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Shelter Island Town Board work session report: Bridge Street parking changes sought

Five years ago Bridge Street merchants requested changes to parking in the shopping district. Now they hope there will be real progress on their request.

At issue is too many people using unrestricted parking for hours or even days at a time, Bridge Street business owner Angelo Piccozzi told the Town Board at its Tuesday work session.

There are spaces along Route 114 — a state controlled thoroughfare — that the state must approve to allow more short-term parking.

Police Chief Jim Read asked Mr. Piccozzi to speak with neighboring business owners to confirm there’s a consensus among the merchants, something he said didn’t happen in the past. He said he has reached out to state officials about four parking spots along a white fence across from the gas station to provide parking, and to move an existing area for handicapped parking that is currently considered unsafe and inconvenient.

When the Dory was in operation, owner Jack Kiffer asked for spots allowing up to two hours for people who wanted to use the restaurant. Other spots along Bridge Street marked either for an hour or unlimited time need to be looked at by the town for changes.

Pyramid Law draft

The so-called “pyramid law” draft that aims to control building heights is still under discussion, and this week, questions revolved around whether it should be used in business and commercial zones or just in residential areas.

Town Attorney Stephen Kiely said he had concerns that applying it to businesses could end up making a lot of work for the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) if an existing business or commercial establishment wanted to make any changes to a structure, since many are currently non-conforming.

Mr. Kiely will be making some changes to the draft as discussions continue.

Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams is hoping to be able to set a date for a public hearing in April and hold the hearing in May to adopt legislation in early June.

Fresh Pond

The short-term effort to remove vegetation from Fresh Pond is anticipated to get underway. The estimated cost is expected to be between $10,000 and $20,000, Town Engineer Joe Finora told the Town Board. The cost is to be paid by the Fresh Pond Neighbors Association with the town picking up relatively small costs for the application filed for a permit with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The more permanent solution awaits grant money, as reported earlier. An earlier grant application was turned down because the DEC was delayed in processing the application. At the time, Mr. Finora pointed out the irony that a state agency had turned down the grant request because another state agency was behind in processing applications.

The application for this year’s short-term effort is expected to be forthcoming within a couple of weeks, Mr. Finora said. He noted the Town Board will have to file a short environmental quality form for the work (SEQRA).