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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Sept. 22, 2022

The Secret of SEQRA

To the Editor:

The Town of Shelter Island has adopted the State Environmental Quality Review Act Law (SEQRA) in Chapter 60 Environmental Quality Review of the Town Code.

The secret about SEQRA is that the Town Board has not been acting in compliance with this law.

State Law §617.6(a)(1) requires the Lead Agency [the Town Board] to classify an action as one of three possibilities, Type I, Type II or Unlisted, upon initial review “as soon as an agency receives an application,” and “within 20 calendar days of its receipt of the application” [§617.6(b)(1)(ii)].

As former Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. told me, “A SEQRA determination is generally made after the Town and the Applicant settle on the final form of the plans.”

The Town Board has historically made their SEQRA declaration known when the resolution for a project is written, disclosed and approved. This is after the Public Hearing has been closed and no SEQRA declaration discussed or revealed.

So the public does not know how, when or if the Town Board has taken a “hard look” before coming to its conclusion.

There are 46 specific Type II actions listed in the State Law and no additional Type II actions listed in the Town Code. There are 11 Type I actions listed in the State Law and 10 additional Type I actions listed in the Town Code, including restaurants with a seating capacity of more than 20, and any operation which may degrade or despoil any freshwater or tidal wetlands.

If a project is not any of the 46 Type II actions listed in the State Law or a Type I action in the State law and Town Code, the project is Unlisted and further review is required.

Simple as that. The secret’s out.

PAM DEMAREST, Shelter Island

Ducks in a row

To the Editor:

If you live on Shelter Island, you may have seen the following poster: “Missing. Ten rubber duckies. Rare, made to order, irreplaceable.”

For those following the saga, I have good news. But first, the backstory.

I’m a musician and was in town to shoot a music video with the ducks. Shortly after arriving, I lost them. This was a problem since they were the stars of my video. As the poster said, the ducks are irreplaceable.

I couldn’t shoot without them. So I did what anyone would do  — I went to the Shelter Island Police Department to report them missing.

The police were incredibly helpful, despite my unusual plea for help. I thought I’d left them with the person I’d hitchhiked with to Wades Beach. The police tracked down the driver; but the ducks weren’t with him. The officer encouraged me not to lose hope.

Inspired, I plastered Missing posters across town the next day. Marie Eiffel’s, the IGA, the Piccozzi’s gas station. Every telephone post. Islanders of all ages wished me luck, and offered to keep an eye out.

The community’s response to my plight touched me greatly. Everyone was rooting for a happy end to the story.

By the end of the day, I still had no news. Weary and tired, I was at Star’s Cafe feeling glum when my phone rang.

“Um, I’m at the gas station. I think I found your ducks?”

My heart swelled. I rushed over and was reunited with them at long last.

Thank you to all who helped. I’ll be dedicating the duck song — produced with funk legend Gary Wilson — to Shelter Islanders.

Until then, please accept this haiku as a token of my eternal gratitude.

Love floats forever

In a bay full of duckies

Every heart smiled

All my ducks in a row,

ANGEL PROST, New York City

Development not an issue?

To the Editor:

My perspective on the Island is formed by 70-plus years of family ownership of a home here and 30 years of my own residency.

And from this I sense a false narrative that development is not an issue that the Town Board is considering within the Comprehensive Plan .

When I look around the Island I see 1,200 sq/ft homes knocked down for 6,000 sq/ft mini-mansions going from one bathroom to seven and an outdoor shower and pool with a 40,000 gallon cistern requiring a water tanker truck to fill it twice a week.

Thats development. That’s not keeping Shelter Island the same. 

Unless you plan on closing down the Building Department, you will have development on Shelter Island, and with every house you get ascendant needs and neediness.

To all My Friends of Shelter Island, your desire for a professional consultant maybe properly placed. What this consultant would recommend would be an implementation of the wastewater system and a potable water system for the nitrate-contaminated water in the Center.

Leading to a business district improvement along Route 114 in sight lines and usage for the increased density that will accompany full build-out in the years to come. 

BERT WAIFE, Shelter Island