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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor, March 10, 2022

Remaining positive

To the Editor:

Running for public office and being a public servant can be challenging and frustrating, as well as rewarding and demoralizing. Local politicians have and will continue to be “fair game” for the public. A good percentage of the letters that are being published in the Reporter are aimed at the local leadership, namely the Town Board.

Some of the criticism is fair, but most of it is simply unfounded and misguided. Facts are important and gaining a better understanding of the issue(s) are essential when going on the attack.

A perfect example is that aimed at the municipal wastewater treatment project. The Town Board and the public received their first public presentation by Lombardo Associates on December 14 at a regular Board work session. The public was well represented and asked some very good questions.

Obviously, the major push-back was directed at utilizing the Klenawicus Airport site as the best site for the treatment and disposal of the effluent. There were legitimate concerns expressed by many and the Board listened and reacted. Although the engineers have determined the airfield is the most advantageous site for such a project, the town supervisor, town engineer and other key town staff continue to evaluate alternative locations as a direct response to public feedback.

This project alone has the potential to stabilize and possibly begin to reduce groundwater nitrogen levels for the Center. The proposed project offers equivalent treatment and nitrogen reduction of nearly 150 residential I/A systems — equal to nearly the total amount of I/A systems installed on the Island to date.

Finally, the Town and the West Neck Water (WNW) Board have been working tirelessly to negotiate the best management lease agreement for their customers. As you may know, Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) has been managing the WNW district since last summer and both the Town and the WNW board have been evaluating its performance.

Managing a water district is no easy task and it is the opinion of the Town and the WNW board, that SCWA is well-qualified and positioned to manage and address the major infrastructure issues. Perhaps most importantly, SCWA offers a pathway to extending public water infrastructure to our neighbors who struggle to reliably source safe drinking water on their own but only if requested by those residents.

I would suggest that by remaining positive and working together, we can achieve our desired goals.

JIM COLLIGAN, Councilman, Town of Shelter Island

Getting it done

To the Editor:

The Community Housing Board is very focused and is steadily getting things done.

Since the re-formation of the board this fall, we’ve been very busy. We met with the directors of the Southampton and East Hampton Housing Authorities, the Director of Housing for the Town of East Hampton, as well as members of housing organizations on Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island.

We toured the housing built by the Southampton and East Hampton Housing Authorities, the Town of East Hampton, and the Windmill Villages in East Hampton. After seeing these great projects, we researched the land leases and deed-restrictions required to make them happen.

We locked in a pro bono lawyer to review land leases and started talks with local banks about financing our housing. We recently approved a Special Community Housing License that will create an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) locked in to an affordable rental rate. We are reviewing the current ADU laws to make changes to encourage private development of housing.

We solicited members to apply for the Community Housing Fund Advisory Board, a group charged with creating a Housing Plan for Shelter Island in preparation of the Peconic Bay Region Community Housing Act. The CHB has done preliminary work for this group by researching the housing plans of East End towns and other island communities.

We developed a plan for a community housing overlay and shared water system that could allow the creation of eight houses for sale between the Manwaring Road and 69 North Ferry Road properties. Unfortunately, this has recently been tabled as the Wastewater Treatment System may use one of these properties.

In preparation for last month’s meeting, we contacted companies to find the cost of doing a housing needs assessment. At our last meeting, we were told for the first time that we needed to get this done and that it was our responsibility, not the Town Board’s, to create a Request for Proposal for the needs assessment. The next day we contacted the town attorney to develop one.

All of the pieces are coming together for the creation of community housing on the Island. It’s frustrating to read in the Reporter’s “Our View” that we need to focus on a needs assessment when we already started the process to make it happen. There is an immense amount of work to be done and we are getting it done.

CHRIS DiORIO, Chairman, Community Housing Board

Make it a Bucks baseball summer

To the Editor:

I have a dream of watching the Shelter Island Bucks play at Fiske Field this summer.

It’s been three years since they were last here given COVID-19 challenges. And summer isn’t summer without a Bucks game!

I’ve recently joined Brian Cass and Frank Vecchio in their yearly effort to help get the Bucks to our island for the summer. Our number one priority is getting housing for the players for June and July. We need 30 beds/rooms with access to a small space in a refrigerator and laundry facilities, to clean up those beautiful uniforms after a slide into home.

We are about a third of the way there, but if we don’t get all placed, we will not be able to host a team, and that would likely be our third strike.

If you have space or know someone who does, please reach out directly to me at 415-613-1991 or [email protected]

Let’s all make this a Bucks summer for all of us and our kids, and bring back the fun of grabbing a hot dog or hamburger and cheering the team on at Fiske Field!

DAVID AUSTIN, Shelter Island

Best ever

To the Editor:

Kudos to Bob DeStefano Jr. for the best letter to the editor I have ever read.

Caught in maelstrom of machinations, you have emerged with grace and style.

CHRIS LEWIS, Former Councilwoman, Town of Shelter Island

Work together

To the Editor:

Fellow Islanders, please shut your engines off when on the ferry lines and ferry. That way, we won’t need to buy so much oil from Russia and support Putin’s war machine.  

Also, it is a Coast Guard requirement that you do so. Let’s work together to conserve gas and help get the US back to being energy independent.

PETER REICH, Former Councilman, Town of Shelter Island