ICB Meeting Minutes December 14, 2021 w/ recording

P.O. Box 371, Fishers Island, NY 06390
Email: ficommunityboard@gmail.com

ICB Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Zoom Meeting

Total Participants: 60

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 at https://fishersisland.net/about-fishers-island/island-community-board/ (here) when they are approved. Recordings are posted after rendering.

Meeting Minutes are added once approved at the next ICB monthly meeting.

ICB Representatives: Willard Soper (President/Seasonal), Staley Sednaoui (Vice President/Year-Round), John McGillian (Treasurer – Seasonal), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), George de Menil (Seasonal), Nate Malinowski (Year-Round)

Willard:  We are changing the Agenda to accommodate a scheduling conflict, and IPP will report first.

Elisabeth Poole Parker—IPP: IPP (Island Peoples Project) is best known for its Summer Morning Program; we had a great morning program this past summer and look forward to another one in Summer 2022.  I also want to highlight all the other things IPP does. We manage the Ball Field, now including croquet, Dock Beach, and a Community Garden called ‘The Patch’.   This is a new project, on the School property, facing the Walsh Park apartments and the Freight Office.  IPP also hosts the 4th of July Parade, Easter activities and Senior outings.  We organize and host the Craft Fairs on the Town Green in July and August, as well as the House & Garden Tour every other July.  These are regular activities in a normal year; obviously, in the past two years we’ve had to curtail or postpone some of these events.  IPP welcomes collaborations with other Island organizations.  A great recent example of this was the Halloween Fall Festival at the movie theater that involved the whole community.  I’d especially like to thank Mere Doyen and Alex Pollack for all their work on this event.  We have been fortunate to have Bonnie Benkard as the Morning Program Director for the past five years; sadly for us, Bonnie has said she will step down at the end of next summer.  We’re actively looking for a co-Director for next summer. Thanks to Jane Ahrens for posting the position of fishersisland.net. Next summer, the School will not be available to IPP as it will be under construction, so we are hoping to tap into some of those collaborations with other Island organizations.  We have eight new Board members, so it is a good time for looking in new directions.  And, we finally have an online donation button on the IPP web site; if you did not receive our annual appeal letter, and would like to donate, please go to the web site.

George deMenil: I would just like to comment that IPP is a member of ICB since the summer, and it’s a welcome addition.

Willard:  Minutes of the November 9, 2021, meeting approved a written.

Tom Siebens: The Utility Company installment of pole lines was mentioned in the Minutes, and it is going ahead as planned.  Also, someone raised a concern that these power lines were going to be high tension and maybe create a health issue with microwave radiation; I can assure everyone that this is just connecting the pole line at the West End of Middle Farms with the pole line at the East End of Middle Farms; it’s nothing grand.

John McGillian—Treasurer’s Report:  We have $4,308.18 in the Liberty Bank account, and we have $1,621.55 in the Pay Pal account.

Willard: I would add, since it’s the end of the year, that, while contributions to ICB are NOT tax deductible, we do have expenses and rely on contributions to meet those expenses.

Chris Ingram—IHP:  I’m sure many of you have heard that we did have another Covid outbreak here last week; it was a nuclear family that had contact both at the Library and at the School so the number of people potentially affected was relatively large. The good news is that, to date, there seems to have been no spread. And the family is closing in on the end of their confinement.  As we come into the holiday season, and everyone will be coming into contact with more people, it’s a good idea to get tested as often as possible.

Q: Had the people who tested positive been vaccinated?

A—Chris: Not all of them as some were children too young for vaccination.

Willard—Q: Chris what about the new variant, omicron?  Have we seen more of this in the Northeast or not?

Chris:  If you look at the maps (NY Times), it seems to be quite present in the Northeast.  In Massachusetts, Mass General, they’re seeing mostly the delta strain.  Locally, I have not heard from the hospitals that they’re doing testing for omicron, but I do know that it’s more transmissible though less severe.  It does appear that the vaccine is important in nullifying its effect on any individual.   

