A rally and contention at town hall
ISLIP TOWN—On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the Islip Town Board addressed a full agenda of resolutions, but not before concerned citizens expressed grievances on a number of issues. The two biggest matters were the parking meters in the hamlet of Bay Shore and the ultimate fate of Idle Hour, the former William K. Vanderbilt mansion, which until last year served as the now-closed Dowling College campus.
During the public input session, Susan Barbash spoke on behalf of the Bay Shore Women’s Huddle, an organization founded by several Bay Shore and Brightwaters residents in December 2016 with the goal of helping women take a more active role in local politics. Like many of those speaking out against the parking program, she expressed concern that the meters are hurting local businesses.
Barbash also cited a “homegrown survey” that her organization conducted this August. Their results found that 52 percent of people, when asked, said they shop in Bay Shore as little as possible since the parking meters were put in place, with 7 percent saying they will no longer shop in the town. Forty percent of business owners also said that business has decreased, while another 60 percent of all polled said they have seen no improvements in the parking lots and surrounding areas, nor do they feel safer.
A representative from the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts on Main Street said the theater has been feeling the effects of the meters. “Parking is a logistical hassle for us,” she said, noting that there are few spots for buses to park and the theater has to pay for parking validation for guest artists that are performing there. She added that the theater had been built without any monetary support from the town and the costs incurred by the meters are now hurting the theater.
Donna Periconi, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Bay Shore, also said that it was unfair to place the meters only in Bay Shore and said they should be removed or expanded throughout all of Islip Town. “After an almost legendary revitalization, Bay Shore is hurting again.”
One resident, however, stood in front of the board and expressed his satisfaction with the controversial parking program. Mike Esposito said that since the meters’ installation in his neighborhood, he has gotten his “quality of life back.”
“I haven’t gotten a ticket yet,” the Bay Shore resident said. “I run to the hardware store, go out to dinner, and that’s it.”
As for Idle Hour, many residents asked the board to grant the former Vanderbilt estate Planned Landmark Preservation Overlay District (PLP) status. This program is exclusive to the Town of Islip, which doesn’t require permission from the owner. In Idle Hour’s case, the property is currently owned by an educational institution based in China. Residents fear they will tear down a piece of the town’s history.
MaryAnn Almes, president of the Oakdale Historical Society, said more than 2,200 people signed a petition last year for Idle Hour to be designated a PLP. She added that no provisions were made for maintenance of the property by the new owner after purchase. Almes insisted that an absentee landlord is all the more reason to apply a PLP now. “Historic protection [of Idle Hour] is long overdue,” she said.
Supervisor Carpenter noted that the planning board is beginning the process of PLP for that property and that the new owners, who are currently in Taiwan, would be meeting with the town in the coming weeks.
Later on in the business session, the Islip Town Board voted on over three dozen resolutions, one of which resulted in approving the designation of depositories in which the tax receiver shall deposit and secure monies retrieved by her office for the 2017-2018 tax year.
The authorization for the supervisor to execute a contract renewal agreement accepting funding from the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities in conjunction with executing an agreement with David Sanders Dance Dynamics to provide a therapeutic recreation/modern dance program for developmentally disabled youth and young adults in the Town of Islip was also approved.
Authorization for the town clerk to advertise for a public hearing to consider adopting amendments to Chapter 68 of the Islip Town Code entitled “Zoning” was approved, as was the authorization for the supervisor to execute an extension of contract with Suffolk County for the Round 8 Downtown Revitalization Agreement for the hamlet of West Islip.
The board authorized for the supervisor to apply for and accept funds from the Suffolk County Water Authority to compensate the Department of Public Works for the milling and overlay paving restoration at Everdell Avenue, Hall Street and Capri Court in West Islip. Authorization for the supervisor to enter into a contract with Woodstock Construction Group, Ltd. for “Bayport Beach Breakwater Reconstruction,” contract DPD 5-17, was approved as well.
Lastly, the town board approved to symbolically change the name of Lakeview Avenue in Bayport to “Girl Scout Way” to honor the 50th anniversary year of dedicated community service provided by the Suffolk County Girl Scouts. And the board approved the renaming of the Brookwood Hall Exhibition Room for Frank E. Szemko, a local historian and former resident of the building when it had been an orphanage.
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