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Shoreline Task Force future in doubt: Winding down slated for April

The Shoreline Access Task Force is winding up its work of putting together a list of recommendations expected to go to the Town Board in April amid controversy about its future.

A number of speakers at Tuesday morning’s meeting said there’s an ongoing need to have the Task Force continue, if not quarterly, then at least annually. Otherwise, another group should be charged with handling issues that could arise related to specific shoreline sites.

“The landings have a shaky history,” said former Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board (CPF) member Ed Shillingburg. Someone needs to be monitoring changes, he said.

If it’s not the current, or a reconstituted Shoreline Access Task Force, perhaps it could be the CPF Advisory Board, Task Force Chairman Peter Vielbig said. Mr. Shillingburg suggested Mr. Vielbig reach out to CPF Chairman Gordon Gooding.

There are legal issues surrounding some sites. One is a Rocky Point access that appears to be an issue to be resolved between neighbors of the West Neck Park area and George Daniel Schultheis, owner of property at 19 Nostrand Parkway, who maintains that access to the shoreline crosses his property and neighbors should be banned from trespassing.

Resident Christine Houston told the Task Force the issue has been pending for more than 40 years and needs to be resolved by the Town. Mr. Vielbig and Task Force member Beau Payne said all they could do is ask Town Attorney Stephen Kiely to review the matter.

Mr. Payne cited three other areas that would need further attention, namely at  Montclair Avenue East, South Silver Beach Road East and South Midway Road.

A draft of recommendations to be reworked by the Task Force during the next few weeks is to be finalized at an April 12 meeting and then submitted to the Town Board.

The draft currently calls for:

• A review of previously site-specific recommendations, some of which have been implemented, but others that have not been addressed.

• Designation of all shoreline access points by category with installation of appropriate signage, boundary markers and designated parking areas.

• Locating surveys of all shoreline access points.

• Increasing access to Dering Harbor, which is currently limited to Volunteer Park and the Bridge Street Town Dock.

• Ongoing evaluation of shoreline access points and ramps to monitor changes in use, potential encroachment issues, and needs for repairs or improvements.