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Shelter Island construction moratorium extension planned

The Town Board’s six-month moratorium on construction of houses that exceed the 5,999 square feet of living space allowed by code is nearing its six-month anniversary.

The moratorium originally imposed for one year, had the blessing of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, but for six months, not 12. With its expiration coming next month, a subcommittee that has been working to examine the effect of large houses on the Island, and ways to limit what can be built, now needs more time.

Plans call for seeking a followup meeting with the Suffolk County planners to ask for a three to six month extension.

Town Attorney Stephen Kiely told the Town Board at its Nov. 8 work session that while it’s important to return to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, if the extension is rejected, then a super majority vote of the Town Board can override that decision and extend the process.

Senior tax exemptions

The Town Board heard from assessor Judith Lechmanski about three different means of calculating exemptions aimed at helping those residents on fixed incomes to pay less in taxes.

Currently, the town takes the federally adjusted gross income, adds in the tax-exempt gross interest, takes out any IRA distribution, and adds in Social Security.

Ms. Lechmanski outlined alternatives that would provide the Town Board with choices to make about what to include or exclude in calculating exemptions. It will fall to the Board to choose an option members believe would help those seniors who need exemptions the most because of their low incomes.

It’s expected the current Town Board will further discuss options and make a choice for 2024 by the end of this month.

To access Ms. Lechmanski’s explanation of the options, they are available on the video of the Nov. 8 work session approximately five minutes into the session.

Demolition delay There’s a delay on demolition of the town-owned house at 40 North Ferry Road. Although electricity to the structure has been turned off, disconnecting electrical wires from poles requires time for PSEG to schedule that operation.

Currently, it is not expected to happen until Dec. 6, according to Public Works Commissioner Brian Sherman.

He also noted the Shelter Island Fire Department wants to use the building as a training site in the interim, and that requires Town Board approval and insurance in place should an accident occur, Mr. Sherman said