ICB Minutes September 13, 2022 w/recording

by Jane Ahrens

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

ICB Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Zoom Only

Total Participants: 55

Meeting minutes will be posted here once approved at the October 11 meeting.

ICB Monthly Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The ICB meets monthly in a public forum with the community to review and discuss Island priorities. Minutes of monthly ICB meetings are posted (HERE) on the ICB website at https://fishersisland.net/about-fishers-island/island-community-board/

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:  Minutes of the August 9, 2022, ICB meeting approved as written with the following correction to the ICB Election Timeline:  Newly elected Board members are announced and officially take office at the conclusion of the September ICB meeting.

Chris Ingram—IHP Report:  There have been more positive cases of Covid on the Island, due to a breakout among the staff at the Big Club.  No dire outcomes, and everyone is pretty much back home, so we’re left with a skeletal crew here, and that will probably get us by for the winter months coming up.  The combo Covid shot is now available in New London at various sites. There is also a possibility that Meggie from the Medicine Shoppe, who has the vaccine, may come out to Fishers and do a mass vaccination.  We haven’t worked out the details of that, but we can organize if it’s of interest to people here.  Flu shots will be administered at the Doctor’s Office here on Wednesday, October 5th, from 9 am to 12 noon.  Call for an appointment during that time.  There are two types of flu vaccine—one for those over the age of 65, and the other for those not yet 65.

Kapri—PT Program:  The Physical Therapy program began on June 28, and ran twice a week for 11 weeks, which breaks down to 23 days of therapy—20 full days and 3 half days.  We had very good attendance.  There were 152 sessions, with 7 to 8 clients a day.   Thirty-eight people participated in the program—19 did one session, 7 did two sessions, and 12 people did more than two sessions.  Eight of the participants were year-round residents; the rest were seasonal.

Chris:  One more note—we’ve begun preliminary talks with Kevin Torres, the Deputy Chief Medical officer at L & M, in conjunction with Bill Coleman, Kapri and me, we’re looking at ways to improve the service for next year, and run it through L & M, having L & M based PT therapists come to the Island that are approved with the insurance groups.  We’re a long way off from that happening, but that’s where we’d like to be next year.

John McGillian—Financial Report: In the combined Liberty Bank and PayPal accounts we have approximately $5,500; payment of $1,500 to ICB Admin/Secretary was approved, leaving a balance of approximately $4,000 in the combined accounts.

Christian Arsenault—FI School:  School has re-opened for the 2022-23 year with reduced Covid protocols.  This is my 6th school year here on Fishers.  The start of the year was as smooth as we’ve ever had, considering that the last three years were greatly impacted by Covid.  We still have some things in place to protect students and staff, family members and the Community.  One of the major ones is that we’re offering screening testing kits to anyone who wants one.  The school has a new website fischool.com  We think this will improve our efforts around communication; anyone in the Community who wants information about the School can find it on this site.  There is also a mobile app available for both Apple and android devices.  Anyone in the community can sign up for notifications.  Board of Ed meetings are also still live streamed on this website, and on fishersisland.net as well.  The School renovation project unfortunately has not yet started due to the Covid backlog of projects throughout NY state; all School renovation project plans funneled into the State at the same time for approval. The approval process we were told should take 3-4 months, and we’re now going into month 7 or 8.  Our construction plan has been approved; the final step is a review of the financials we have in place to pay for the project; we could find out anytime between now and a few weeks from now that we’re fully approved.  We can then put the project out to bid and begin working with a contractor to start the project.  We are hopeful that the project will be completed by the end of summer 2024.

Updates on the two parcels of land the School has for sale, the one on Winthrop Drive to Walsh Park, and the other on Reservoir Road, which is scheduled to be sold as well: The date for the referendum vote is Nov 8.  If the referendum vote is approved, we will be able to move forward; if not approved, the School will not be able to proceed with these sales.  Bids for purchase of the Reservoir Road property are due to our school attorney by Nov 1st.  If you need any information on that, please let me know.  We will have a public hearing on both sites during the first week of November where public comments will be heard.

Willard—Q for clarification: Is there one referendum for both properties? Or two referendums, one for each property?

A—Christian:  It’s one referendum with two questions—one question to approve the sale of the Winthrop Drive parcel to Walsh Park and the other to sell the Reservoir Road parcel to the highest and most qualified bidder.

Willard—Q:  If the sales are approved, do the funds go toward [School] Capital?

A—Christian:  Yes, toward capital, and we hope to divert some funds to the faculty housing fund, but we do want to push the bulk of those funds to the renovation project to defray the cost of the bond that was approved. Either way it will go toward the cost of taxpayer dollars.

Q to Christian:  Is the School accepting bids on the Winthrop Drive property?

A—Christian:  The School has a non-binding agreement with Walsh Park to sell them the property.  If the School Board were to receive a bid on that property between now and the vote, they would only be obligated to provide that information to Walsh Park.

