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Little concern voiced at Shelter Island Town Board about nuisance noise issues

Responding to emails and telephone calls she has received, Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams added an item to the Tuesday Town Board work session titled “Nuisance Noise.”

That includes everything from gas-powered leaf blowers to regulating construction hours, and other sounds that might disturb residents.

Gas-powered leaf blowers have been a source of consternation for some Island residents, the supervisor said. She sought comments from her Town Board colleagues and the public whether a complete ban on their use might be needed, or a seasonal limit on hours of operation, as some neighboring towns have.

In East Hampton and Southampton there’s a limit to their use between May 20 and Sept. 20, Town Attorney Stephen Kiely said.

Resident Jan Sudol noted there is a difference between use in purely residential areas and in business zones. He further noted there is loud music emanating from wedding venues and said the police are slow to respond.

Police Chief Jim Read took exception to that statement, telling Mr. Sudol his statement about slow response is not accurate. But in any case, there is a separate Town Code pertaining to efforts to control loud music.

Chief Read said most Islanders want to comply with codes, and when informed of complaints, rectify situations with no further need for police activity. He also said he doesn’t believe there is enough of a problem with gas-powered leaf blowers to trigger new legislation.

Resident Pam Demarest said while the leaf blowers might need to start later than 7 a.m., they should be allowed on Saturdays. Lawn care workers are hampered by weather that interrupts serving customers. The workers need to be allowed to function on Saturdays to catch up with those who have been rained out on scheduled weekdays.

As for construction, those workers, too, should be allowed to use their tools, but not cause undue noise, Ms. Demarest said.

Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC) General Manager Stella Lagudis shared the policy in effect in the Heights. Landscapers and construction workers are allowed to work between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.

On Sundays and legal holidays, they are not allowed to work. She said neighbors generally comply with the policy and if there are noise complaints, she reaches out to ask that offending work be curtailed.

The discussion was brief, and at the suggestion of Councilman Albert Dickson, left open to see if there is public interest about implementing new regulations.

Noting the Town Board has plenty of issues on its plate, Ms. Brach-Williams agreed to drop the issue unless there is public demand for action.