01/12/17 10:00am
COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

EVENTS

THURSDAY, JANUARY 12

Young Adult Book Club, discuss great books over snacks. Suggestions for future titles welcome. 2:30 p.m., library. (631) 749-0042.

Shelter Island Book Club, “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett. 5 p.m., library. (631) 749-0042. (more…)

01/22/14 7:46am
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Snow blanketed Shelter Island Tuesday night through early Wednesday morning.

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Snow blanketed Shelter Island Tuesday night through early Wednesday morning.

Shelter Island rode out an all night storm Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, with about ten inches of snow accumulating in spots, temperatures hovering near the single digits and winds gusting up to 35 mph. (more…)

07/29/13 3:00pm

REPORTER FILE PHOTO |

Governments on every level usually act with the swiftness of turtles stuck in molasses.

Sometimes the non-existent pace is because ideologues are busy shoveling sand into the fuel tanks of legislative machines hoping the whole thing seizes, preventing the other side from proceeding with its program — see the present U.S. House of Representatives. Sometimes it’s incompetence or laziness or both and other times it’s politicians choosing to delay controversial legislation until after an election season.

And then there are issues that need to proceed at their own pace, however slowly, because of the complexity of a subject.

The Town Board at its meeting Friday voted unanimously to pass a resolution imposing a moratorium that could last as long as eight months on the use of inground sprinkler systems.  This was after it passed a law in 2003 that banned new systems but allowed the use of existing systems for 10 years. On September 1 the law would place serious restrictions on the sprinklers grandfathered in.

It’s pure irony that the board acted in such a hurry, taking only three days after an initial work session discussion, to pass a resolution that delays legislation.

Ten years ago there was a water crisis here, with fears of a future with limited drinking water and the incursion of salt water into freshwater wells.

Even though the board had been circling around the issue during the 10-year period, with Councilman Ed Brown in particular calling for detailed discussion well before the due date loomed, the first real airing came at the work session on July 16. After hearing the lion’s share of comments from people calling for a repeal of the bill, the board acted swiftly to call a vote imposing an eight-month moratorium at its next meeting. It was a rare rapid action; but it was to punt the issue into May 2014.

One resident, Bob Cacciola, told the board Friday that the whole thing was “absurd” and “senseless.”

One thing that’s sure is the three board members up for reelection, Councilwoman Chris Lewis, Mr. Brown and Supervisor Jim Dougherty, were not in any way distressed to take a contentious issue off the table before November.

The board set an August 9 date for a public hearing on the irrigation law. Mr. Dougherty said Friday there’s the possibility the board could decide before the September deadline to let it take effect, amend it or repeal it.

Councilman Peter Reich suggested the board keep the issue on work session agendas every week for debate and to hammer out details.

It’s now up to Island residents to be as quick as the board was in calling for a timeout to attend the work sessions on the irrigation law.

Mr. Reich, asking for discussion before the vote last Friday, said he was in favor of a shorter moratorium than the one imposed, noting it would keep “our feet to the fire” to make a final judgment.

Showing up at Town Hall to voice an opinion for or against will also help them act with speed.