ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD
P.O. Box 464, Fishers Island, NY 06390
ICB Columbus Day Weekend Meeting
Saturday, October 6th, 2018
Community Center Multi-Purpose Room
ICB Reps: Tom O’ Neil (President), Willard Soper (Treasurer), Dicky Riegel (Seasonal), Candy Whitman (Year-Round), Nate Malinowski (Year-Round), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), Greg Thibodeau (Waste Management & Fire District), Geb Cook (Ferry District), Matt Edwards (Walsh Park), Christian Arsenault (School), John McGillian (FIDCO), Marc Rubenstein (IHP), Tom Sargent (Conservancy), Elizabeth McCance (Museum), Louisa Evans
Absent: Chris Finan (Utility Company)
Staff: Zack Hoch
Public Present: Jim Baker, Jane Ahrens, Ken Edwards, Harry & Ellen Parker, John Spofford, Jeanie Cook, Jim Reid, Chippy DuPont, Luke Fowler, Gail Cypherd, Sarah Porter, Lucinda Herrick, Sarah Malinowski, Anne Polk, Jane Crary, Bob Evans, Beth Stern, Todd Williams, Peter Burr, Peter Brinkerhoff, Tim Patterson
Tom O’ Neil welcomed all in attendance and recognized board members and their efforts. Tom stated the purpose of the Columbus Day Weekend meeting is for all ICB representatives to give a brief update informing the community of noteworthy plans or any upcoming projects that could impact island life.
Approved September Minutes
Tom O’ Neil mandates some verbiage in the September minutes be changed. The ICB is not voting to render opinions but to be the voice for the community. With this change, Tom motioned to approved the September minutes composed by Zack Hoch. The board seconded and the minutes were passed pending the changes.
Dicky Riegel gave the Strategic Alignment Presentation in a previous ICB meeting and stated there is still confusion about what the ICB does. The ICB is a central forum for island issues. Opinions about priority issues are brought to attention, the ICB identifies a fit with priority list then promotes action. It is the opinion of the FI community, not the opinion of the ICB. The ICB promotes dialogue and feedback. Tom O’ Neil motioned to accept the Strategic Alignment Presentation as a working document. The board seconded and the motion passed.
Waste Management Report from Willard & Nate
Willard Soper stated people are unaware of Waste Management’s project even after the presentations. The ICB is trying to inform the community about the project. A Q&A document was developed and distributed to the audience for review and to spread the word. Questions and issues should be brought to the ICB by October 30th. Thoughts and ideas are best received in writing and should be delivered to an elected representative. The final report is to be set for the November meeting. Greg Thibodeau stated a letter had been sent to town requesting the bonding to start but there will be no movement until a public hearing is held on Wednesday October 10th. All questions are submitted to the town for review. Waste Management has final say on the project. The 5 commissioners are Greg Thibodeau, Tim Patterson, Mere Doyen, Bruce Hubert and Sarah Malinowski.
Preliminary Report and Q and A’s: https://fishersisland.net/icb-preliminary-report-re-fiwmd-site-operation-plans/
Greg reported a recent addition of 5 EMTs and 4 fire fighters this year. However, participation is still low. Greg also reported a project in the early stages is to add a second floor to the firehouse as living quarters. Costs are yet to be determined. Paul Giles and Aaron Lusker are spearheading the project.
Geb Cook reported Race Point ferry will be out of service and in dry dock for its regularly scheduled maintenance, as required by the United States Coats Guard for 6-8 weeks beginning mid-October. Similarly, in January the Mannutawket will be out of service to have new engines installed. Geb stated Silver Ele pond is getting shallow and will require dredging. The last time Silver Eel was dredged was 1992. Excess dirt/fill will be added to the parking area and along the waterfront.
Tom Sargent stated the Conservancy continues working with the University of Delaware and intern Adam Mitchell. The Connecticut College biology department is coming to FI soon. The Conservancy continues their work in the Parade Grounds removing evasive species and started a new project next to the fitness course by South Beach. Tom stated the Conservancy has collaborated with other island entities to reduce invasive species and they will help with the Ferry District’s parking lot during the dredging project. The Conservancy counted over 62 species of birds this year and Tom reported over 250 people attended Nature Days in August. When asked about ‘brush piles’ scattered about, Tom answered the brush piles, which consist of invasive species will be removed at first frost.
John McGillian reported FIDCO is still exploring housing options.
As for the recreation path, John is hopeful it can still be extended and run along the main road next to the Navy fence. John stated this is a $500,000 project that the Recreation Path Foundation will fund. Scott Russell has said if the Navy can be persuaded to facilitate the transfer of land needed without a consuming effort by Southold staff, Scott will accommodate the project. Several community members are in touch with the Navy. In the meantime, FIDCO is asking Southold to fund a road widening effort with striping for a path on each side of the main road. John will alert the ICB of further updates.
Jim Baker reported for the Utility Company that if anyone has concerns to please contact or stop by the office. Jim stated there is now a long distance call service available at discount rates. The Utility Company is updating the building to read meters more efficiently. Housing remains a top priority and the Utility Company will utilize their own properties, specifically the briar patch to build a multi-family (2 family) house. The time frame is unknown. There will be a public hearing before any zoning change occurs. When asked how the project would be funded, Jim stated the Utility Company currently has a property to sell on the east side of the island. A raise in rates is not anticipated, the goal is to keep service affordable. There are no immediate plans for the property across from the Briar Patch. Lastly, work continues to be done to improve water quality in Middle Farms Pond.
Fishers Island School
Christian Arsenault stated this is his 2nd year as the school principal. Karen Goodwin remains as part-time superintendent. Christian has 2 kids at the school. He greatly appreciates the community and requests community involvement and feedback. Christian reported a $7000 tax increase in the 2018-19 school budget. They plan to use that money wisely. FI School has partnered with the Community Center so students can use the facility. This will help keep students occupied from the time school ends at 2:51 pm until the ferry at 4:45 pm. In February the school will send 10 students to Florida to experience an education in a different environment. Christian seeks community service opportunities for 35 students. Enrollment is down to 59 this year partly due to a large graduating class last spring. Four students are in the 2019 graduating class. Regents exams were a wild success and all graduates last year were accepted into college.
Matt Edwards reported the waiting list for housing currently consists of 4 families, 9 children, and 3 individuals. Walsh Park is investing their money as properties turn over. The permit process has begun to construct 6 units above the Ferry District’s freight building. Matt was pleased to announce they met their funding goal in 1 month. The self-funded project should undergo construction by January or February.
Elizabeth McCance reported the Museum held 20 adult lecture programs this summer, an Instagram exhibit, and a 1-day beach clean up to remove plastic. Over 750 people attended the programs. The Museum received a grant to digitize their collection of about 1,700 digital scans and a kiosk is coming soon. The Museum continues their coalition efforts to clear and remove invasive species. Sometime this fall 1/3 of Middle Farms field will be burned as it is each year. Elizabeth revealed new hiking trails were created near Chocomount Beach. Elizabeth stated they received a grant for a part-time Seagrass Coordinator and they hope to fill the position in November. When asked about anchor zones, Elizabeth stated that is too far ahead. Lastly, the Museum and the Conservancy will host a habitat restoration program next June.
Adjourned 5:23 pm
The next ICB meeting will be Tuesday, November 13th, 5:30 pm in the Community Center multi-purpose room.