Willard:  One of the primary concerns for the ICB has been and will continue to be affordable Island housing for year-round residents.  An issue that has come up this summer, is the lack of affordable rental housing for seasonal employees—people who come here and help with the demands of the summer season.  Here to address that issue is Peggy Elliott, owner of a local seasonal business on the Island:

Peggy:  I want to address our summer workers housing issues.  We at the Tidal Wave salon provide health and beauty services, as well as aesthetic services.  This year I had two full-time massage therapists—one of who commuted daily on the ferry at great expense.  Summer seasonal employees would stay on the Island if they had a place (room) of their own. I don’t know who to appeal to—an ad in the Fog Horn?  Walsh Park?  Any suggestions would be really helpful so we can keep our seasonal businesses going.  *Note: My colleague, Lily Starbuck, faced similar issues with housing for seasonal help at her local business, The West End Café.

Willard:  We certainly need some kind of process in place to address this issue, and that could be through the ICB and with posting on fishnet.  Peggy & Lily: Contact Jane Ahrens for fishnet, and send your contact information to the ICB Secretary [ficommunityboard@gmail.com] for ICB to continue to pursue this issue.

Q:  Who is allowed to vote in the School property sale(s) referendum?

Christian:  I can answer that.  You must be 18 years old, a resident of the FI School district for at least 30 days prior to the vote and permitted to vote under all other aspects of the voting.  The important thing is that owning a home here does not necessarily make you a District resident.  You can only have one legal residence or domicile that is your permanent home.  You have to prove that this is your full-time residence and that you are not voting or spending the majority of time in another voting district.  Typically, this is done with a driver’s license with a Fishers Island address.  You can make your case that this is your permanent home on Election Day as well; we have a process to do that.

Willard (for Tracy & Jim Rutherfurd)—L & M Emergency Room Fundraiser:  The fundraising effort is progressing and doing very well.  The Committee is getting close to its goal; it has not yet been achieved.  They are very appreciative of any donation of any size.  Jim and Tracy can provide more specific information; detailed information is also available on fishersisland.net along with a ‘Donor’ button.

Elizabeth Reid—Update on FICC Pickleball and Paddle courts:  We are excited about this project, which should be completed this year.  Tremendous fundraising efforts have been made, particularly by Ken Hanau as well as others, and we have about 80% of the funds raised, and we hope to round out the fundraising by the end of this month.  If that’s the case, we should have paddle courts up by the end of October.  If anyone has questions, or would like to donate, you may reach out to me, Jim [Reid], Staley, Jeanie, Linda, Ken Hanau or Luke Fowler.

Q: Other than at the Community Center, where is this project being promoted?

A—Elizabeth:  Our campaign is promoted on fishersisland.net, where you can donate online and we’re planning an e-blast campaign later this month.

Q:  Where will these courts be located?

A—Elizabeth:  There will be two courts located to the left of the FICC; land was purchased from Kandi Sanger.  In addition to the courts, the property will have a storage facility, part of which will be used as a warming hut.  The property still has Ed Riley’s former home on it, and next year, in phase 2, that property will be renovated/converted to year-round housing for a year-round resident.

Willlard:  Items on the Agenda to be addressed in the future:

  1. The road to the transferstation, which is in terrible condition, and why it can’t be repaired; I’m turning this over to Geb Cook, as it is a Ferry District property.
  2. An item brought up by a year-round resident is that all property owners and residents are required by law to remove snow on sidewalks/walkways in front of your residence.This law applies to seasonal residents as well as to year-round residents.  We need to help the Community make sure that this law is adhered to as the lack of snow removal is inconsiderate, unsafe and also illegal.
  3. The support this year for the HOG (golf tournament) was outstanding; on Susie’s and IHP’s behalf, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the event and made it another very successful fund raiser.
  4. Lastly, there have been some comments that the Board make-up of certain Island organizations do reflect many of the year-round business owners, but do not reflect year-round non-business owners.Maybe that’s an item that can be addressed going forward.

Beth Cashel—Town Liaison:  Beth presented the following report:

NEIGHBORHOOD AIDE UPDATE – Reported by Elizabeth Cashel

ICB MEETING 9/13/2022

  • As Neighborhood Aid for Fishers Island, I work directly for the Town Manager of Southold, Scott Russel, and serve as a liaison between Fishers Island and the Town. My role is first and foremost as a conduit, a communications bridge, between the Island and the Town in order to:
    • Streamline and improve the communication between Fishers Island and Southold
    • Increase efficiency and build relationships
    • Identify alignment of interests between the Island and the Town
    • Communicate Fishers Island consensus opinion to the Town
    • Provide faster follow through on the Town side for FI agenda items
  • Town approved creation of Housing Advisory Board
  • This is ahead of a November referendum to add a half-percent transfer tax for affordable housing solutions. The town must establish a plan and advisory board to oversee the funds collected by the tax if the measure is approved by voters.
  • The resolution selected representatives from the town Housing Advisory Commission, North Fork Housing Alliance, Community Action Southold Town, the Greenport Village deputy treasurer, a Fishers Island representative- me, along with a banker, realtor, and an attorney.
  • According to the resolution, at least seven members on the committee must represent those groups and organizations, including Greenport Village. No more than 15 members may be appointed to the committee. Members must be legal residents of Southold Town and not part of the local legislative body. This responds to the request to have a FI representative on the Committee that will address

Peconic Bay Region’s Community Preservation Fund’s 2% real estate transfer tax being raised .5% to fund affordable housing.  Meetings will begin in the next month, and I will continue to provide updates.