 Rev. Michael Spencer—Islanders for Islanders:  Islanders for Islanders was started by Candy Whitman at Union Chapel in June of 2015.  It is a joint initiative of all the churches on Fishers Island, and it was created to support needy year-round families and individuals on the Island.  The fund is administered by Union Chapel; the assets of the fund are under the custody and control of the Trustees of UC, and the operations of the fund are under the general supervision of the Deacons and the Pastor of UC.  Allocations from the fund are managed by a Committee that sets the strategic direction and promotion of the fund. The Committee is composed of members of Island churches who have been appointed by the Pastor of UC.  The Committee meets in person during the summer months; in the past year meetings have also taken place by Zoom, by phone, and by email exchanges.  The fund has also been promoted by word-of-mouth through the Churches by announcements, through Church bulletins/newsletters, and by direct mailings during the summer.  The current members of the Fund Committee are Susie Brinckerhoff, Amy Harris, Stephanie Hall, Lucinda Herrick, Rosanna Anderson, Karl Ericksson and myself.  The assistance from this fund is provided confidentially at the discretion of [formerly] Candy, and now Rosanna in consultation with me so that there are two pastors working together in the context of a pastoral care response to meet the needs of individuals on the Island.  Last year the fund provided almost $7,000 in aid and support across different initiatives including food, counseling support, training/enhancing job skills, some tuition supporting job enhancement, utility bills, and support for initiatives that will assist the year-round community.  The fund has largely been used to support individuals, but has also been used to support larger programs; for example, the Community Garden, the seasonal boardwalk at South Beach.  This past summer there were two separate mailings with regard to raising donations for the fund, and the Rummage shop at Our Lady of Grace Church, in conjunction with the Pequot, had a fashion show fundraiser.  St John’s has, each year, given significant support to the Islanders for Islanders, and individuals also support the fund.  At the next meeting, we will be looking to have Rosanna take over as the next Administrator of Islanders for Islanders in conjunction with the Fund Committee.  I simply stepped in to fill the gap.

Willard—Q to Rev. Spencer: How would one contribute to the Islanders for Islanders Fund?

A:  A check may be sent to Union Chapel, made out to Islanders for Islanders and it will be deposited to the Fund account, which is managed by Union Chapel.

Rev. Dr. Rosanna Anderson: I’m happy to be here, and you may call me Pastor Rosanna.  I have an ecumenical background; I’m a Presbyterian minister and have had 15 years’ experience in large churches in NY and NJ, including Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.  I’ve also served at two small churches in the Nashville, TN, area.  I also did clinical pastoral education in Summit, NJ, and was a chaplain at a home for Seniors.  I have experience and am prepared for any time there might be a need for pastoral care in a medical situation or grief counseling.  My education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and English Literature from Marymount University in Arlington, VA.  I did my Master of Divinity at Princeton Seminary and my Doctor of Ministry at Austin Seminary in TX.  I was born in Michigan, grew up in Berkeley, CA, and Arlington, VA, and spent 17 years in the NY/NJ area.  My husband is the Associate University Librarian for Research and Digital Strategy at Vanderbilt University, and a Professor of Religious Studies.  Our son, Theodore, is a sixth grader and will finish this school year in Nashville.  My family will join me on Fishers in May, and are looking forward to participating in all the activities here.

Louise Burnham Packard—Update on UC Construction:  Union Chapel is in the midst of a building project; we have written a full report that Jane has posted on fishersisland.net.  We are working with BD [Construction Co], and they have been terrific. I’d like to thank Jay, Harlan, and our architect, Sam Fitzgerald.  The project has three phases: the first phase, which is finished, we’re calling ‘Necessities’ and included remediation of asbestos flooring, shoring up a sagging concrete slab, putting down new tile, and getting our HVAC system back in working condition.  Phase Two is about making the building more welcoming and more functional for all the many roles the building plays in the Community from the worship side—weddings, funerals—to concerts, movies, and Community meals.  This phase will include a new entrance/vestibule to the Church.  Picture below of the proposed new entrance was screen shared.

