mr. Siller said, “We will not entertain any requests for resignations.”

At the same time, he called for Islanders to get involved as volunteers and to voice their views on whether they want to see the town become “a gated community” or to remain a diverse community.

Other Town Board members had high praise for Mr. Hindin’s work. Councilman Jim Colligan described the loss of Mr. Hindin as project manager as “a huge, huge loss.”

Mr. Bebon called Mr. Hindin “the most consummate professional” with whom he has ever worked, adding, “It’s a sad day for the town of Shelter Island.”

A full story will appear in Thursday’s Reporter.