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Reporter Featured Letter to the Editor, Nov, 18, 2022

What is the plan?

To the Editor:

What happens when you have no comprehensive land use plan and no vision of the future? 

The Center is an area of the Island that has the opportunity to grow and support housing and stores, not unlike what historically existed on New York Avenue in the Heights, a small walkable community including the school, Town government, the library and the Community Center.

If the Center were to grow with infill in this manner, it would become a more vibrant area for all Islanders to enjoy rather than the half vacant and somewhat shabby area it has now become.

The opposition would say this represents increased density, which would be an environmental disaster to the Island. The reality is that by following smart growth principles, Island-wide density would remain the same, and fragile, environmentally sensitive areas would give up density in favor of development in areas like the Center where infrastructure and development already exists.

The net result of this type of planning is that overall Island density remains the same, but development is positioned where it is most beneficial to human activities and the environment. 

Until the future of the Center is carefully planned and considered, it is premature to be arguing over the best approach to septic system design, because fundamentally the engineers do not know what conditions they are designing for.

Shelter Island urgently needs comprehensive planning with holistic thinking.