ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD
P.O. Box 464, Fishers Island, NY 06390
ICB Meeting Monthly Minutes
December 11, 2017, 5:30pm
Directors Present: Meg Atkin (Year-Round), Candy Whitman (Year-Round), Nate Malinowski (Year-Round), Christian Arsenault (School), Chris Finan (Utility Company), Tim Patterson (Waste Management)
Directors On Call: Tom O’ Neil (President), Willard Soper (Treasurer), Tom Sargent (Conservancy), John McGillian (FIDCO)
Directors Absent: Dicky Reigel (Seasonal), Marc Rubenstein (IHP), Elizabeth McCance (Museum), Matt Edwards (Walsh Park), Geb Cook (Ferry District)
Staff Present: Zack Hoch (Administrator & Secretary)
Public Present: Sarah Porter, George De Menil, Harry & Ellen Parker, Chris Edwards, Bob Evans
Approve November Minutes
Tom O’Neil motioned to pass the minutes from the November meeting. The board seconded and the minutes unanimously passed.
Nate Malinowski reported he has not received much feedback from the community regarding the 2017 Fishers Island Annual Report. Nate heard back from 70% of the organizations in which he contacted. This is an increase from last year. Fifty copies were printed, many were taken at the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot at the Community Center. Waste Management did fill out a repot but it was not handed in on time. It will be added to the Annual Report. More copies will be handed out at the Christmas Museum Party.
Willard Soper reported the balance in checking account has diminished to $1,173 and he suggests all board members make a contribution of at least $50 by year’s end. He also would like to put a note in the January Fog Horn reading, ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD-ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP GIFT: As most know the ICB works diligently with all of the various community organizations and taxing districts to ensure to community is well informed. Additionally, it has become an effective single voice for Fishers Island when communicating with Southold. While this is a volunteer organization there are some administrative expenses required to function effectively. While all our board representatives have made early membership gifts, we need far greater participation. We hope that every resident, both year-round and seasonal will make a yearly membership gift to the ICB. The recommended levels are $25 per family or $10 per individual. This can be done by sending a check made out to ICB to P.O. Box 464 Fishers Island NY, 06390 or through PayPal on fishersisland.net. Willard also suggested asking the Museum, Recreation Path or Library for their mailing lists to send out a request with a return donation card. This is the most expensive option.
John McGillian offered the emailing list for the Recreation Path if needed. Meg Atkin wonders if $25 is too little to ask for per family each year. Willard stated currently the goal is to increase participation and hopes the ICB can raise at least $4,000-$5,000 annually. He suggested posting the ICB membership list online so community members can see if they have renewed their membership since the previous year. This would also be a way to remind people the ICB seeks ongoing solicitation.
Notes from ICB Year-Rounders meetings held 11/27/17
Meg Atkin, Nate Malinowski and Candy Whitman held two open meetings (morning and evening) for “drop in” discussion of island issues with year-rounders. These notes summarize key questions and comments, organized by subject.
9 – 10 am (5 people attending)
- Community spirit thriving over Thanksgiving weekend: record turn out (80-90 people) for trail clearing at the Museum the day after Thanksgiving, as well as roadside and beach clean-up
- “ICB is doing a good job.” Praised effectiveness now having assistance entering the Utility building which is not handicap accessible
- Question about Utility Company’s plans for building housing
- Comment lamenting loss of beautiful property with proposed site for consolidated waste management operations
- Apparently someone has independently hired an engineer to look at using current Transfer station instead. This would be very involved requiring raising land and possibly using Race Rock property to move trucks, among other needs
5 – 6:00 pm (8 in attendance, including Mark Gaumond, who was welcomed as a person who could speak to questions around Utility housing.)
- New regulations for rental permits coming from Southold
- This is still in preliminary stages
- Reaction to how internet rentals are changing neighborhoods
- Meg will follow up with Louisa re: status:
Follow up from Louisa 12/2/17 re: recent rental initiatives:
- One was the law passed by the Town last year (or the year before) that prohibits rentals less than 2 weeks. This law was passed due to the proliferation of short term rentals on the North Fork, mostly due to the rise of VRBO and the like. Fishers Island is exempt from this law. At the time of the passage of the law no properties on Fishers were listed on the short term rental websites. We also have no B&Bs or hotels to accommodate people.
