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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Aug. 10, 2023

Flying in the face

To the Editor:

According to the Reporter, the Town Board is considering water conservation measures.  They include: banning or restricting new irrigation systems; sunsetting existing ones; limiting the size of pools; and requiring pool covers to limit evaporation.

An irrigation subcommittee is being formed with Deputy Supervisor Brach-Williams as a member.

Yet, the town has been in active conversations with Gardiner’s Bay Country Club regarding its August 2022 application to the DEC for an additional 6,100,000 gallons for irrigation — on top of the 6,000,000 gallons of water it already draws from the Island’s fragile sole-source aquifer. Those conversations fly in the face of efforts to conserve water and the fact that GBCC’s proposal is indisputably not permitted by the Town Code.

Only recently was it disclosed that, in January, the DEC issued a Notice of Incomplete Application requesting analysis or information on 10 items, including the threat of salt water intrusion.

The week before, at a Water Advisory Committee, GBCC and its consultants made a presentation based on its original application without any reference to the DEC’s concerns or GBCC’s need to have the Code amended. The four community speakers all opposed the proposal.

The Town should advise the DEC that GBCC’s proposal is, as GBCC’s application failed to disclose, prohibited by the Town Code.

If the Town is really open to weakening the Code for GBCC at the same time it’s contemplating strengthening irrigation restrictions for everyone else, it should pause its discussions with GBCC and the WAC should suspend its consideration of the application.

Communications between GBCC and the DEC since the Notice should be obtained and made public. Then, a qualified hydrogeologist chosen independently of GBCC and with participation from the community should be retained to review the proposal. The expense of such a review should be paid by the club, which can well afford it, and would represent a drop in the bucket of the cost of its proposal.

PATRICK CLIFFORD, STEPHEN JACOBS, Shelter Islanders for Clean Water and Responsible Zoning

Septic survey

To the Editor:

Are you a septic system owner? Do you maintain your system? What are your concerns?

We are Sharon Moran and Mackenzie Gregg, a professor and student from SUNY-ESF

in Syracuse, N.Y., and we’d like to hear about your septic experience for our research study on septic system management. Our project seeks to learn more about how septic systems are managed in the area to help clarify any problems and what could be done to improve them.

Complete our online survey, which takes only about 10 minutes, and you can also have your name entered to win a $50 gift card.

If you’re interested in participating in a focus group discussion on Tuesday, Aug. 15 or Wednesday, August 16, in Suffolk County (Peconic Estuary Watershed), please email us at [email protected].

Survey link: https://esf.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1Byyf1Lh5t30UJw

Visit our website at nysepticstudy.org for more information.

Sharon Moran & Mackenzie Gregg, Syracuse, N.Y.

Because I care

To the Editor:

I am running for Town Board, and will need your help to win.

I am a lifelong Islander and have five children. We’ve all seen firsthand the changes affecting our island and I believe my lifelong dedication to public service here provides a unique perspective on how to deal with those changes.

As a parent, my commitment to future generations of this community is personal. When the well-being of our students was threatened during a disastrous school-organized event earlier this year, I stood up before the School Board, defending families’ rights to have a safe place for their children to learn and feel safe.   

Public service to me means getting directly involved. To raise money and awareness for Scleroderma, I jet-skied from here to the Florida Keys and back to support my niece. I created and fundraised a trip for our local veterans to visit their memorials in Washington at no cost to them.

I was a member of the EMS team, am a 22-year veteran of our volunteer Fire Department and proudly served as a Shelter Island Police officer for 22 years. I assist the senior home repair program, am a member of the Lions club, and have been a little league coach for years.

We face serious issues: water quality, septic solutions, affordable housing, among others. For each problem, I will always ask three important questions: (1) How does this benefit the Island? (2) How does this benefit residents and taxpayers? (3) How does this affect overall affordability and sustainability of living here?

Bringing common sense and civility back to government, I will fight to keep our taxes low, bring transparency to water quality issues, maintain access to our waterways, and preserve the rights of property owners. I will not create unenforceable laws, but rather review existing codes, amend them where necessary. That is my promise to you and our island.

THOMAS CRONIN, Shelter Island

Solution seeking a problem

To the Editor:

Shelter Islanders can sleep well tonight knowing that the federal government is coming to our rescue.

The Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Program (ETIPP) will come to our aid to “provide an overview of the Island’s power challenges and current resources,  and followed by analysis and planning will recommend projects that respond to the community’s own energy priorities, goals, challenges, and opportunities, and advance the community’s  ability to implement strategic whole-systems solutions.”

In plain English ,the ETIPP will attempt to find a problem appropriate to their elaborate solutions.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee will be relieved to have one less problem to grapple with during their endless deliberations.

Your government at work. Does it get any better?

DAVID OLSEN, Shelter Island

Treated as an equal

To the Editor:

Some years ago Barry Diller was given a summons by a Shelter Island bay constable at Crescent  Beach, and just recently Michael Eisner was ticketed for a stop sign violation.

Hopefully, this privileged class will not think they are being unfairly targeted. No, this is not at all the case. But rather their experience of being treated as an equal will add to their fond memories as a visitor.

CONNIE POWER, Shelter Island