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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Sept. 14, 2023

Every morning

To the Editor:

RE: “Fire at Chequit quickly extinguished.” Oh no! In the 1960s I washed dishes at the Chequit. Here’s hoping everything’s O.K. I live in Colorado now and have done so for the last 50 years. But I still read the Reporter online every morning. Thanks for the memories.

CARL NICOLETTI, Boulder, Colo.

A suggestion

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters has always done an admirable job hosting our local governmental debates here on Shelter Island and we should all thank them for their work.

There is the potential for some major changes in our local government come Election Day in November. It is probably more important than ever to host our local political debates earlier to provide voters with a better understanding of the issues and how the candidates feel about them.

I realize that the debates for supervisor and Town Board positions are held separately, but all on the same day. Having participated in these debates myself, it might be more prudent to host them on separate weekends and extend them to a minimum of 1.5 to 2 hours in length in order to do justice when addressing the major issues facing our town government.  

People to whom I have talked feel strongly that these debates are important public forums for candidates, as well as for the voters. It helps to demonstrate their knowledge of the issues, but more importantly, how they would address them if elected.

Finally, it is my sense that there is a growing trend on Shelter Island to vote for the best candidate, not necessarily voting a straight party line. We should not let political signs and ads dictate who should be elected to the Town Board.

JIM COLLIGAN, Shelter Island

Mr. Colligan is a member of the Town Board. He is not running for re-election this year.

Just say … you know

To the Editor:

I’ve admittedly been ranting and raving to whoever I run into lately. I’m just fed up and so frustrated with the town’s unwillingness to just say “no.”

“No” you can’t just build any size house you want. “No” you can’t get a side setback variance to build a bigger house on top of your neighbor when your neighbor has reasonable objections. “No” you can’t intentionally circumnavigate building codes and just pay a fine. “No” you can’t just use systematic irrigation on your property with no sense of the fragile aquifer — especially in low lying areas. “No” you can’t clear-cut trees and vegetation and create runoff issues and ruin the natural habitat. 

We’ve made this mess by cultivating a sense of entitlement and lawlessness. We are trying to keep Shelter Island as this sweet little place where people do the right and reasonable thing. It is a sweet and beautiful place, but that small-town “Do the right thing” is long gone.

I hear we don’t want to be like other places and we have to chart our own course. Well, other places have recognized that, without a strong foundation of regulation and enforcement, none of that small town charm will remain.  

The Comprehensive Plan reflects a good portion of what we know this island needs. But it will just be words on paper without strong leadership that isn’t afraid to say “No” and back that “No” with serious enforcement resources. The small-town approach to government is not going to be able to execute on an ambitious Comprehensive Plan.

The next boom cycle out here is going to destroy a lot of what we love if we don’t begin to act and accept that “No” can be the right answer. 

Sean Davy, Shelter Island

State of the Nation

To the Editor:

When we visit the IGA we can’t help but notice the numerous young Latinos employed there. Inquisitive minds might wonder what problems they might encounter finding a place to live. Not so our elite managerial class, they are too busy planning million dollar apartments on valuable government real estate to provide subsidized luxury housing for our well-paid cops and school teachers.

President Biden advocates sending $20,000 to college graduates earning $125,000. Harvard professor and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren voted for legislation to pay rich folks $7,5000 to buy Teslas. The COVID recovery act paid $1,400 to high-bracket taxpayers, meanwhile the 60,000 New Yorkers living on the street with nothing to eat got zilch.

America has a problem! There is a distinct possibility of another Trump presidency. Such a catastrophe could occur by combining the votes of right wingers with those of the millions of workers who share the plight of our friends at IGA.

These folks work long hours. They live in dormitories and trailer parks. They eat rice and beans. They have no college loans nor do they aspire to drive Teslas. They simply can’t understand why they are ignored and deprived of even a tiny piece of the pie.

Another Trump presidency would not result from a victory of Trump and his followers. It would be the untoward consequence of an ignominious defeat of Biden and his feckless lieutenants resulting from their arrogance and myopia.

Just as our managing elites are oblivious to the housing needs of our friends at IGA, Biden and his cronies have no clue why “Rich Men North of Richmond” went from total obscurity to the top of the charts in one week because they are supercilious intellectuals who are to dumb to look in the mirror.

DAVID OLSEN, Shelter Island

What’s the plan?

The Draft Update to the Town Comprehensive Plan has been posted on the Town website for public review and public participation and comments are being sought by the Comprehensive Plan Task Force at the Public forum and Public Hearing scheduled for Saturday, September 23.

This will be the only opportunity for the community to weigh in on particular concerns and updates to the existing Comprehensive Plan that will affect zoning.

At Tuesday’s Town Board Work Session the Board members commented that there are only a “handful of zoning changes” and “not heavy in zoning changes”. These zoning changes are not specified in Chapter 3 Built Environment, Land Use and Zoning. Instead, they have been scattered throughout the document and mentioned in specific chapters in which these changes may occur.

Chapter 3 does state that it is important that zoning and other regulations are appropriately designed to protect the most valued qualities of the Island. I certainly agree. Unfortunately, the most valued qualities of the Island are not further defined.

Upon my review I have found references in the Draft Update to new Districts and Zones proposed. These include a Water Protection Zone and Wellhead Protection Zone (Chapter 7 Natural Resources and Water Quality), a Planned Development District (Chapter 4 Housing), a Marine District Zone (Chapter 8 Parks, Open Space and Waterways), a Historic District Zone including a Floating Zone for historic properties (Chapter 9 Quality of Life), and the merging of the current B zone and B-1 zones (Chapter 5 Economy).

Specifically mentioned in the Housing chapter is that any potential development would be in accordance with the “Master Plan” approved by the Town Board.

These Districts, Zones and Plans need further clarification, and the specific “handful of zoning changes” must be vetted.

PAM DEMAREST, Shelter Island