  • DMV on Fishers Island

Town Board passed a resolution in support of having some DMV services provided on Fishers Island

  • This resolution is now with Jodi Giglio’s office who is in discussions with DMV
    • While not finalized, this resolution, if approved by State, will enable a representative to offer DMV services on Fishers a few times a year. This will not provide on island driving tests.
  • Code/Legislation Change for Large Houses House size amendment
    • The Town Board approved amendments to proposed legislation that would limit maximum house size. The revised proposal is now up for a public hearing on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
    • Maximum gross floor area and sky plane restrictions would not be applicable to projects submitted for approval prior to enactment; the structure would be deemed pre-existing nonconforming.
      • The purpose is so that a building size and heigh is proportionate to the lots’ size and neighborhood.
  • Questions on Road to Transfer Station
    • Road is responsibility of Ferry District, and concerns should be addressed to FI Ferry District Board
  • Economic Development Committee
    • I am working with Committee on a survey that will be issued to local businesses
    • Plans are being discussed to bring the Economic Board here to meet with our local businesses.
  • Town Budget
    • Department Heads currently drafting budgets for next year. Process is that Scott speaks with Dept Heads.  Board speaks to Dept Heads.
    • If there are requests for funds, timing is now to discuss with appropriate departments. For example, various groups such as Fishers Island Highway or Harbor Committee will request funds.
    • Timing is now thru November conversations/budget analysis will be taking place with early November date for finalized budget.
  • Tree Code
    • Back to drawing board and goal is to address clear cutting

There was a question about sidewalks and roads: the Town Engineer has been to Fishers to look at the sidewalks and roads, as they have done throughout Southold where many of the sidewalks and roads are in similar disrepair.  The new head of the Highway Department is trying to create a long-term plan that’s logical and actionable.  Meantime, an $850,000 bond was approved to repair the sinkhole here on Central Avenue, and that will probably be the first road repair that is done on Fishers.

Willard:  I would suggest that the ICB send another letter to the Town supporting our requests for the roads and sidewalks repairs.  I think we should do that every year.

Willard read the following comments as his term as ICB President comes to a close:

ICB Comments 09/13/22:

Before we adjourn this meeting and move on to the Board’s acceptance of the new Board Members and the Board’s election of new officers, I would like to say a few words.

After three very busy and demanding years as president of the ICB, ending my term is certainly bittersweet. I am extremely pleased with the progress we have made these past three years, thanks to great teamwork and communication across all organizations and especially with the IHP, the Clubs, IPP, the Museum, the Village Market and the Pequot during COVID.

New Stop Signs, and Sidewalks, the extension of the Rec Path, creation and funding of the Neighborhood Aid position, improved relationship with Southold, becoming part of the greater Southold civic group and monthly meeting participation are certainly examples of the cohesive efforts of many.

However, when a term ends, one thinks not only about what has been accomplished but more heavily what lies ahead and remains to be done. ICB exists as a forum, as a place to be informed, to provide transparency, and to unite the community for the common good.  I hope going forward this vision/mission continues. I hope all constituencies who so love this island look at all issues or challenges with a “glass half full” perspective. We need to accept that while there will not always be agreement on issues, that as a community working together good things will happen.

Specific key challenges to the health of our community (yes summer and year-round) continue to be affordable housing for year-round residents, reasonable cost of utilities, affordable access to healthcare, safe streets and sidewalks, and undo regulation from Southold.

As we did so well during COVID, and as Suzy Parsons said many times, “It takes a Village”.  It will take a Village that continues to communicate, is transparent, and works together to meet these future challenges.

Thank you for the opportunity to lead ICB over the past three years and for all the help, engagement, and constructive input.

With that, I’d like to adjourn this regular monthly meeting of the ICB and proceed to the reporting of election results and to electing the slate of officers for the next year.

Newly elected representatives to ICB are Linda Mrowka, year-round, and Richard Miller, seasonal.  Their election to the ICB Board was accepted and approved.

Nominations were accepted and approved for officer positions, and the new slate of ICB officers is:

John McGillian, President
Staley Sednaoui, Co-Vice President
George deMenil, Co-Vice President
John McGillian, Treasurer

John:  Thank you, Willard, for your very thoughtful and effective leadership, and I hope I can fulfill my role in the same generous, open-minded, and supportive manner that you have.

The next ICB meeting will be Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

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USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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