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12/08/15 8:01am
PETER REICH PHOTO | A Christmas beacon for sailors.

PETER REICH PHOTO | A Christmas beacon for sailors.

Town Councilman Peter Reich sent us the above photograph.

Referring to the “Decorate Your Door Contest” organized by the Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce for the holidays, Mr. Reich noted that, “I may not have the best decorated door, but I have the best decorated dock!”

Hard to argue with him. (more…)

03/05/13 11:50am

JULIE LANE FILE PHOTO | Peter Reich told WMAC members Monday night anyone seeking to remove a bulkhead, dock or groin must have a town permit.

Removing a dock, bulkhead or groin requires a permit, Councilman Peter Reich told members of the Shelter Island Waterways Management Advisory Council Monday night. Town code has always been clear on the need for a permit to build or replace such structures, but was silent on whether a person wanting to remove them needed a permit, Mr. Reich said.

In a conversation with Town Attorney Laury Dowd, he said they resolved that removal would also need a permit. While removing a dock might not have an effect on neighboring properties, removal of a bulkhead or groin could certainly affect neighbors, Mr. Reich said.

Continuing concerns about erosion at Reel Point elicited an agreement from Council Chairman John Needham to check on the status of requests that have gone to Suffolk County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to be able to take actions to shore up the strip of land. Left unattended, Reel Point could become a tombolo, an area only accessible by land at times of low tides.

The newly formed Friends of Smith Cove informed the council that an effort is afoot to raise money to repair bulkheads on the east side of the cove and said they would later be looking to get dredging done in the area once the bulkhead was repaired.

The WMAC agreed to recommend the Town Board pass five of six applications it reviewed. They want applicant Nicky Hunt of 11 Wheeler Road to stake a proposed dock project that would see construction of a 4-foot by 18-foot fixed dock, a 2.5-foot by 12-foot ramp and a 6-foot by 20-foot float with two anchor piles. The staking needs to show both high and low water marks. Once the project is staked, the council can determine what action to recommend to the Town Board.

The WMAC is recommending approval of the following applications:

• Carmel and Eugene Krauss of 183 Ram Island Drive, want to remove 215 feet of bulkhead and a 210-foot retaining wall and construct 215 feet of new bulkheading and a 30-foot new south bulkhead return and  a new 210-foot retaining wall. Clean, trucked-in fill would be used on the void landward and the area would be regraded revegetated with native plants to match existing vegetation. Revegetation would also take place between the bulkhead and retaining wall with non-turf plants and missing lower support members of an existing stairway would be rebuilt. They want to construct a new three-foot wide access stairway from the bulkhead to the beach to replace a destroyed staircase.

•Jeannette Williams of 85 Ram Island Drive wants to replace 260 feet of bulkhead, filling void areas with clean, trucked-in fill and revegetate and repair the area and repair a stairway down to the bluff.

• Louise Calvin of 48 Gardiners Bay Drive wants to construct 40 feet of a new rock revetment return using one to three tons of rocks. The project would include filling the area landward with clean, trucked-in soil  and regrading and revegetating the area with native plants to match existing ones.

• Brian Shea of 118 South Midway Road wants to transfer a previously approved stake, mooring and pulley systems permit from Russell Ireland to himself. Mr. Shea bought the property from Mr. Ireland.

• Charles Dlhopolsky of 12 Thompson Road wants a new mooring in Smith Cove.

02/15/13 12:09pm

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop has set up a special email address ahead of a public meeting —[email protected] — to allow Islanders to weigh in on mail delivery difficulties.

Shelter Islanders can now voice their concerns on the federal level about mail problems here.

A day after Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) called for a public meeting on Shelter Island next month to discuss ZIP code confusion with residents, representatives from his office plus town and United States Postal Service officials, the congressman’s office provided an email address for Islanders to use to make their voices heard.

The email is [email protected]

Those who have had problems getting either packages or first-class mail should describe their experiences to Mr. Bishop via the email address. His office is working with Shelter Island Councilman Peter Reich to set up the promised March meeting to bring some clarity to the serious problems and to determine solutions.

The email address is “intended to be a tool for residents to directly inform the congressman’s office of their issues with the USPS service on Shelter Island and their suggestions for potential solutions,” Mr. Bishop’s spokesman Oliver Longwell told the Reporter. The correspondence won’t be released publicly, he said.

Bob Fredericks, one of those who early on voiced his difficulties getting some of his first-class mail, thought Mr. Bishop’s getting involved could lead to solutions since “he’ll probably be able to get more of a response than even newspapers or we can get.”

Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he thinks the onus lies with private companies whose data bases are incorrect and believes local postal officials do their best to assure that people get their packages and first-class mail.

But there have been several reports that say the problem goes deeper than retailers not delivering packages, but more serious issues such as important first-class mail not being received.

“I’m certainly going to attend and actively participate” in the discussion about how to rectify the situation for Islanders, the supervisor said.

He was aware that residents and businesses had the option of choosing either ZIP code no matter where they lived — which could be part of the problem.

“It’s a complicated thing,” Councilman Paul Shepherd said. “I’m looking forward to getting started.”

A firm date for the March public meeting hasn’t been set, but is likely to be sometime during the week of March 18, according to Mr. Longwell.

