Featured Story

ZBA suggests adding zoning districts

Even as Islanders cherish their differences from the North and South forks, there are times when it’s appropriate to follow leads of other neighboring communities, and members of the Zoning Board of Appeals believe that time is now.

They, too, value the Island’s traditions. But adding zoning districts to the Town Code should be done to save work, time and money, the ZBA believes.

Members have reached out to the Town Board to suggest changes, including the establishment of a hospitality district; a new district that embraces Mashomack Preserve and Sylvester Manor; and, perhaps, some other additions affecting Shelter Island Heights.

Hotels and inns have existed for more than 100 years on the Island, ZBA Chairman Doug Matz said. Despite that fact, there has never been a hospitality zone, he said.

And there is discussion for that special district encompassing Mashomack Preserve and Sylvester Manor. Throughout Shelter Island Heights, there might be a need to establish other new districts, he said. Specifics on what that might include have not been determined.

Without changes, the ZBA is called to judge even relative minor changes that, depending on what course the Town Board selects, could be codified, lessening the need for operators of such establishments to spend time and money seeking variances. That’s an expense for applicants and work for the ZBA that might not be necessary.

It’s up to the Town Board on whether additional zoning districts will get added to the Town Code, Mr. Matz said. And if added, the Town Board would still have to determine what types of changes would still require variances, he said.

In a perfect world, Heights Property Owners Corporation General Manager Stella Lagudis would like to have the Heights established as its own zoning district, she said, because it’s unique. She pointed out that there has to be a balance between seeing its commercial establishments thrive while maintaining “quiet enjoyment” for residents in an area where houses and businesses are very close to one another.

“We like the voice we’ve had,” Ms. Lagudis said, promising to closely monitor future discussions that could affect the Heights.