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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Sept. 1, 2022

Housing options  

To the Editor:

When it comes to building community housing, a lot of people are concerned about change. In the 40-plus years I’ve been on the Island, it has changed.

There are no longer kids playing flashlight tag at Card’s Cabins on summer evenings. Charlie’s, or Kraus’ is no longer the place to get ice cream or a hotdog on a summer day at the beach. Carol’s vanilla cokes, chili on Wednesdays, and Fedi’s roast beef sandwiches — all gone.

It’s hard to accept change. Providing a few additional housing options is an effort to keep Islanders on the Island. Did you hear that? A few. Not hundreds, as people have threatened. That would be financially, mathematically, and environmentally impossible.

And an additional 0.5% real estate transfer tax for first-time property buyers in today’s world will bring about an almost unnoticeable change to most.

But the change will be huge for those looking for stability.

NELL LOWELL, Shelter Island

Need answers

To the Editor:

In theory, everyone should be in favor of the concept “affordable housing.” However, we are being asked to vote on an addition to a real estate transfer tax that new buyers — not residents — must pay, without a sunset, to fund a mere concept as it stands now.

I haven’t seen a specific plan and my gut says vote “No,” as I have a lot of unanswered questions.

Where is the housing to be located? Some say along Route 114 which would detract from the aesthetic of the main artery. How is the lottery for units to be conducted? Does a new resident making $140,000 a year have the same odds of securing a unit as a fifth-generation single parent making $60,000 a year? Is there any incentive for the lottery winners to eventually move out to make room for others, or do we just keep building new structures? Could this future plan be a disincentive to make enough money so that you no longer qualify for the benefit?

These questions among others need answers before I vote to approve a new tax. The plan, whatever it is, needs study, review and commentary by people smarter and more experienced with the issue than me.

At present, there are about two months before we are asked to vote on this new tax, yet there is no specific proposal for the allocation of the revenue.

This proposal (whatever it finally is) although well intended, needs time for analysis. Thus, I will vote “No.”

JOHN EVANS, Shelter Island


To the Editor:

Last week’s story on the controversy over the Town Board’s decision to use up to $100,000 of CPF funds for a study for its proposed transfer of developments rights (TDR) program repeats various dubious assertions made on behalf of the Town Board.

One that deserves particular scrutiny is that land acquisitions made in prior years did not comply with applicable legal requirements because there were no public hearings.

First, as the Town Board emphasizes when it wants to limit the activities of volunteer bodies or reject their recommendations, the CPF Advisory Board (CPFAB) and the Town’s other volunteer advisory boards and committees, are advisory.

The buck stops with the Town Board, which signs the contracts of sale and would have had the sole authority to notice a public hearing. If somehow past acquisitions should have been, but were not made, subject to a public hearing, the responsibility fell to the Town Board and Town Attorney at that time.

Second, I have not heard it suggested, and have no reason to believe, that any past CPF acquisitions were consummated without adequate public disclosure. Accordingly, even if the Town failed to comply with a hearing requirement before making the acquisitions, the public was not prejudiced.

It is regrettable that past CPF acquisitions are being criticized, rather than celebrated.

STEPHEN JACOBS, Shelter Island

A cold one

To the Editor:

As a self-styled craft beer aficionado and a Shelter Island resident, I felt prompted to check out the three newly-renovated hotels, and the bank-turned-restaurant, as to their craft beer menus.

A huge disappointment!

After multi-million dollars spent on renovations and improvements, their taps were antiquated, and their beer coolers anemic. Not one of them poured a pilsner (the most sought-after warm weather lager), No porters, and not a double IPA in the house. They just don’t seem to get It that there’s a huge world out there of craft and specialty beers and a market that buys them. Their ignorance is causing them to miss the culinary industry’s niche of beer pairing.

Now, I won’t rank the beer menus of all four bars, since that would smack of favoritism, which I probably could be rightly accused of. And grading the menus would become subjective and superfluous. Suffice to say that a teacher of a class in Beer 101 (yes, there are such courses) would return each of them a report card that says: “Needs improvement.”

