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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Sept. 15, 2022

Processes for discussion

To the Editor:

As the Town commences a review of the new affordable housing plan, I hope that the discourse will be respectful, polite and recognize that people of good faith may have differing opinions and questions.

I also hope that the Town Board will institute two processes to enhance the public discourse and provide an avenue to address questions and better disseminate information.

First, it would be helpful for the Town to create a methodology online to allow folks to submit publicly viewable questions to see which are publicly answered with the dynamic ability to receive follow-up questions and answers.

Second, in addition to the public hearing, the Town should schedule a public forum for open discourse and discussion. The forum should be moderated by an independent facilitator and have rules of decorum so that all interested parties may speak, offer opinions or ask questions. Such a methodology should minimize disruption and prevent hijacking of the meeting.

Conceptually, I am quite supportive of affordable housing as the right thing for our community and as absolutely needed to minimize prospective tax increases if the Town must hire Fire and EMS services.

Additionally, we need to understand the details of any plan and its impact on the environment and quality of life. There are many open items to be considered prior to the November referendum. 

I suggest we not make the perfect the enemy of the good. It would have been better to have had more time to consider the plan before the referendum.

But, my fear is that if the referendum does not pass, it will needlessly set back affordable housing, discouraging those who have been working so hard at creating a viable (though perhaps not quite complete) affordable housing plan, while empowering those who oppose affordable housing under all circumstances.

BILL MASTRO, Shelter Island

Our precious aquifer

To the Editor:

Reading the Reporter article, “Country Club explains increased water plan” (Sept. 8), I see how this proposal is a win for GBCC. However, this is not a win for Shelter Island or GBCC’s neighbors.

Upgrading the irrigation system should be applauded. The system should be 15% more efficient. However, GBCC will still be drawing their 6-million gallon water allotment.

Not addressed in the article are the reasons in GBCC’s proposal to the DEC for the additional 6 million gallons of water:

1. An area of approximately 200’x100’ in front of each green that is now not watered, about 10 acres of additional land to irrigate.

2. Additional watering for the driving range and new practice tees.

3. Increased membership and their use of the facilities, “including a substantial increase in off-Island memberships.”

4. Increased clubhouse use “for private events.”

5. The desire to “promote the club to a high-caliber championship golf course to provide a unique and challenging golf experience for all levels of golfers up to tournament professional level.”

While the aquifer will only “dip about one foot,” the weight of water pressing down and out blocks salt intrusion. Six million gallons is a lot of weight, especially when most of that water is removed during July and August, not spread throughout the year.

I don’t begrudge the club wanting to improve its facilities, but it’s not appropriate to do it at the expense of the entire island. We all draw from the same aquifer and there are already areas that don’t have drinking water.

As a Goat Hill member and a Hay Beach resident, passing through GBCC daily, I’m unhappy to see the burnt grass and hard ground. However, the last thing that signals to me is that we should drain more water from our precious aquifer to enhance someone’s golf experience.


Not humane

To the Editor:

I’m puzzled that in this fractious, divisive, war-like world, a Town committee, Deer & Tick, suggests a fun sport for kids — “Bowhunting 101: Let’s kill animals.” 

While teaching archery would be a good sport for hand-eye coordination and being outdoors, why are we planning to teach hunting/killing to children where we should be teaching compassion and reverence for nature?

Using bows and arrows is not a humane way to balance the population we are ourselves encroaching upon with endless development.

Using bows and arrows is far riskier — the risk of wounding and not killing the animal is greater. Extending the hunting “harvesting” (killing) season is more dangerous and stressful to animals and humans who actually love and enjoy the wildlife here and the quiet — the reason most of us live here.

Our woodlands are being stripped of vegetation for more and more new houses and displacing animals. Many building codes require portions of lots to be left permeable and wild so the aquifer can be replenished.

Meanwhile the superintendent of the school is supporting this aggressive and divisive hunting program by agreeing to store equipment even though this is not a school program. Are we not regressing into survivalist pioneer days?

Many of us don’t want to teach our children violence or how to kill. Let them decide when they are adults if they want to learn to hunt or defend their country bearing arms.

Why not volunteer at an animal shelter instead, and learn to take care of animals?


Market report

To the Editor:

Labor Day weekend marked the end of the highly successful season for the Havens Market sponsored by the Shelter Island Historical Society.

Every Saturday throughout the summer, an average 750-800 people enjoyed shopping for fresh produce and original craft items.

The market’s success was the result of a cooperative effort by many people: the 28 vendors who brought their wares to the market each week; the dozens of volunteers who managed the parking and logistics; our very capable market coordinators, Lynne Colligan and Peter Miedema; and the thousands of local residents and summer visitors who supported the market.

The market could not have happened without the support of Supervisor Gerry Siller, the Town Board, and the Shelter Island Police Department who made the parking lot available.

Havens Market is just one of many programs and activities sponsored by the Historical Society. See you next summer for our 13th Havens Market.

NANETTE LAWRENSON, Executive Director, Shelter Island Historical Society

Press report

To the Editor:

Whoa, Nellie! Let’s slow down.

Front page news about our affordable housing debacle is getting out of hand.

Word is that 20 to 40 units of new construction might be needed. Has any one checked out the cost of a 2X4 these days?  And the week before, the $3.1 million dollar septic system. But we are lucky to get a grant of $250,000 from the wastewater group.

Most important,and I quote, “Besides treating nitrates, the system will be able to treat contaminates, including PFOS, which are man-made chemicals used in a variety of industrial applications”. Where will there be industry in the center of town, basically “B” District that this system will service?

There is only one industry I am aware of on all of Shelter Island and that is the “service industry,” which has been a mainstay for generations.

However, Summer of 2022 was beyond fabulous … golf, tennis and sailing, Wow. And the opening of the best watering holes on the planet. Especially The Pridwin’s timely opening, with the ribbon cutting. Sadly, Dick passed shortly after, but his Memorial Gathering certainly gave everyone there who was not a local a good idea what Shelter Island is all about.

Be kind to one another.