Fishers Island getting some love from the town

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Officials crossing the Fishers Island ferry ramp on the way to last year’s annual Town Board island meeting.
The Fishers Island ferry needs a new ramp before next season to allow large vehicles on and off the island.

New ferry district manager Don Lamb told the Southold Town Board at a work session Tuesday that the ferry district is gearing up to begin the project, which would replace an aging 24-foot ramp with a more sturdy 30-foot structure, at a cost of up to $861,000.

The town plans to bond roughly $500,000 for the project and use ferry district revenue to pay for the remainder. The ferry district currently has a $250,000 surplus, which could also be used to offset the cost, said Town Justice Louisa Evans of Fishers Island.

Southold is also investing energy this month in reviewing Fishers Island’s aging community sewer system.

The board plans to send sewer and stormwater engineer Michael Collins to the island in the upcoming weeks to examine numerous sewer district issues, including a need to dig up the community’s leaching field, aging clay pipes that Ms. Evans believes were at one time stoppered up with old lobster buoys, and frequent power dips that cause the district’s generator to turn on unexpectedly.

Mr. Collins hopes to spend several days on the island to resolve the issues, which are currently being dealt with by contractors from Connecticut who bill the town for both the time they work at the sewer district and the time they spend waiting for the ferry.

Mr. Collins hopes, ultimately, to find someone on the island who can do the day-to-day maintenance in consultation with him.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board also distributed its share of federal Community Development Block grants.

The North Fork Housing Alliance will receive the lion’s share, with $35,000 going toward its home improvement program. The town would also like to allocate four $5,000 grants toward creating affordable housing through its own housing program.

Family Residences & Essential Enterprises, a group home for developmentally disabled adults on Main Bayview Road in Southold, will receive $8,000 to repair its windows, siding and roof.

The town also plans to spend $7,243 to install showers at the Human Resource Center and Katinka House in Mattituck for use when both facilities serve as emergency shelters.

The Robert Perry Day Care Center in Greenport, Community Action of Southold Town and the Maureen’s Haven homeless outreach program will each receive $5,000.

A large agricultural property on Bergen Ave. in Mattituck may be preserved from development, if the town agrees to purchase a development rights easement to 25.2 acres owned by Macari Vineyards at a price of $1,512,000.

The Town Board will hold a public hearing on the project at its Dec. 4 meeting at 7:30 p.m. The negotiated price is $60,000 per acre with the funds coming from Southold’s Community Preservation Fund and a grant from the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.