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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: April 28, 2022


To the Editor:

I applaud many of the views expressed in the Reporter’s recent editorial (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, April 21), where the Reporter politely suggested that the Town Board get out of the way and allow the Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC) to do its job.

The problem is not limited to the Town’s indefensible interference with the WMAC. Most recently the Town Board bypassed the Town’s Building Department and granted the Ram’s Head Inn authorization to clear-cut a wide swath through the wetlands and vegetative buffer on the Inn’s property. Not knowing what they were doing, the Town Board neglected to ask for “before” pictures when they toured the site and authorized clearance of what remained.

The Town Board also blinked on the fact that DEC regulations are more stringent than the Town Code, and they expressly prohibit what the Inn already had done. Islanders now can do what the Town Board abjectly failed to do: view a satellite photo of the site on Google Earth. And drive past the Inn to view the barren wasteland that remains.

KIM BONSTROM, Shelter Island

Fair or unfair?

To the Editor:

Your profile of Elizabeth Hanley entitled “Finding ‘a sense of fairness’ in affordable housing” reflects a chilling sense of entitlement that seems to inflict many of the proponents of government-subsidized housing here on the Island.

Cris DiOrio, chairman of Shelter Island’s Community Housing Board, was quite up front about it when he told Newsday last year: “I think that people like me that really love this place and work hard and want to be here deserve to be here.”

Really? Mr. DiOrio and people like him “deserve” to live on Shelter Island simply because they love it here and work hard? In his view, it is somehow “unfair” that he and others can’t afford to live here.

Ms. Hanley, whose personal mission is to gin up support for low-cost housing, seems to feel the same way. To satisfy this “sense of fairness,” homeowners on this island should be taxed to help people live here instead of, say, Greenport, Southold, or Mattituck.

No, it is not “unfair” that people can’t live where they can’t afford to live. This is not about a “sense of fairness,” but rather a “sense of entitlement.”

It seems to strike people like Ms. Hanley and Mr. DiOrio as somehow “unfair” that a child or grandchild of someone who lives here, or once lived here, also deserve to live here. As though there is a kind of family “legacy” that the taxpayers are required to fund.

I am an immigrant who came to this country on my own and worked hard for 40 years to be able to purchase my home on Shelter Island. Was this fair or unfair? It strikes me as irrelevant. It’s life.

If anything is unfair, it would be if taxpayers lose their water quality if high-density housing fouls our aquifers and increased taxes make their homes less affordable. The elderly and those on fixed income should not risk losing what they have to support those who don’t deserve what they merely want.

JOLANTA ZONCA, Shelter Island