This next law is the one that is still in the works and will take some time but requires homeowners to get a rental permit in order to rent their homes. This is mostly due to safety reasons, but also due to many illegal rentals in residential neighborhoods. At this point the Town Board has received a very rough draft to work from which is what I sent around to the realtors and ICB. I did that because I do believe at some point in the future a rental permit will be required and a lessor will have to have a current C of O. I thought people should be alerted that if they want to rent out their home they should make sure they have a current C of O. Other than that I have no idea what the final version will look like or when it will come up for public hearing as it has not even reached the Code Committee. I will let you know when it does.
- Utility Housing: Concern over where it is built, and how much. Question as to whether UC will get zoning changes for briar patch and then be able to develop all other properties.
- Question as to how the UC ended up with such a need for housing to attract people off island? It was observed that 3-4 years ago there was only one off-island employee; but 4-5 people have left the Utility Company. If the UC spends $300K per unit…why not instead bolster salary for local people to retain them. Also, existing Infrastructure which is crumbling…why not spend money on that, rather than add more?
- Utility company – would they consider partnering with Walsh Park like school?
- How about house that is now being used as transient (on Central Ave near the Yacht Club)…could that be two apartments?
- Will the financing for the new housing affect customer rates?
- What happens when worker leaves…is the house sold on the market? Available to others?
- Could some of FIDCO’s property be available for UC housing?
- Urging transparency in this process because the Utility company is much less friendlier than it used to be. Objection to the tone of the recent Letter of indemnity. Also the gatehouse….light — camera – it is an unfriendly, unnecessary presence.
- Affordable housing: always the issue, but never deciding where to build; it seems there are always objections as to why it can’t be in a particular place.
- Mark G: FIDCO and the UC board are involved in housing decisions. There have been a lot of people working on housing dilemma. Up to 15 people need housing. We should feel free to speak with Chris or anyone on the board with concerns. The ICB could be proactive now in supporting initiatives to solve the housing dilemma. Urged support of community for UC housing initiative because “we are all in this together.”
- How has Walsh Park supported local population? More Walsh Park houses has not translated into a population increase, but Walsh Park has preserved homes for year-rounders that would have likely be purchased by summer residents
- Traditionally Walsh Park has not been very transparent since it was a private organization. Same as the UC – although it is quasi-public, no? Noted that in 2017 ICB Annual Report financial figures are missing for both those organizations.
- To whom can ideas for Walsh Park acquisitions be suggested? Ned, Andrew or Board Members, or Matt Edwards.
- The ICB needs a process for island entities to come before the community with proposals and to receive approval. (Candy: “approval” by ICB does not exist right now)
- ICB should take a position on issues as much as possible
- ICB could do a census so we have accurate numbers. We would also have to define a year-rounder…anyone in residence for 9 months or more (?)
Candy continues to stress communication urging board members to make the monthly meetings. Multiple directors are absent every meeting. Candy suggested having a community fundraiser to raise funds and continue awareness. Sarah Porter stated the Community Center is having a fundraiser dinner on Wednesday, January 10th. John McGillian volunteered to join Meg Atkin, Matt Edwards and Christian Arsenault on the housing sub-committee and would like to have a conference call prior to the January 8th meeting.
Tim Patterson stated the DEC has named Waste Management as lead agency in their relocation project. However, there are reports that an unknown individual has hired engineers to inquire about relocating the compost station to the current transfer station. There are mixed opinions throughout the community about Waste Management’s project. Tom Sargent was astounded that one individual could hire their own engineer team. Questions were raised about what role ICB should take. Chris Finan stated ICB can write a letter of support or not. Candy stated ICB aims to make decisions best for the community. Moving everything to the transfer station could effect Race Rock’s property in order to avoid the flood zone, but it could reopened the door to Kandy Sanger’s Tiny House Project. Tom O’ Neil urges everyone to read and familiarized themselves with the Hamlet Study and Yale Study; found on fishersisland.net.
Chris Finan reported he is still waiting on their zoning change application. The Planning Board will send a letter of support to the Town Board. Only the Town Board can make a zoning change. Zoning is property protection. Chris reminds everyone each property must be applied for separately.
Tom O’ Neil reported that Scott Russell is sending the Administrative Assistant job description to Civil Service to be classified. The Town Board will put a bond in place for Fishers Island sidewalks after January 1st and then go out to bid. The Town Attorney will work with the Recreation Path Foundation to determine a way for the Foundation to extend the path on the Town right away.
Next ICB meeting will be Monday, January 8th, 5:30 at the Community Center. Discussion about Middle Farms Pond has been requested and will be on the next agenda. Community members present at ICB meetings when now be included in the minutes.