ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD
P.O. Box 464, Fishers Island, NY 06390
ICB February Meeting Minutes
Saturday, March 12, 2018
ICB Reps: Candy Whitman (Year-Round), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), Nate Malinowski (Year-Round), Matt Edwards (Walsh Park), Chris Finan (Utility Company), Geb Cook (Ferry District)
Call In: Tom O’Neil (President), Willard Soper (Treasurer), Dicky Riegel (Seasonal), John McGillian (FIDCO)
Staff: Zack Hoch (Administrator/Secretary)
Director’s Absent: Marc Rubenstein (IHP), Tom Sargent (Conservancy), Elizabeth McCance (Museum), Greg Thibodeau (Waste Management)
Public: Louisa Evans (Town Justice), Sarah Porter, Aaron Lusker, Bob Evans, Michelle Klimczak, Ellen & Harry Parker, Meredith Doyen, Amy & Dirk Harris
Approve February Minutes
Tom O’ Neil motioned to pass the February ICB minutes. The minutes unanimously were approved.
HOUSING COMMITTEE PRESENTATION
The housing committee met earlier in the month to explore potential opportunities to increase affordable housing on Fishers Island. Candy Whitman sent a document to the board summarizing the discussions and stated the short term goals are to increase rental and multi-family dwelling units.
- Housing Progress Report – March 2018 by Candy Whitman
- ICB Subcommittee: Christian Arsenault, Meg Atkin, Matt Edwards (chair), Chris Finan, John McGillian, Candace Whitman
- Purpose of Housing Subcommittee
The purpose of the Housing Subcommittee on the ICB is to collect information from Walsh Park, FIDCO, The Ferry District, the School, and Island employers including the Utility Company and contractors to help define the housing situation and needs on the island. The Housing Committee should provide a short term and long term plan to meet these needs, and appropriately implement these plans.
- Needs-Based Housing Plans
Once the housing situation is better defined, the committee should next find out the housing plans of everyone involved and have each entity explain the economics behind those plans. (The Utility Company will distribute their own template as a model.) Then, a presentation of demographics, salaries and living costs combined with housing needs and plans on the Island should be made to the ICB board by _________ DATE?. (This is the “30,000 foot view” and how to obtain this information is still to be figured out.) The committee will consult with Town representatives Louisa and Pierce as required. The ICB then can deliver a unified message to Southold explaining our housing permit needs for multi- family housing zoning permits, and support these requests with data.
Members of the Housing Subcommittee will each take a specific task to follow up on to provide a comprehensive presentation to the ICB. (John McGillian will find out exactly what FIDCO plans to do and report to the committee, and will report to FIDCO the findings of our housing committee.)
- Potential Direction toward Multiple Dwelling units
At the first March 1, 2018 meeting, the subcommittee discussion leaned toward favoring multiple-dwelling units over single-family housing at this phase, and rental over owner-occupied housing. The sense is this a more practical, realizable approach to fill current needs. However, the need for owner-occupied housing as a stabilizer for our community will also be explored.
Chris Finan, Christian Arsenault, and Matt Edwards agreed that their common needs for housing might well be met by working collaboratively on building or converting an existing building to be a multiple-dwelling unit on the West End. This idea will be explored with participation of the entire subcommittee. Christian, Chris, and Matt have separate projects underway with their respective organizations, details which may not yet be divulged.
The Subcommittee should outline longer term goals, such as addressing how to market Fishers to prospective full time worker /residents.
Candy continued stating all island entities with housing needs will continue collaboration on a building project and possibly could get Southold to sell land. Louisa Evans immediately questioned what land could be purchased. Matt Edwards answered, the town owns a lot of land on the west end of the island. Candy emphasizes creative thinking and the need to explore all opportunities. No plan in place yet. The committee will develop a public survey to determine island needs.
Chris Finan reported the Utility Company’s housing project is with the town attorney and still awaiting response. Louisa Evans stated the Town Board makes the decision on zoning changes and suggested the town might be leaning towards Affordable Housing District Zone rather than Hamlet Density, but are not opposed to multi-family units. When asked about school employee housing, Christian Arsenault stated all teachers who want island housing, have island housing and not all teachers require housing. Christian is happy with the current splits and noted it would be difficult to house all teachers on the island. Meg Atkin mentioned several island entities have employees who want housing but cannot obtain it. Harry Parker asked if the ICB Housing subcommittee is qualified to execute a housing project and he has concerns about financing and development. Bob Evans worries a consensus has been met only by the housing committee and not the island community. John McGillian stated there are no specific plans, different opinions and ideas are being collected. Bob Evans argued the Utility Company has specific plans. Harry Parker suggested the ICB should either endorse or oppose the Utility Company’s housing project and asked how their project would be funded. Chris Finan answered there is no financial plan yet, but will likely be privately funded and through the monthly rates. There is no bonding available for this project. Tom O’ Neil stated the ICB is not comfortable endorsing or opposing anything yet. Harry countered by suggesting ICB make a recommendation to the town because it can take years of discussion to come to agreement and decisions need to be made! Chris stated the Utility Company needs housing to attract employees to the island. A linesman is needed. If employees continue to leave, contractors must to be hired and require substantial pay. Tom asked Walsh Park about their specific plans and what is in the works. Matt Edwards stated their goal is to get everybody off the waiting list and into homes. Walsh Park is willing to work with any entity to make this happen. Matt reported they have some projects in the early stages but there is currently nothing to speak on. Aaron Lusker suggested nicer rental properties would help attract people. Many places are in poor condition. Bob Evans stated there is no where for locals to purchase property and it is an uneven playing field. As result there is a community of tenants and few owners. Bob asked if Walsh Park land could be purchased. Aaron Lusker expressed strong interest in the land surrounding his Walsh Park house if it were to become available to him. Meg stated people in the community need to speak up about what they want. Candy stated rentals are the easiest. Surveys have been completed and suggest few people are interested in owning on the island. Christian said he would not have come to the island if buying was his only option. Louisa Evans noted the Big Club has bought many houses on the west end that traditionally have been year-round houses. It is questioned why employee housing is not built near the club. Mere Doyen stated different models must be considered and reminded that Walsh Park is a land trust and they have their own mission. Louisa stated the town understands the housing needs and the Town Board meeting is Wednesday. Harry Parker suggested the ICB support the Utility Company at the meeting. Candy asked what is next if approved. Louisa replied saying before the zone change, there must be a public hearing. Harry asked if the public hearing could be held on FI. Louisa will ask but fears it could cause delay. Chris exclaimed there is an urgent need and there cannot be any more delay.
Island Administrative Position
Louisa Evans reported the job description for a part-time administrator is still with Civil Service. The Town has said this employee can work a maximum of 17.5 hours weekly and there are no benefits. The position requires an office. The community center is the likely destination. Louisa is hopeful this can happen soon, but the town will likely require the job description to fit the title.
ICB Fund Drive
Willard Soper reported there is approximately $2,300 is the ICB account. The Finance Committee plans to have the 2018 fund drive ready by Memorial Day weekend.
Waste Management April Presentation Preview
Mere Doyen stated Waste Management will have a PowerPoint presentation prepared for the April 9th meeting and all employees will be familiar with the presentation so there will be no misinformation.
Adjourned 6:45 pm