Other contact information for Mr, Bishop:

Southampton Office
137 Hampton Road
Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 259-8450
(631) 259-8451 (fax)

Washington Office
306 Cannon H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-3826
(202) 225-3143 (fax)

01/24/13 2:00pm
United States Post Office logo

COURTESY PHOTO | Mail mix ups continue on Shelter Island.

What started as a struggle to get packages delivered to box holders on Shelter Island — where there is no home delivery of mail — has escalated.

Some first-class mail from federal and state agencies, plus important documents from insurance companies, are being returned to senders saying the mail is undeliverable.

Town Councilman Peter Reich, who has been on the bandwagon trying to solve the problem for more than two years, weighed in on the problem Thursday.

In 2011, Mr. Reich wrote to Postmaster General Jack Potter pointing out that since there’s no home delivery on the Island, something needs to be done to ensure residents and business owners will receive packages and first class letters without delay. He pointed out he understands the U.S. Patriot Act’s restriction on delivering cell phones to post office boxes, but said there needs to be a solution since Islanders have no home delivery. What’s more, Mr. Reich wrote at the time, they should be able to get their bills for cellphone service without a problem.

“In most of the country, mail carriers can find one’s home in the middle of dozens of square miles,” Mr. Reich said. “It seems they should also be able to find one’s box in a 1,500 square foot post office,” he said. He copied that letter to Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), but has gotten no action from either the Postmaster General or the congressman.

David Draper, a Reporter contributor, noted some Zip code maps conflict with one another identifying where the boundaries of each of the Island’s two postal districts.

“The postal service’s own site tells me my street address doesn’t exist,” Mr. Draper said. “The maps seem to prove there isn’t a definitive ‘map’ in existence,” he said. “Every other Zip code has physical boundaries. We don’t.”

Island resident Bob Fredericks, in a January 17 letter to Reporter, pointed out he has informed the Postmaster General of problems getting mail from the Social Security Administration, Medicare, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Board of Elections and insurance companies.

“My address by government agencies is often ‘corrected’ by these agencies,” Mr. Fredericks wrote, “and sent to 11964 because of where we physically live, and as a consequence we do not get important or serious mail.”

Just this week, Mr. Fredericks visited the Center Post Office where he said he got an agreement that mail that landed there in error would be forwarded to the Heights Post Office. That’s something postmasters at both local post offices said they routinely do.

The situation on Shelter Island appears to be unique, at least in this area —  other communities with customers with Post Office boxes rather than home delivery report no problem with getting either packages or first-class mail. Oliver Longwell, Congressman Bishop’s communications director, after promising to brief the congressman on the problem, wrote in an  email to the Reporter Thursday afternoon : “I live in Sag Harbor in 11963 and mail is not delivered to my house so I have to have a PO Box. I’ve never had an issue, though.”

Local post office officials aren’t allowed to speak to the press and several inquiries to corporate communications have so far gone unanswered.

12/14/12 1:00pm

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Councilman Peter Reich at a Town Board work session.

State and federal insults to local independence have long been a sore point for the Long Island towns, including Shelter Island, that claim exclusive jurisdiction over their own waters and bay bottoms under colonial patents issued more than 350 years ago.

Last week, Shelter Island’s Town Board briefly thought the state might be trying to cross the town’s red line once again — as it did in a big way in 2009 when it ordered all the state’s saltwater fishermen to obtain annual licenses from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Joining with two other East End towns, Shelter Island sued to quash the licensing requirement within their own boundaries, citing royal patents issued by colonial governors in the name of the king that gave them exclusive control over their own waters and their products. They won in 2010 and the next year the State Legislature passed legislation requiring the DEC to drop the fee for those Long Island towns.

The issue last week was about a slighter but still insidious insult to town jurisdiction, at least in the local view: a fee that Town Councilman Peter Reich said he had never noticed before for DEC permits the town obtains for its own projects. He said he had noticed the fee requirement on state paperwork authorizing drywells the town plans for East Brander Parkway and dredging planned at the town dock on Bridge Street to give the fire department deeper water from which to draft.

Raising the issue at the December 11 Town Board work session, he gave as another example the annual scallop seeding project in local waters, for which the board has budgeted the usual $12,000 for 2013.

“According to the DEC, we can’t spend that $12,000 until we pay them $100,” Mr. Reich said. He suggested that Town Attorney Laury Dowd write a letter to the DEC saying the town wouldn’t pay because of its authority under the Nicolls Patent of 1666.

Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar said at the time that the town never pays permit fees to the DEC, even when past paperwork has indicated they are due, and the DEC has never objected. And this week Mr. Reich said he’d learned from Ms. Dowd that it was a moot issue because the DEC did not expect the town to pay permit fees even though cover letters and instructions may indicate fees are due.

There does seem to be a lot of legal gray area when it comes to the overlap of federal, state and local jurisdiction.
That point was proven in a bigger way last year when the town agreed — despite its legal and political victories — to have local saltwater fishermen register with the state every year through the Town Clerk’s office. The DEC said it would not charge a fee for the registration card that fishermen receive. The state promised to charge no fee for only the first two years of the registration program, which it said was required to keep the federal government from stepping in and requiring it under the latest renewal of the federal Magnuson-Stevens Act , under which data is collected on fishing activities and quotas are set to limit catches and protect fishing stocks.

The Town Board, after struggling with the Hobson’s Choice, decided it was better to deal with the state as long as no fee is charged. What happens if a fee is levied after two years will be another matter.