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Hardship claim for large house rejected

The Town Board Tuesday night turned thumbs down on an application for a hardship exemption from the moratorium on construction of residential buildings exceeding the 5,999 square feet of living space allowed by code.

The vote was unanimous, as members found Joshua Greenwald of 1 Pandion had not met the burden that a hardship was being suffered in line with New York State and town laws.

The property is on the site of the former St. Gabriel’s property that overlooks Coecles Harbor. The 25-acre site was purchased by Rich Hogan, who had told the Town Board when it was considering a moratorium, that it was “lazy legislation.”

The Town Board had initially sought a one-year moratorium, which the Suffolk County Planning Commission in early May approved, but for six months. That would expire in November, although the town could request an extension and even override it by a super majority of its members if the Planning Commission refused additional time.

During a public hearing in August on the application for a hardship exemption, John Bennett of Bennett & Read LLP represented Mr. Greenwald. He maintained the work would have been completed before the moratorium was ever contemplated, but delays occurred because of Town Board questions.

Mr. Greenwald subsequently said contractors had broken ground on his property in 2022 but discovered during excavation for the house that the water table was higher than had been anticipated. He had to sacrifice a 700-square-foot basement area, and was asking, instead, that the space be picked up in an accessory barn. But the actual addition to the barn with insulation and heating and cooling units totaled 2,200 square feet.

The hardship caused by further delay, Mr. Greenwald said, would require rescheduling contractors at what would likely require higher cost if he couldn’t go forward now.

The Town Board didn’t accept that argument.

Fire Department incorporation

Following a public hearing Tuesday night, the Town Board approved the Shelter Island Fire Department’s effort to incorporate as a nonprofit. The vote was 4-0 with Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams recusing herself because she is treasurer for the Board of Fire Commissioners.


The Town Board extended the term of Scott Campbell, Ph.D., to serve on the Deer and Tick Committee. Mr. Campbell is Suffolk County Entomology Lab Chief and a long-time member of the local Deer & Tick Committee. His new term expires on June 24, 2026. Christina Cobourn Herman was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Green Options Committee. Her appointment will expire on Sept. 19, 2026.