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Shelter Island Town Board Report — Dock moratorium likely: Preservation Advisory Board to review acquisition plan

The Town Board is likely to move forward with a three-month moratorium on new dock applications following Monday night’s brief public hearing at Town Hall.

Waterways Management Advisory Council Chairman Bill Geraghty told the Town Board the Suffolk County Planning Commission had approved the moratorium to give council members time to examine a proliferation of applications for new docks during the past five years, most of which would require exemptions from code.

Members want to examine environmental factors that can affect the placement of new docks, and originally asked for a six-month moratorium. In approving three months, Mr. Geraghty said the Planning Commission can always return to report progress as it approaches the end of three months, and would likely be granted an extension.

The County Planning Commission isn’t fond of moratoriums, Town Attorney Stephen Kiely said, but in this case, it saw the environmental concerns as a reason to unanimously grant the request.

With no other comments during the public hearing, Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams said the Town Board will discuss the proposal at its Jan. 30 work session and set it for a vote at the Feb. 5 regular Town Board meeting.  The Town Board could override the three months and grant a full six-month moratorium by a super majority vote. But Mr. Kiely advised them not to do so, but instead accept the three-month decision, and then return to the County Planning Commission if more time is needed.

CPF Acquisition Plan

A second public hearing on a new Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board Acquisition Plan was opened and closed. Ms. Brach-Williams said the Town Board wants to give the CPF Advisory Board time to review the proposed plan and then reschedule a new public hearing on the plan.

The only speaker at Monday night’s meeting was resident Stephen Jacobs, who reiterated the substance of an email he had sent to the Town Board asking for a ban on CPF money being spent to purchase property on which well heads or pumps could be placed.


Reappointments to committees, usually automatic, raised one concern among Board members, but was not aimed specifically at the Planning Board member whose term was up.

Matthew Fox, his Planning Board term having expired at the end of the year, was up for renewal. He was unanimously approved, but only after Councilmen Albert Dickson and Benjamin Dyett made their case for seeking future new members on that board who have experience with environmental issues and planning, which Mr. Dickson said is missing among the members.

Mr. Dyett jumped in, asking that the Town Board cast a wider net in searching for new members.

Both men, along with  Ms. Brach-Williams, have made it clear they don’t favor a decision made by the previous administration to give the Planning Board the power to grant wetlands permits.

It will surprise no one to see that previous decision reversed by the new administration, with final responsibility on wetlands permit applications returned to the Town Board.

Other Reappointments

Several other reappointments were unanimously approved with no discussion:

• Peter McCracken to the Community Housing Board for a term to expire at the end of 2027 and to the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board for a term that would expire at the end of 2025.

• Kathleen Girard to the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board for a term that would expire on Feb. 2, 2027.

• Al Loreto to the Waterways Management Advisory Council for a term that would expire on Feb. 1, 2027.

• John Needham to the Ferry Study Group for a term that would expire on Jan. 29, 2026.

• Marc Wein to the Waterways Management Advisory Council for a term that would expire Feb. 1, 2027.

The Town Board also appointed former committee clerk Catherine Ryan as secretary to Highway Superintendent and Public Works Commissioner Ken Lewis to a retroactive term that started on Jan. 1.