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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: April 18, 2024

Joy and magic

To the Editor:

Congratulations to the cast and crew of “Miracle in the Park.”

The combined efforts of the brilliant writer and composer John Kaasik, the choreography of Laura Dickerson, and the fairy-like dancing, singing, and acting of the Shelter Island students made for two hours of pure joy and magic.

A special shout-out to returning alumnus Nicholas Labrozzi, whose role as Max Wendel was singularly noteworthy.

Thank you all.

KAREN KIAER, Shelter Island

Vibrant and representative

To the Editor:

The Reporter’s opinion, “Our View, Make best, not most expedient decisions,” (April 11, 2024) suggests the ZBA may not be the best solution to curb developer exploitation. True. New York State Town Law Section 267-b, “Permitted Actions by the ZBA,” outlines four specific criteria the ZBA must use to grant use variances and five criteria for area variances.

Counsel’s suggestion that “the character of the neighborhood” should be a “major” consideration for the ZBA undermines State Town Law as it serves to create bias as weighed against the other criteria. Bias creates legal peril.

As a former ZBA chair for the Village of Dering Harbor, no one likes to make a hardship application to the ZBA and no one on the ZBA wants to turn a neighbor down if they have demonstrated a hardship.

Although the ZBA acts as a check on the Town code, it looks as if the quest to dial back over development may drive over a cliff or into an architectural review board. Some will argue which is worse but better to do so with a full Town board.

By appointing a political rival to fill my Trustee seat when I became Mayor of the Village of Dering Harbor (in public subject to a vote by the trustees), my thought was to demonstrate a work ethic that represented all residents. Only a full board can make optimal appointments to carry on the business of the Town.

Although we are limited by the tendency of human nature to consolidate decision making among a few, a vibrant representative Town Board requires the opposite.

Does the supervisor have the courage?

JOHN T. COLBY JR., Shelter Island

Editor’s Note:
The writer is a former mayor, ARB chair and ZBA chair of the
Village of Dering Harbor.

Democrats call for support

To the Editor:

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our March 30 event. We are fired up about launching our local Democratic Committee forward and starting a new chapter.

We also wanted to answer some of the frequent questions we’ve been receiving:  What is the Democratic Committee? And why have we not seen elections before for these positions?  Great questions!

The local Democratic Committee is charged to recruit and support Democratic candidates all the way up the ballot and to represent and organize local Democrats.

The Committee is composed of two members who represent each of Shelter Island’s four Election Districts (roughly four quarters of the Island).

These are elected positions, chosen by Democratic voters in each Election District. That’s how most Committees are elected. If there are not multiple candidates, the standing chair can simply appoint people to these positions.

So, the reason you haven’t seen elections for the Committee positions is that no one has challenged the chair’s selections before. In many other communities, running for the Democratic committee is a regular part of the election cycle.

This year there is so much at stake and we need a proactive committee leading the way. Our sights are set on preparing for the upcoming local season and seeking exceptional candidates for the Town Board vacancies next cycle. Additionally, we are working hard this fall to rally Democrats to send our candidates to Washington and Albany.

Stay tuned for more information on our Memorial Day Event — save the date for May 26 from 3 to 6 p.m. And feel free to contact us with any questions through SIDemocrats.org.

Cat Brigham — Vice Chair SIDC ED2; Liz Hanley — Treasurer SIDC ED3; Greg Toner — SIDC ED1; Barrie Silver — SIDC ED4; Bill Mastro (Mastrogiacomo) — (former) SIDC ED1; Kathy Gooding — ED3; Mark Mobius — ED2.

CAT BRIGHAM, Shelter Island

Why the fare increase?

To the Editor:

A couple of months ago, the Hampton Jitney sent out the word to those of us who use it to go from Greenport and other towns on Long Island into Manhattan and back.

They wanted customers to contact the New York City MTA about the proposed congestion pricing, which at the time looked like it would apply an extra fee to the Jitney buses, thus “necessitating” a fare increase to an already pricey ride.

Eagerly a number of us wrote to the MTA requesting that the Jitney be exempt from this fee, as the Jitney is an important mode of transportation for many out this way — which also helps keep vehicle congestion down.

To my surprise, right before the MTA decision was to be announced, I noticed online that the Jitney had already quietly raised the price of tickets a few dollars.

Then the MTA rightfully exempted the Hampton Jitney from the congestion pricing — but we got the fare increase anyway. So much for that.