The solid doors will be replaced with the glass doors pictured, as well as a glassed-in vestibule through which the Charlie Ferguson stained glass window will be visible.  New windows will also be installed in the Fellowship Hall; it will be a much more welcoming entrance and will upgrade the space.  In addition, in Phase Two we will be installing a brand new kitchen, renovating the Fellowship Hall, and also trying to bring the Church’s AV system into the 21st century, which will be helpful for all kinds of events.  Phase Three, probably a 2022-2023 project, is to renovate the Parsonage.  Our budget for this project is about $650,000 total that we are trying to raise; thank you to everyone who has already contributed as we have raised nearly $500,000 toward the project.  If anyone would like to help us get to the finish line, you may donate through the UC website or there is contact information included in the article posted on fishnet if you would like to speak with me or anyone else about your gift.

Q to Michael Spencer:  What do we do with food donations that have been made to Islanders for Islanders?  A—Michael:  In the past, there was a ‘Food Pantry’ at UC; this became impractical because many of the donations were at or near expiration dates.  At present, Islanders for Islanders supports an account at the Village Market in lieu of the Food Pantry program.

Willard:  At the October ICB meeting it was decided that one of the areas we as a community organization would focus on is communications; we felt that as a Community Board we could do better, and we could help organizations do better.  Nate Malinowski is chairing the Communications committee, and he has created a sub-committee to work with him.

Nate Malinowski—Communications: I want to give everyone a quick update on what we as a Communications Committee have been doing.  The goal is to improve both incoming and outgoing communications.  The Communications Committee report and the letter welcoming the newly elected Southold Town Trustees (below) were screen shared and reviewed by Nate:

Communication Committee Report
December 14, 2021

On-Going Work:

The Communication Committee of ICB met on Friday, December 3, 2021, on Zoom.  Members of the committee are Meg Atkin, Beth Cashel, Louisa Evans, Nate Malinowski, Elisabeth Parker, and Staley Sednaoui.

Communication Committee meets at least once a month throughout the year and expects to report out the progress at every public meeting.

December Update:

  1. Preparing to Welcome New Members of our Town Government
    Results from November’s Southold Town election are in and the town is welcoming seven new members to various positions within our government:Dan Goodwin                                                 Highway Superintendent
    Denis Noncarrow                                          Town Clerk
    Greg Doroski                                                  Town Board Member
    Brian Mealy                                                     Town Board Member
    Liz Gillooly                                                      Town Trustee
    Elizabeth Peeples                                           Town Trustee
    Eric Sepenoski                                                Town Trustee

    To welcome, establish ICB, and open a line of communication with each, the Communication Committee has prepared a letter:


    The letter will be circulated via email on January 1, 2022.

Welcome letter inserted:

January 1, 2022

Dear {Name},

On behalf of the community of Fishers Island, we, the elected members of the Island Community Board, wish to extend our best wishes as you assume your new role as {Postion}.

The Island Community Board promotes the economic, civic, and social welfare of the people of Fishers Island, New York, and serves as the central forum for identifying, discussing, and addressing issues affecting life in our community.

As you begin your term, know you have our support, we are a resource, and we look forward to working with you.


Willard Soper                                                  Staley Sednaoui
President                                                         Vice-President

Meg Atkin                                                        George deMenil
Nate Malinowski                                             John McGillian

  1. Identifying ICB Priorities for 2022
    Understanding the priorities of all constituencies within our community is vital to ICB’s effectiveness. In preparation for the new year, ICB is planning a series of six Focus Groups which we hope will help us develop an understanding of community interests and concerns in the following areas:

    1. Economy, Jobs, and Cost of Living
    2. Environment
    3. Housing
    4. Human Services
    5. Infrastructure and Transportation
    6. Land Use and Zoning

The Focus Groups will occur once a month – a full schedule will be announced in early January.

Each meeting will be open to the public, and ICB expects to extend personal invitations to targeted groups of people from whom feedback on a specific section would be particularly useful for us.

In addition to creating space for ICB to understand our community’s interests and concerns, we also see these focus groups as a place for the Island’s institutions to test ideas and gather feedback on potential future activities. We expect to be in touch with all interested stakeholders before each section commences.

If anyone is interested in helping ICB develop prompts for the specific sections, or has suggestions for topics for these Focus Groups, please email me at nate.malinowski@gmail.com or call x7713.

