ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD
P.O. Box 371, Fishers Island, NY 06390
ICB Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Total Participants: 68
The ICB meets monthly in a public forum with the community to review and discuss Island priorities. Minutes of monthly ICB meetings are posted on the ICB website.
ICB Representatives: Willard Soper (President), Candace Whitman (Vice President), Dicky Riegel (Treasurer – Seasonal), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), George de Menil (Seasonal), Nate Malinowski (Year-Round)
Willard: School Board Budget presentation meeting at 6 pm this evening will be only virtual via Zoom; internet problems have prevented a hybrid presentation.
Candy Whitman will be leaving the Island, the Union Chapel, and the ICB at the end of this month. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Candy for all of her contributions, especially to ICB. We’re sad to see you leave, but happy for you in your new calling on Long Island.
Motion to approve the minutes of the April 13, 2021 ICB meeting; Minutes approved as written.
Reminder from previous meeting —and Chris Ingram will reiterate—people coming to the Island need to have proof of vaccination, or have been tested prior to arrival; children, grandchildren visiting need to follow the established protocols of testing, quarantining, etc.
Dicky: I would first like to say a personal thank you to Candy as a colleague and fellow ICB Board member; Candy, you set a real standard of care and love for this community. Candy: Thank You; you really honor me with your comments, and I thank all of you who gave me this opportunity to serve.
Louisa: Everyone is invited to stop by Union Chapel on Sunday, May 30th for a good-bye reception for Candy in the courtyard after the Church service.
Dicky—Treasurer’s Report: We have $4,032.59 in the Liberty Bank checking account, which includes a refund from the Utility Company, as well as contributions in the amount of $300. Thanks to everyone who contributed for their support of ICB. PayPal account balance is $718.33.
There is a motion to approve payment to MaryBeth (Secretary) of $1,375.00 for March/April work; approved. ICB will be going to the Community in June with our Annual Appeal; we appeal all the time for contributions, but it makes the most sense to have an Annual Appeal when everyone begins to arrive on the Island, and summer activities get started.
Chris Ingram—IHP: I’d like to start with some good news; CT has opened up their vaccination program to all—no longer limited to only CT residents. That opens up a huge opportunity for those who may be coming to Fishers and have had difficulty getting vaccinated; what we can do is route them through the different vaccination areas throughout CT. This is good information to pass along to family, friends, etc. who may be coming to the Island. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated before coming to Fishers. It is expected that in the next day or two the Pfizer vaccine will be approved for children 12 and older. We encourage all families to get their children vaccinated as the age groups become available, and this should be done as soon as possible because the Pfizer vaccine requires 21 days between doses. And for the Island community, to get that age group vaccinated before arrival would be golden. And due to the ease of getting vaccinated in CT, we (IHP) are going to relax our efforts to procure vaccine on the Island. We have ample COVID testing available, but, at this time, don’t plan to have further vaccinating on the Island. This could change if another mass vaccination, i.e., booster, becomes necessary. Mask protocols: there is a strong movement by the CDC to relax mask wearing outdoors, particularly for those who are vaccinated, and in non-congested areas outdoors. For larger groups and congested areas, CDC is still recommending masks, and in groups where not everyone has been vaccinated. More clarity should be available at the next ICB meeting, both from CDC and from NY state government. Travel recommendations remain pretty much the same, and that is those who have been vaccinated do not need to be tested before coming on to the Island, nor do they need to be tested after coming to the Island, nor do they need to quarantine. By contrast, those who have NOT been vaccinated—adults and children—will need to be tested within three days before arriving on the Island, quarantine for a full week after arriving, and re-tested three to five days after arriving. We have testing capabilities on the Island, and in CT, as we have had previously. We hope everyone will stick to that protocol, alert IHP when coming to the Island and we will help arrange testing for you. We will have a summer census that we hope everyone coming to the Island will subscribe to; the census will ask what your vaccine status is and give us important information for contact tracing should anyone become symptomatic and/or testing positive. I urge you all to keep an eye out for the summer census on fishersisland.net, and fill it out for yourselves, family and guests.
Willard: When do you expect the summer census to be posted?
Chris: It should be up within a week; please fill it out, even if you’ve completed the off-season census. This is a new census that will provide information critical to IHP.
Willard: We will ask the Ferry District to highlight the new census on their website as well.
