ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD
P.O. Box 464, Fishers Island, NY 06390
Island Community Board Meeting Minutes
August 14, 2017
Director’s Present: Tom O’Neil (President), Dicky Riegel (Seasonal Rep), Tim Patterson (Waste Management), Ace Ahrens (Ferry District), Matt Edwards (Walsh Park), Candy Whitman (Year-Round Rep), Marc Rubenstein (IHP), Willard Soper (Treasurer, Seasonal Rep)
Call In: Tom Sargent (Conservancy) & Elizabeth McCance (Museum)
Staff: Zack Hoch (Administrator/Secretary)
Approve Minutes: The minutes from the July minutes were unanimously approved by the board and are available on fishersisland.net.
Environmental Discussion: Discussion continues about the open land spaces on the island. Two spots in particular include Race Point and the Parade Grounds which run to Race Rock Garden Company. Tom Sargent reached out to Melissa Spiro and more conversations with the town are needed. Tax dollars could be used to preserve this land for open public good. Many parties are interested. Dicky Riegel stated this opportunity goes back to the Tax Study and that taxes paid by the island are not getting the island a fair return. Dicky stated the land is not well preserved for the future and asked how we can permanently protect and keep it from other parties. Louisa Evans stated the land cannot be sold without the vote of island residents. The question was asked if affordable housing could be built in this land if the homes were built on stilts, since land is in a flood zone. Willard Soper stated that relative to the Parade Grounds, an interim step for Southold planning and zoning would be to zone the area as unbuildable or park. Since zoning can be changed, this would be a step on the right direction. Tom O’Neil suggested deeming smaller particular areas of land public open space rather than all the land at once. Dicky Riegel volunteered to draft a document to take to the town asking for permanent protection of the Parade Grounds. Tom Sargent concluded saying the Conservancy needs 100% support from the Ferry District and the open land currently looks at its best.
Administrator Position: Louisa Evans and Tom O’ Neil are drafting a job description for a part-time administrator position on Fishers Island. Because the town would be paying, Civil Service and ICB must both be satisfied. At this point the salary is unknown. Tom stated good methodology can get things done and he will call Scott Russell once the job description draft is complete.
Sidewalks: Louisa Evans stated engineers surveyed the island’s sidewalks a couple weeks ago. Sarah Porter observed them walking and video graphing. Large trees will need to be taken down to repair sections of sidewalk. This is a costly procedure and with the budget only small sections of sidewalk can be repaired at a time. Dicky Riegel mentioned that Scott Russell thinks $500,000 every other year might make more sense than $250,000 every year. Sidewalks that are most commonly used will be prioritized first. Any requests on prioritized sections should be given to Louisa Evans and she can bring requests to the town.
Election Preview: Meg Atkin is the only nominee this year in the upcoming election. Currently Meg is completing Heather Burnham’s term. Only the year-round population can vote. The election starts August 24 at 10:00am. Votes can be made online at fishersisland.net/about-fishers-island/island-community-board/ or on a paper ballot at the Community Center front table. Candy Whitman stated the community needs to get into the habit of voting.
Healthcare Update: Candy Whitman stated the Department of Health can help facilitate access to health care for those who have New York insurance but wish to receive coverage in Connecticut. Angel Flight NE (volunteer pilots) offer transport to people in remote locations, including Fishers Island residents, for medical appointments. These pilots need certain hours to keep their credentials up. Jane Ahrens was able to utilize the service for a wellness visit in Long Island in July. The trip took 12 minutes each way versus the 11 hours round trip using the 4 ferry boat rides.
Airport: A seasonal resident of Fishers Island stated there are rumors of the Fishers Island Airport being shut down. Ferry Commissioner Ahrens stated this is most unlikely. If Elizabeth Field was to close it would be an FAA decision. The ICB would like to speak with anyone who may have further information.
Treasurer’s Update: Willard Soper stating there is approximately $6,300 in the ICB checking account but a large payment due to administration. Willard continued stating more people need to become aware of the annual appeal and there is not enough progress being made. Tom O’Neil motioned to approve the administrative payment of 150 hours. Motion was passed.
Recreation Path: John McGillian joined the meeting and stated the Recreation Path should have representation on ICB because it is not being prioritized enough. The Navy owns some of the land that the Rec. Path needs. John was disappointed when talking with Scott Russell learning that it was either sidewalk repairs or rec. path extension; not both. Scott Russell does not see the path as an island priority as only a few people have complained about the issue. John inquired about starting a petition for the path seeing how it worked with the sidewalks. Dick Miller stated safety is paramount concern. There have been prior fatalities on the path and lawsuits. Currently the path is stuck by Wilderness Point but ideally should go all the way to the ferry. The Navy side of the road would be safest but their property runs to the center of the main road. Estimated costs are $400,000. $200,000 could come from the town and the other $200,000 could be fundraised. Dick stated an alternative route would be continuing the path through an 82 foot gap by John Ski’s property. The tread from use would form a dirt path. Sarah Porter asked about widening the road but that could encourage cars to travel faster.
Communications: In effort to improve communications, approved minutes will be posted on fishersisland.net/about-fishers-island/island-community-board/. After the first draft of minutes is initially sent out, board members will have one week to request any changes. Any people who speak at ICB meetings should leave an email address if they wish to receive the minutes.