HANK McMANUS, Shelter Island

Editor’s note: Mr. McManus formerly wrote a beer column for AM-NY and has contributed to national publications about beer.


To the Editor:

I am writing with respect to the Reporter’s description of the ZBA hearing of my request to replace an unsightly existing deck with an extended deck. The claim that the extended deck will affect my neighbors views is based on a misreading of the site plan.

It is hard to hear that my deck will “destroy the character of Silver Beach” when Silver Beach has changed during the almost 30years I have lived there, from a  beachy neighborhood of bungalows. My bungalow is one of three remaining Sears and Roebuck kit houses. I am committed to its upkeep and to maintaining its historic charm. 

I was saddened by the coordinated attack on my request. Four of the properties objecting are owned by the same person. This year, I rented one weekend in June. That discounted rental was to one of the objectors. The Reporter failed to mention my full-time neighbor’s testimony in support.  

The objections are based on the false statement that there has been a history of “noise complaints”, and that I rent my house. Not once in 28 years has a neighbor spoken to me about noise.

The single 10:15 p.m. complaint during a small party on a Friday night was made by one of the objectors, right before the hearing. The barking dog complaint was caused by the grandsons of one of the objectors pitching baseballs at my friend’s dogs. My previously uncomplaining neighbors characterize our welcoming home as a “nuisance”.

I rent my house pursuant to an STR license. For most of the year, my daughter and Silver Beach friends enjoy my house.  We kayak and swim when access is not blocked by the Sunfish Races. I agree with Ms.  Peffer’s recent plea that we live in a community and should be kind to each other. 


Remembering Dave

To the Editor:

Please join our family in remembering a very special Islander, David Klenawicus, for a joyous celebration of life. All are welcome to a Mass of Remembrance at Our Lady of the Isle at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Lunch will follow at noon at 11 Spring Garden Avenue, Shelter Island Heights, with Dave’s favorite songs from the 1960s and 1970s.

Please share a memory or photograph of Dave by emailing: [email protected].


Vote ‘Yes”

To the Editor:

I love Shelter Island. I grew up here. After high school, I swore I would never live here again.

I was tired of knowing everything about everyone. It took me 10 years of living elsewhere to realize just how amazing this community really is. This place is special.

Unfortunately, many of the people that make this place so special struggle to afford to live here. Lots of people I know have moved from the Island. Lots of people I know are saving up to buy a house somewhere else. They are not doing this because they want to, but because they are getting priced out.

These people are all important parts of our community. Some of them pour your morning coffee or catch the fish you grill for dinner. Some of them play you in pickleball or walk the same beach as you at sunset. If you’re really lucky, some of them will take you clamming or for a sail around the Island.

If we do not create community housing, many of these people will leave. Please vote “Yes” on the Peconic Bay Region Community Housing Act in November to help keep Shelter Island the special place that it is.

Don’t be a victim of misinformation. The proposed projects are very reasonable. Check them out at the Community Housing Fund Advisory Board page of the Town Website:shelterislandtown.us/community-housing-fund-advisory-board-1

CHRIS DiORIO, Shelter Island

Editor’s note: Mr. DiOrio is a member of the Community Housing Board

There’s only one

To the Editor:

There is only one place to get your gas pumped. There is only one pharmacy. There is only one hardware store.

There is only one goody pile. There is only one fish cooler. Everybody needs the ferry drive. Everybody needs someone to trim the trails. Everybody needs their grocery store.

You find your wood by calling three other people. Everything is word of mouth on Shelter Island. There is only one Shelter Island. What is it going to take to keep it this way? Affordable housing. Because most of these people, or people who work at other establishments struggle to afford to live here.

A vote ‘Yes’ for the transfer tax this November is a vote yes for keeping Shelter Island unique and not the  New Hamptons.

KELCI McINTOSH, Shelter Island