  1. Improving Access to Information
    ICB continues to hear from members of the community that they are having trouble understanding the work happening at the island’s tax districts.ICB believes a functioning forum requires an informed public, and though all commission meetings are open to the public, it recognizes the challenges of attending each meeting in person.

Towards this, the Communication Committee is working to create a better system for centralizing information about and publicizing all the good work happening in each district.

As a start, in the coming month, the Communication Committee expects to be in touch with the Chair of each of the island’s tax districts to:

  1. Identify the already available “reporting assets” of the districts (ex. meeting agendas, meeting minutes, recordings, etc.). It is important to us that we are not adding administrative burden to the districts.
  2. Identify the best method for getting the “reporting assets” into a publicly accessible archive – i.e., a folder in Google Drive, to be organized and managed by ICB.
  3. Discuss how ICB can help support their work and amplify their message.

Example ICB – District Archive https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1GYOpBbCu7nQa7-RwHSiIVpIel9tcyXXf?usp=sharing

Using the information submitted to the archive, the Communication Committee expects to:

  1. Append a one-page “District Updates” to each upcoming ICB agenda
  2. Use our Committee Report to highlight important items as necessary
  3. Surveying the Island’s Position on Cannabis Dispensaries and On-Site Consumption Sites on Fishers IslandThe Town Board has a public hearing ongoing through December 28, 2021, to hear feedback on its intention to pass a Local Law entitled, “A Local Law Opting out of Adult-Use Cannabis Retail Dispensaries and On-Site Consumption Sites”

    A recently passed NYS law allows for cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption sites state-wide beginning in 2022. It also creates an opportunity for municipalities to “opt-out” of the law by December 31, 2021.

    The law (and the Town Boards’ intention to opt-out) is designed to allow the decision about the existence of dispensaries and use-sites in the Town of Southhold to be made by the voting public through a permissive referendum. It is therefore prudent that the ICB understand the Island’s position.

    In the next week, ICB will distribute a survey to the entire ICB mailing list asking for a response on the subject.

    Should we receive sufficient response by December 28, 2021, the ICB expects to file a letter in response to the public hearing noting the survey method, the percentage responding, and communicating numbers responding both in support and opposition.

Note: Here is a good article about what a permissive referendum is and how it relates the to current NYS Cannabis Law.

Survey: https://forms.gle/jeG7snsi2Yb6ooqW8

Nate:  This is only a start of Communication Committee activities; there’s a lot of good work going on here and you can expect to hear more from us.

Willard:  To put a few things in perspective, when Nate spoke about the ‘six areas of focus’, those are the six areas in the Town of Southold Comprehensive Plan, and we have input from Louisa that other hamlets have already begun to look at the Plan and how those areas in the Plan might impact that hamlet or not, and whether the assumptions and plans are accurate.  They have already reported or sent comments back to the Town Council and the Town Council has been paying attention to input.  We feel that we need to make sure that the Southold Town Council is not working on a comprehensive plan that has assumptions or decisions about Fishers Island that are inaccurate.  That is why it is so important that we hit those six topics and we do it not only from a general perspective point of view, but also from the Comprehensive Plan point of view.  Thanks very much, Nate.

Geb Cook—Ferry District:  The dredging in Silver Eel Cove was completed over six nights in November by a contractor from Long Island.  The removed dredging material was deposited at the far side of the parking lot behind the Freight Building.  It’s important to note that this project was 100% funded by Suffolk County.  Our responsibility as the Ferry District was to manage the spoils once they were on land; we moved them and placed them along the berm between the parking lot and the water.  Our mission over the next couple of weeks is to neaten that up and grade the berm so everyone can see over the berm to see the boat coming in.  The first step is to grade it and then we will stabilize it. In the spring we hope to plant it.  There is a big pile of sand next to the Coast Guard Station, and that is going to be used to create ‘Ferry Park’, and that will be underway soon, I believe.

