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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Aug. 24, 2023

Slow down the Comprehensive Plan

To the Editor:

Too few questions were asked by the Town Board during last week’s 45-minute Comprehensive Plan presentation by New York City-based consultants BFJ Planning. However, as your article “What’s the Hurry?” pointed out, this wasn’t the case with members of the audience. They barely contained themselves after being asked to hold their questions until the presentation concluded.

Audience speakers strongly suggested that the Board’s motive to approve the plan by year-end was directed at later pushing through certain agenda items — such as increased density, affordable housing, public water, and public sewage — before the next Board is installed and could examine the plan further.

While the outgoing supervisor tried to hold his ground, it was clear the public would have none of that. As someone looking to be on the Board commencing next year, I must express my agreement with the audience’s sentiment.

I say, “Please allow more time for evaluation of this vital plan.” BFJ Planning appears to have taken over the drafting of the plan. Yet, from what I saw, their cursory and incomplete update last week was insufficient and superficial. This plan clearly needs more work, chapters need completion, and further input from the Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Town Board, and the public is a must. Nevertheless, kudos to Meg Larsen and BJ Ianfolla for tirelessly ushering the process thus far.

Last week’s audience, which could be described as hostile, heartily applauded each other’s voice at the podium — perhaps a good indicator of how that group feels, if not about the direction of the plan, clearly about how it’s being rushed.

It would be foolish to railroad the plan through by December 2023. What the public deserves are more dates and venues, to welcome all perspectives and an open and honest, chapter-by-chapter discussion of the plan before its adoption. What’s the hurry?

ART WILLIAMS Mr. Williams, a former town supervisor, is running for Town Council in November on the Republican line.

No rush

To the Editor:

The Comprehensive Plan is a large undertaking by a small crew of selfless volunteers as well as elected town officials. I would like to thank all involved for the countless hours dedicated to this upcoming Plan. The Plan will help determine our island’s goals and vision for future development in years to come. It is not something to be rushed.

I watched the Town Board meeting pertaining to the Comp Plan and I was not impressed. The first thing that struck me was the absolute lack of decorum by some members of the audience, but also at the lack of willingness to listen by some members of the Board. It’s painfully obvious that more time will be needed, and Meg Larsen said the timeline will move as necessary. I don’t think that point was “heard” by those in attendance in my opinion.

So, what should the Town Board and the advisory board do? Communicate better!

My respect goes to BJ and Meg for this huge undertaking, but this is not something to be fast-tracked. On a good note, it seems you suddenly have the people’s attention. Use it. Encourage those who voice their concerns to get involved now, not later when it’s time to seal it all up.

I attended the Comp Meeting Monday evening and although it seems the timeline will be removed, I agree the date set for public review is premature since the plan is still not complete. It seems that things are being rushed lately and I just don’t see the exigency.

TOM CRONIN Mr. Cronin is running for Town Council in November on the Republican line.

Memories of Jim

To the Editor:

Supervisor Dougherty was a seasoned politician who enjoyed serving his community.

His motto of “Ticks, Taxes, and Aquifer” was spoken with a loud and clear voice. In addition, Jim also was focused on protecting the environment, as well as in securing and protecting land acquisitions through the CPF initiatives. Jim was a strong personality who could be a tough negotiator and who enjoyed a good debate.  

But my best memories of Jim were on the tennis court, especially at Dick Behrke’s court on Little Ram Island. Dick and Jim were close friends and both of them were pretty good tennis players. In addition, Jim really enjoyed music and even participated in the Shelter Island Historical Society musical held a few weeks ago.

Thankfully, I talked to him after one of the performances and told him that I had to give him a lot of credit to take on this role, especially because he was not feeling well. 

Finally, we will all remember Jim traveling around the Island with his aging sports car, usually with the top down and just enjoying the Island. He truly loved being the Town Supervisor and serving his community.

Jim Colligan Mr. Colligan is a member of the Shelter Island Town Council.

A dedicated leader

To the Editor:

The creation and success of the Community Preservation (CPF) open space program on Shelter Island results from the leadership of Jim Dougherty.

