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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor, Aug. 18, 2022

Thank you

To the Editor:

I am humbled and a little embarrassed by your editorial, “Thank You, Gordon Gooding” in last week’s Reporter. I thank you for the recognition and for celebrating the idea of preserving property and protecting preserved property from inappropriate use. But I want everyone to know that it’s not just me. There are a lot of people who work with me and our CPF Committee.   

We have a dedicated team that works hard to keep me on track and keep our mission and agenda focused. That team includes Chuck Kraus, who’s been a CPF member since 2006, Twoey (Albert) Brayson, Kathleen Gerard, Joseph Denny, Cathy Kenny and Tim Purtell. They each bring a different level of expertise to the table, but they all want dearly to protect our environment and aquifer. 

Then there is Ed Shillingburg, who was a member from 2016-2020. He still works with the committee to research and document existing preserves and prospective purchases. In addition, we consult with many retired CPF members like Jim Dougherty, Michael Coles, Hoot Sherman, Peter Vielbig, Mike Laspia and others. Melanie Cirillo, vice president of the Peconic Land Trust, often joins our meetings and provides valuable environmental and procedural advice. Albert Dickson, our town liaison until this year, always gave us clear and focused advice and prompted positive communications between the committee and the Town Board. And of course, our support staff, Jane Roberts and Kristina Martin Majdisova, past and present clerks to the committee.

All of these individuals make the CPF function, and they deserve the recognition. And to all the members of the community — remember “This land is your Land!” Use it wisely.

Thank you, Shelter Island Reporter, for your support!


Shelter Island

Undecided on

To the Editor:

Many people have asked me how I will vote on the housing referendum in November. I reply that I won’t put the cart before the horse. I first need to see the final proposal to decide. There are too many uncertainties right now to form an educated decision. I have decided to wait until November 1, see what is finally proposed and then make my decision. I will not be like Nancy Pelosi and the Affordable Care Act, “vote for it now and then read what’s in it.” I won’t vote to give Siller a blank check without a precise plan. If I feel what’s on the ballot makes sense for the good of the Island, I’ll vote for it. If it’s too vague with lots of unanswered questions, I’ll vote nay. The Town Board has a lot of work to do between now and then. 


Shelter Island Heights

Note: Mr. Reich is a former Shelter Island councilman.

Dickson makes point

To the Editor:

The Town Board was up for a major surprise during the most recent Tuesday Work Session. One of the most respected senior members of the Shelter Island community, former Councilman Albert Dickson, lambasted the Board for mismanaging and maybe even misunderstanding the process of referendum leading to the community housing decisions, residential density and transfer of development rights.

Mr. Dickson made three major points: the Board is circumventing the due decision making process by trying to stick to an overly ambitious schedule. This leads to the development of well meaning Friends groups, which he said have been ”vilified” by the Town Board members, individually and as a group. Lastly, by avoiding recruiting top expert consultants to build the Global Environmental Impact Study (GEIS), the process lacks solid fundamentals that need to be understood by the voting community. 

This is not an effort that can be properly completed in 90 days. Mr. Dickson recommended postponing the referendum until the consultants are hired, detailed environmental studies are developed and the community is properly informed. A fully informed community is a critical prerequisite to voting on an irrevocable measure that will affect the town and its fragile environment for the next 30 years. 

To say that the Board was stunned by Mr. Dickson’s presentation is to say nothing. Will his words make a difference? Past experience allows us to doubt it. But if anyone should be listened to it is Mr. Dickson.

At least the Board avoided the usual rude, obnoxious and demeaning reaction, reserved to members of the Friends groups. That was refreshing. Bravo Albert!!


Shelter Island

No data on affordable needs

This summer has witnessed both conflicting and divisive views about the need for affordable housing on Shelter Island. I believe at its core the disagreement comes from the use of public funds, grants, taxes and Town monies, which come with widespread inherent problems and government strings attached.

I asked in my March 31 letter to the Reporter how many people need this kind of housing and who are they? Nearly five months later, generalizations but no data.