Beth Cashel—Neighborhood Aide:

    • Zoning Review
      • Creating a Committee of Fishers Island Stakeholders to review zoning in accordance with Comprehensive Plan
      • Town is in process of implementing the approved Comprehensive Plan – a copy is at library or online.
      • Part of this process involves reviewing and likely changing the current zoning/zoning categories.
      • Town is in process of hiring a consultant to help in this process.
      • FI should review zoning along with FI Comprehensive Plan implementation. The Town’s thinking is that not all zoning categories are applicable to all hamlets and that a more nuanced menu may need to be created.
    • Public Hearings coming up:
      • Public Hearing on 12/14 on A Local Law Opting out of “Adult Use Cannabis Retail Dispensaries and On-Site Consumption Sites.”
        • This proposed local law proposes to opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites. NY Cannabis Law section 131 allows towns to opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites by local law prior to 12/31 OR lose the right to do so. Opting out of the NY law will allow the Town of Southold to review the ramifications of this law locally. Opting out now does provide the Town to again consider this law after 6 months.
      • Public Hearing on 12/14 on Transient Rentals defined as rentals less than 14 days.
        • The proposed local law proposes to amend Chapter 280 of the Town Code, zoning to allow for transient rentals in 3 zoning districts: Residential/Office, Hamlet District, and Business District.
      • Public Hearing on 12/14 on Zoning Fees change. Current Zoning fees will be eliminated from the Town Code.
        • Fees will now be set by Town Resolution. This procedural change will allow Town Board to change fees more easily without changing Town Board.
      • Public Zoning Hearing again on 12/18: Request for Special Exemption Use Section 280-13C (15). Applies to recreational use purposes to construct two paddle/pickleball courts.
        • Public Hearing was on 12/2 and adjourned. On Thursday another opportunity to offer comments on the permission for the two paddle courts at the CC.  Can email your comments to: Kimf@southoldtownny.gov
      • Economic Development Committee Visit to Fishers
        • Louisa has discussed with the Economic Development Committee to visit Fishers and speak with local business owners.
  • Code/Legislation Change for Large Houses – No update this meeting.
    • Town is considering a building code change that would restrict the size of a building on a lot. FI may want to engage in this conversation and the decision-making process. Louisa will post draft of bill on fishersilsand.net
  • Peconic Bay Region’s Community Preservation Fund’s 2% real estate transfer tax being raised .5% to fund affordable housing. – No update this meeting.
    • The Town needs to come up with a plan to outline how funds would be spent on affordable housing. It would then go to a Town wide referendum to be voted in or out. Louisa believes it is bill #6492 introduced in the NY Senate by Senator Anthony Palumbo in the 2021-2022 Regular Sessions.
    • Please note, Walsh Park is not an affordable housing provider under the Town guidelines (no income or first-time homeowners’ limits, etc.) even though it provides year-round resident housing.
    • FI may want to look closely at the bill to see if there is a way that FI can shape the Town’s plan so that FI can take advantage of any monies raised by the potential .5% in the real estate transfer tax.

Willard:  Before we close, I would like to take a minute to remember three wonderful members of our Fishers Island Community that we lost during the past month: Bobby White, Michael duPont, and the Rev John Talbott.  We’ll take a moment of silence to keep these people and their families in our hearts and in our minds.  Thank You.

Q to Tom Siebens: Why put utility poles up where they haven’t been when the extra cost of burying them has been donated? Why not do something that doesn’t mar the landscape?  A—Tom: All things considered, poles have a number of advantages other than the initial cost of installation.  The concern with vistas was the only significant concern with the pole line.  To address that, and at the suggestion of a lot of people, the line will run away from the road, not directly along it.  Also, a pole line can be in before next summer, which is key.  The present buried cable is at risk of failing, and a failure would cut power to the Community’s well water system, and the broadband microwave link to the mainland, not to mention power to houses on the East End and to the Club.  Weighing all the considerations, the managers, directors, professionals looking at this decided that poles were definitely a sound decision and a good way to go…and that’s where we’re going.

Willard:  A reminder to anyone who is on the Island that there is voting tonight for Fire District and Waste Management from 6 to 9 pm at the Community Center.

I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and happy holiday.  There will not be an ICB meeting in January; the next monthly ICB meeting will be on February 8, 2022

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