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Shoreline Task Force may wind down

Don’t end what has been a successful endeavor. That was the appeal from Councilman Jim Colligan and resident Sandra O’Connor to members of the Shoreline Access Task Force who were eyeing completing their work, perhaps by the end of October.

“The Task Force has been amazing,” Mr. Colligan said.

That the members have encouraged input from residents is a large part of why it has accomplished so much, Ms. O’Connor said. Stakeholders were welcomed, she said, encouraging the Task Force not to dissolve.

The comments came at a September meeting of the Task Force and did not appear to fall on deaf ears.

The suggestion of winding down had come from Chairman Peter Vielbig, who said by the end of the month the original charges to the Task Force will have been completed. Perhaps the Town Board would like to turn over ongoing monitoring to others such as the Waterways Management Advisory Council or Town Engineer Joe Finora. But Mr. Colligan said he thought that group and Mr. Finora both have enough on their plates and it would make sense to him to have the Task Force continue to meet at least quarterly to deal with any issues that might arise relating to the many shoreline access points throughout the Island.

He had high praise for Task Force members, Public Works Department staff led by Commissioner Brian Sherman; Town Engineer Joe Finora; and those in the Town Clerk’s office for their contributions to what has been accomplished this year.

Mr. Vielbig told his colleagues a company providing day parking passes for nonresidents to use various shoreline sites around the Island had resulted in selling 690 passes. Up to 20 passes were allowed each day at Wades Beach with 10 each day at other sites. The total is almost three times as many passes as were purchased in 2019 when the Town Clerk’s office handled the day passes. By using the company, the Task Force has lightened the load a bit for the Town Clerk and increased revenues with money being deposited directly into the Town’s account. The company receives $1.85 for each pass sold while the town gets the balance of the $25 fee. There is a $99 fee for each active month that gets reduced to $50 per month during the off season. But it still increases profits while reducing staff work.

He suggested that the Town Board might want to consider allowing up to 20 day passes at all shoreline sites next summer.

Beau Payne, who has been organizing the Task Force and maintaining its records, noted that most of the responsibilities the Town Board gave to the Task Force have been completed with a few requiring some paperwork on his part. He asked members to review reports they have submitted after inspecting other sites on the Island, asking them to highlight work they thought had to be done at sites to improve them.

The value of having the Task Force remain active, albeit not monthly, would be to check those sites not on the Public Works Department list for ongoing maintenance, but still in need of checking from time to time to assure they continue to be accessible.

There’s also a need to determine the status of some shoreline access points to separate those that are town property from those that are either privately owned or in litigation in terms of ownership.