For years the private sector has successfully been addressing housing needs, through the efforts of our local businesspeople and private entrepreneurship.  In addition, the Island, as mentioned in my June 16 letter has a housing stock consisting of approximately 1,866 accessory units. The Island has 2,467 houses.

In action point 55 (Z-14) in the Comprehensive Plan advisory committee plan review of 2009; “250-300 accessory units – were identified with less than five licensed.” Today 13 years later I would estimate the number is double that – 600. In the same review it was recommended that “property tax incentives be considered for owners legalizing apartments prior to the year 2000.” This recommendation was never acted on. 

To eliminate the conflicts and misinformation swirling around the affordable housing issue, let the Town Board not only act on this 2009 recommendation made 13 years ago, but go one step further: Give amnesty to the accessory unit owners and legalize them once they are code compliant and make the licensing procedure and application less cumbersome, starting with waiving the provision that insists that the owners live on the same property.


Shelter Island

Lack of clarity

To the Editor:

It was heartwarming to listen to Proponent-of-Community Housing Councilman Albert Dickson during the Aug. 9, Shelter Island Town Board working session. His clear and concise remarks expressed the concerns that many of us on the Island have about the Town Board’s plan and process in spearheading the Community Housing Fund referendum, the Community Housing project, and their plan to assess the environmental impact and mitigating measures to combat unintended consequences. Former councilman Albert Dickson’s well-thought-out remarks underscored the Town Board’s lack of clarity on these issues. Open dialogue and deep-dive analyses are what Shelter Island needs in consequential decision-making moments.


Shelter Island

Ban automatic guns

To the Editor: 

I recently posted a yard sign with large black letters; “HEY CONGRESS! BAN Semi-Automatic Handguns and Rifles NOW.” I was disappointed, but not surprised that after an initial period the sign was stolen. I presume by a member of gun nut nation (? one of our local proud boys). Must we wait until, God forbid, there is a shooting at our Shelter Island School or IGA, or in Greenport or Mattituck to seriously talk about getting these weapons of war off of our streets? 

As a decorated Vet who long, long, long ago had a Marksman’s Badge, who worked at a Chicago hospital with a level 1 Trauma unit, and who as President of the Chicago Board of Health reduced Chicago’s gun death rate by 75% (lots of help from the CPD), I know much, too much, about guns and what they do to people, families and communities. Semi-automatic rifles and handguns should be BANNED! They are not for target practice or sport/hunting they are weapons primarily used in the US for homicides and mass killings, period. Come on folks, let’s face the facts and do it.

Naturally, I have already put up a replacement sign, I’ll see how long this one lasts.                                            


Shelter Island

Questions need answers

To the editor:

Your award winning cartoonist did it again, last weeks, cartoon was spot on!

The letters were rather interesting and the community meeting at the Presbyterian Church, as well. 

Lots of questions and why not.

When, what, and where is my question along with, whether money from the .05 percent (if passed) two percent conservation tax help pay for the maintenance of the eyesore next to town hall? Alleged affordable housing.

Oh, well! Who was it that said, “United we stand, divided we fall!”… and when?

Curious about the Ram’s Head Inn dock as well. Adverse possession does not come into play? Dock was there when I played tennis many moons ago.

Another Oh, well!!


Shelter Island

Support Friends of Library

To The Editor:

As one of the newer members of the Friends of the Shelter Island Public Library Board (SIFOL), I was delighted to see our Mission stated in a letter by Nell Lowell in your weekly letter section, Aug. 11. Thank You Nell!

Having served on several Boards in my lifetime I am pleased to say the SIFOL members are engaged, hardworking and generous with their time and expertise. SIFOL assists the Library and its wonderful Director Terry Lucas, with financial support for special projects for residents of all ages. If you have enjoyed activities under the Library Tent, this year and many past years, it is just one of many programs the SIFOL supports.

Please join us by supporting our upcoming fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 16, our White Elephant Gift Extravaganza, from 7 to 9 pm, under the Library tent. Information and tickets will be available at the Library.

With gratitude.



Shelter Island