Dicky (organization updates) introduced Bonnie Benkard – IPP Morning Program: We will be having our “in-person” Morning Program again. Quoting CDC: summer camps play an important role in the lives of our children—they need to be with other children. This year we’re flipping the model to be outside, by default and by design; all programs will be outside unless there is a reason not to be outside. IPP will meet in two locations—the movie theater and the school; we will have tents for shelter if there is light rain. Our program will focus on nature-based activities; the West End of the Island has parade grounds, gardens, beach, community garden start-up. We have the back-up location of the Community Center for some small groups if we need it; we might have a bowling day, a movie day, virtual field trips using the new technology available at the theater. These also give us an alternative if we have some rainy days, not only for shelter, but for some really fun activities. Our Covid protocols are still being developed, in conjunction with IHP and Dr. Chris; we’re fortunate to have Bailey Sperry, a med student, on our Board—a great resource for us this year. Our goal is to have hard policies in place by June 20th so that our parents and our counselors will know specifically what those policies will be. We will most likely be wearing masks when we are inside—the gym at the school, the theater, the Community Ctr. The hard part is that our children are all under 12; our counselors are all over 12, and we are encouraging them to get vaccinated if they can. We hope to be primarily outside, spread out as much as we can; if close together, we may have to be wearing masks outside. We’re working on policy for our ‘Emergency Operations’ plan, which will involve IHP if there is a positive case reported in the program; we are working on policy for refunds, in the event of exposure, and compensation for employees who may not be able to work.
We are looking for adults in the community who might be willing to help us with projects; planning to do another mural with Sarah Upson; would love to build more ‘Little Free Libraries’, and have a carpenter volunteer to help. We won’t be taking any car-based field trips; anywhere we go will be within walking distance so we can remain outside.
Registration is open on the IPP website—ages 4 to 11; we will not be doing any ‘daily drop-ins’ this year—sign ups for a full week only.
Wilard for John McGillian (Rec Path): Paving is done [on the extension], and greatly appreciate the work of Jimmy Ski—how quickly it was done and how well it was done. New grass and wildflower seedings have yet to be planted, and new berms, curbs, guard rails and signs will be installed during the next few weeks. George deMenil is helping with the signage. Hope to have all that done by Memorial Day; have been consulting with the Conservancy re plantings. Also, please know that new bike bells, designed by Margaret Benkard, are being distributed at the Gate House—no charge, limit is two per family. Speed limit on the Rec Path from beginning to end is 12 mph, per FIDCo and Rec Path Committee.
Dicky for Hay Harbor Club: following all the CDC NY State guidelines and working in close concert with IHP.
Tom duPont (FI Yacht Club): Regarding Covid policy, we haven’t finalized anything yet; waiting for guidelines from IHP and will conform to them. There has been a significant increase in requests for seasonal slips at the YC, which limits our transient slip availability—so you can expect less transient activity during this summer. For those who do show up, we will have forms to be completed—IHP protocol/information sheets and sign up for summer census. All of our activities are almost exclusively outside, and we will be observing whatever the latest ruling is regarding masks—for small gatherings as well as medium and large gatherings. We’re fully staffed, and we look forward to seeing everyone on the Island this summer and coming to the Yacht Club to enjoy our activities.
Dicky—Governance: ICB has been working diligently on By-Law revisions during the past several months, and are grateful for the legal advice of Michael Roberts. There is a summary of the proposed revisions that, as a first step, was sent to the elected and the appointed ICB representatives for review and comment. Largely the comments were very supportive. A few people asked for clarification, particularly around the definition of a ‘quorum’. The quorum is going to be revised to four of the six elected directors will constitute a quorum (not two). In the event of a tie vote, the ICB President would break the tie with a vote. The summary has been posted on fishersisland.net, and a ballot will be emailed for voting on these revisions. The ballot will include the one-page summary of By-Law revisions.
*Note: The ICB membership email list is being updated; the ballot will be sent when this is completed.
Beth Cashel (Neighborhood Aide/Liaison to Southold):
- Sidewalk repairs—bids are due on May 13th; hoping that a bid will be approved at the next Town Board meeting, May 15th; timing for completion of the project has been pushed back from July 4th to “late summer”.
- DMV—The proposed bill to have DMV services on Fishers Island passed in the State Assembly, and is “in committee”, which means they are determining whether or not amendments are needed. Albany is unsure if the bill will get through committee prior to June; I will keep you posted.
