Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor, March 10, 2022
For the editor:
Running for public office and being a public servant can be difficult and frustrating, as well as rewarding and demoralizing. Local politicians have been and will continue to be “fair game” for the public. A good percentage of the letters that are published in the Reporter are addressed to local leaders, namely the city council.
Some reviews are correct, but most are simply unfounded and wrong. Facts are important and gaining a better understanding of the issue(s) is key to attacking.
A perfect example is the municipal wastewater treatment project. City Council and the public received their first public presentation by Lombardo Associates on December 14 during a regular council business meeting. The audience was well represented and asked very good questions.
Obviously, the major refusal was to use the Klenawicus airport site as the best site for effluent treatment and disposal. Many legitimate concerns were expressed and the Council listened and reacted. Although engineers have determined that the airfield is the most advantageous site for such a project, the city supervisor, city engineer and other key city employees continue to evaluate alternative locations by direct response to public comments.
This project alone has the potential to stabilize and perhaps begin to reduce groundwater nitrogen levels for the Centre. The proposed project provides nitrogen treatment and reduction equivalent to nearly 150 residential I/A systems, almost the total amount of I/A systems installed on the island to date.
Finally, the City and West Neck Water (WNW) Council have worked tirelessly to negotiate the best lease-management agreement for their clients. As you may know, the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) has been running the WNW district since last summer and the town and WNW council have been evaluating its performance.
Managing a water district is no easy task and in the opinion of the City and the WNW Board of Directors, SCWA is well qualified and well placed to manage and resolve major infrastructure issues. . Perhaps most importantly, SCWA provides an avenue to extend public water infrastructure to our neighbors who struggle to reliably supply safe drinking water on their own, but only when these residents demand it.
I would say that by staying positive and working together, we can achieve our desired goals.
JIM COLLIGANCouncillor, Town of Shelter Island
For the editor:
The Community Housing Commission is very focused and moves things along steadily.
Since the council reformed this fall, we have been very busy. We met with the directors of the Southampton and East Hampton housing authorities, the director of housing for the town of East Hampton, and members of housing organizations in Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island.
We visited housing built by the Southampton and East Hampton Housing Authorities, the City of East Hampton and the Windmill Villages of East Hampton. After seeing these big projects, we researched the land leases and deed restrictions needed to complete them.
We hired a pro bono lawyer to review land leases and began discussions with local banks about financing our housing. We recently approved a Special Community Housing License that will create a locked Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) at an affordable rental rate. We are in the process of reviewing current ADU laws to make changes to encourage private housing development.
We solicited members to apply for the Community Housing Fund Advisory Board, a group tasked with creating a housing plan for Shelter Island in preparation for the Peconic Bay Area Community Housing Act. The CHB did preliminary work for this group by researching housing plans from East End towns and other island communities.
We have drawn up a plan for an overlay of community housing and a shared water system that could enable the creation of eight homes for sale between properties at Manwaring Road and 69 North Ferry Road. Unfortunately, this was filed recently because the wastewater treatment system may use one of these properties.
In preparation for last month’s meeting, we contacted companies to find out the cost of a housing needs assessment. At our last meeting, we were told for the first time that we had to do this and that it was our responsibility, not the council’s, to create a request for proposal for the needs assessment. The next day we contacted the city attorney to develop one.
All the pieces come together for the creation of community housing on the island. It is frustrating to read in the journalist’s “Our View” that we need to focus on a needs assessment when we have already started the process to get there. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done and we are doing it.
CHRIS DIORIOChair, Community Housing Commission
Make it a Summer of Bucks Baseball
For the editor:
I dream of seeing the Shelter Island Bucks play at Fiske Field this summer.
It has been three years since they last came due to the challenges of COVID-19. And summer isn’t summer without a Bucks game!
I recently joined Brian Cass and Frank Vecchio in their annual effort to help bring the Bucks to our island for the summer. Our number one priority is to find player housing for June and July. We need 30 beds/rooms with access to a small space in a fridge and laundry facilities, to clean up those nice uniforms after a slide through the house.
We’re about a third of the way there, but if we’re not all placed we won’t be able to host a team, and that would probably be our third goal.
If you have space or know someone who does, please contact me directly at 415-613-1991 or [email protected]
Let’s all make this summer a Bucks for all of us and our kids, and bring back the fun of grabbing a hot dog or burger and cheering on the Fiske Field team!
DAVID AUTINShelter Island
For the editor:
Congratulations to Bob DeStefano Jr. for the best letter to the editor I have ever read.
Caught in a whirlwind of machinations, you emerged with grace and style.
CHRIS LEWISFormer Alderman, Town of Shelter Island
For the editor:
Dear Islanders, please turn off your engines when on the ferry lines and the ferry. This way we won’t need to buy so much oil from Russia and support Putin’s war machine.
Plus, it’s a Coast Guard requirement that you do. Let’s work together to save gas and help restore America’s energy independence.
PIERRE REICHformer councilman for the town of Shelter Island