He promoted and directed the program early on to make land preservation and environmental issues a major part of Shelter Island’s long term goals. His skill set got people to the table and showed our community the importance of the Island’s environment.

Preservation was always his “baby,” which he carefully entrusted to a special few after becoming our town supervisor. For over 10 years as supervisor, Jim gave it his all, as he did with Community Preservation. He will be remembered for his strong guidance.   

This loss is especially significant to our CPF committee, both present and past members. We owe Jim for his earlier vision and must continue to carry out the goals of land preservation that all started with him.

Let’s celebrate Jim’s life by enjoying our preserved lands and protecting our natural resources. 

GORDON GOODING Mr. Gooding is the chairman of the Community Preservation Advisory Committee and a candidate for supervisor on the Democratic line this November.

Never stopped helping us all

To the Editor:

The Island lost a great leader and man last Saturday in the great Jim Dougherty, 86 years young. None kinder, more astute, more generous. Bright, articulate, full of fun and spirit, attended every Island party and event, feisty, friendly, a gentleman, loved music and animals, greatly valued a homemade fruit pie or some fresh venison stew made from the freezer at the Recycling Center.

Well versed in environmental law, he saved hundreds of acres of open space on the Island for future generations to enjoy. Jim had legions of friends, and a few jealous enemies. He helped my husband Dave preserve the Klenawicus airfield — and we were a whisper away from saving the St. Gabe’s Chapel together. He protected the American Legion, and St. Gabe’s Field, among hundreds of other charitable acts, often as a volunteer.

A giving person, he never stopped helping Islanders. Jim, I know you’re in heaven picking up Dave and giving him fabulous rides all around the Island just like you did on Route 114 in your vintage MG for over 40 years. The two of us shared a commitment to protecting property rights and the disabled.

As an unprecedented six term supervisor of Shelter Island, his door was always open, his phone number listed in the book — and he picked up the phone when you called, as he embraced open government and complete transparency. Let Jim’s behaviors serve as an example of what Shelter Island’s government should be — always belonging to the people.

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields and

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Rest softly, my dear friend.


Gentleman from Shelter Island

To the Editor:

I did not know anything about this gentleman, Jim Dougherty, from Shelter Island before, but your online story (“Remembering the many roles of Jim Dougherty’s life”) was fantastic. His practical suggestions were such a benefit to the Island, preserving that beautiful space. Such a loss to Shelter Island to have lost this man. Nice job on the article!

Anna McCarroll, Stony Brook

These are not the funny pages

To the Editor:

The letter published recently on this page critical of the Paw Print cartoon was so misguided that it deserves a response.

The Paw Print cartoons are not about Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse or Looney Tunes. They are comments about current affairs and often funny and caustic. That is why they are printed in the opinion pages and are not relegated to what a generation ago were called the funny pages.

Mr. Waldner creates his cartoons for a living. His job is to illustrate political opinions. If any of his cartoons are inaccurate, personally insulting, or in poor taste, the letter writer’s assertions might have some validity, but that is clearly not the case. I am sure there are many gentlemen (and even some ladies) who have similar hair styles who lead complicated life styles.

Mr. Waldner subtly presented a political opinion which he is paid to do. The letter writer quite explicitly revealed that he did not share that opinion.

This is one (bald) man’s opinion.

DAVID OLSEN, Shelter Island

Professional, kind and calm

To the Editor:

We want to publicly extend heartfelt thanks to the amazing staffs at North Fork Animal Hospital here on Shelter Island and in Southold.

Our dog was attacked by another dog and sustained wounds to one leg. Both locations were fully booked for the day, but they fit her in to examine her on Shelter Island, determined that she needed stitches (which they only do in Southold,) and figured out how to fit her in for the stitches in Southold, giving up their lunch breaks to do so.

Veterinarians Pisciotta and D’Amato, all of the Vet Techs, and the entire staff were professional, calm (when we were not) and so kind to us.

Thanks for making a difficult couple of weeks as easy as was possible.

CAROL & TIM LOVSETH, Shelter Island