- Building Inspector and Plans Examiner—A Plan Examiner has been hired, and the Town is in the interviewing stage for a new Building Inspector.
- Dock Beach Town Park improvement—Work will begin in June; new tables and benches will be installed; area to the left of entrance is to be cleared, allowing for more parking and green space; the green space will be re-seeded and fencing will be added to protect children playing on the green space and to prevent cars parking in that area. Nancy Hunt Parsons has been in contact with Tim Abrams, head of Town DPW, on improving this area. Nancy began the project some years ago with Tim’s predecessor, Jeff Standish. We owe a huge thank you to Nancy, Tim, Jeff, and to Louisa, who facilitated introductions, and to Jamie Rogers at the FI Highway Dept, for all they have done to move this project forward. In terms of action steps, I will be in touch with the Town re posting ‘No Overnight Parking’ or ‘Parking Only for Town Park’ signs in order to manage/control parking in that area.
- Police Barracks—State Police personnel will be arriving in June and staying at the Ferry housing. The DPW will be working on the State Police Barracks building, as well as on the pickle ball courts.
- Upcoming Public Hearings that may be of interest to the FI community (also posted on fishersisland.net) – There will be a Zoning Board public hearing on May 18th re the zoning code that covers recreational uses. For Fishers, this is relevant because it will affect the Community Center paddle tennis court project. The Board of Trustees meeting on May 19th has on the agenda the ‘calendar.doc’ application.
- Crosswalks—Request to have crosswalks at the beginning of the new Rec Path extension: I have discussed with Scott Russell and Vincent Orlando (Highway Dept) the possibility of painting crosswalks; the next steps would be that Louisa, Jamie (FI Highway Dept) and an ICB rep will meet at the site to determine the need; if the appropriateness is agreed upon, Louisa will then present a resolution at this Tuesday’s Town Board meeting where it will be voted upon; if an affirmative vote, Jamie and crew can then paint the crosswalks. The Rec path committee offered to do this and pay for it, but, legally, it must be done by the Town. The timing will be quick—unlikely by Memorial Day—but in a short time frame.
- Wind Farm—The Town has been informed by the Board of Ocean Energy Management of a proposal to install a Wind Farm located between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard BOEM is opening a 30-day comment period for this off-shore wind farm to be installed by Revolution Wind. Refer to fishersisland.net for more information on this proposal and to view the actual document that was sent to the Town. The action that can be taken on this is that the community is encouraged to review this plan and to send comments to the Town Board.
- Noise Code—The Town is reviewing the Town Noise Code, largely in terms of commercial landscaping usage and hours and days of operation. Specifically, they will be reviewing whether the hours should be reduced, overall or on some days. Currently [landscapers] are allowed to work seven days a week from 7 am until 7 pm. Also considering the possibility of [no activity on] Sunday. The action that can be taken here if this is a concern is to send comments to the Town Board. Again, this issue refers to commercial landscaping operations, not household or residential.
Q: Please clarify Covid restrictions for children too young to be vaccinated when they come to the Island: must be tested within 17 hours of coming to the Island?
Willard: That is correct.
Q: must quarantine for one week after arrival? And must be tested again three to five days after arrival?
Willard: That is the policy right now, but both of these are under discussion.
Q: Does that mean if a young family is coming to the Island for a one-week vacation, they must be quarantined for most of the time they are here? And do they have to leave the Island for a follow-up test?
Willard: There will be testing available on the Island, but this issue is the one that is most difficult to address due to the different age groups of children/grandchildren coming to the Island…some of whom will be vaccinated and some who will not. The IHP and ICB realize that this is of great concern to many people and are in discussion to come up with a workable solution for all.
Chris: This is a big sticking point; there will be more information coming from the CDC in the next few weeks. Our goal is to do the thing that will be most safe and most convenient for everyone involved.
Q: Will the wind farm benefit Fishers Island?
Candy: I don’t think it will directly, but that is what’s being looked into. There is more information available on fishersisland.net.
Candy: I want to thank you all again for the opportunity of working with you and serving you on this Island. It truly has been wonderful. I want to go off letting you know how grateful I am for this experience on Fishers Island, and with a blessing for all good things going forward.
The next ICB meeting is June 8th at 5 pm.Printable ICB Minutes 5/11/21