The following article by SoutholdVOICE member Paul Torpey is a preprint from the Peconic Bay Home Owners Association Newsletter that will be published in coming weeks.
SoutholdVOICE â€“ Loud & Clear
For too long Southold waterfront property owners and other friends of our local waters have constituted a passive and largely silent group of citizen taxpayers. This has resulted in the enactment of ever more sweeping and aggressive laws and regulations having very significant impact on property owners on or near wetlands and other water bodies. All of this with minimal input from the very group of stakeholders most directly affected.
This situation is now undergoing major positive change thanks to a dedicated, knowledgeable and hard working core group of local neighbors under the leadership of John Kramer and including John Betsch, Paul Birman, Dianne Castaldi, Barbara Christianson, Dan Christianson, Joanna Lane and Doug Rose Sr. These individuals now comprise SoutholdVOICEâ€™s Board of Directors with John Kramer as Chair. SouthholdVOICE was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit in August 2007. The organization has had two general membership meetings and a goodly number of Board and Committee meetings since its 2007 inception. So far, membership is being handled on an individual basis with annual dues set at $35 and contributions welcomed from any individual or group.
Lots of encouraging things have been initiated during SoutholdVOICEâ€™s infancy:
- The dredging deadlock appears to have been broken following a letter from Senators Schumer and Clinton and Congressman Bishop to the Army Corps of Engineers. Southold creeks are being dredged as you read this. Great News! Thank you.
- The proposed amendments to Local Law 275 (formerly #97) are under intense scrutiny with comments, suggestions and criticisms going back and forth. This is a hot button topic with a short timeline and potentially punitive, long term implications for the stakeholders.
- Candidates for the Town Board and Trustees have been given 4 important, pointed and thought-provoking questions and the candidates have been invited to respond. Some have and some have not. Check it all out on http://www.southoldvoice.comThe responses are interesting and the non responses perhaps even more so!
- Over 500 registered and contributing members have signed on in less than a full year and SoutholdVOICE has gotten the attention of local political and environmental decision makers. A number of active committees have been set up to liaison with various governmental entities.
- SoutholdVOICE has set up a very comprehensive communication’s network allowing the membership to communicate easily with each other and with the Trustees, Town Board, Bay Keeper, NYS DEC, etc. The SoutholdVOICE website: www.southoldvoice.com is a real gem: well-designed, always current, always informative and it has opened the door for useful dialogue between Town officials and the citizenry. As of late October the site has received over 13,000 hits! There are useful links to relevant related topics, a much-used Yahoo Discussion Group and a very informative and useful web site.
- Several â€˜Letters To The Editorâ€™ have been written by SoutholdVOICE members and the Discussion Group has hosted some great discussions on provocative, eye opening topics such as: permitting nightmares, ever increasing fees and fines, dredging delays, diminishing property rights, threats to grandfathering and much more.
If you use and enjoy the waters of Southold you owe it to yourself to become a member and participant of SoutholdVOICE. If you own or are invested in waterfront property affected by the ever growing number and increasing severity of governing rules and regulations active membership is an imperative.
Get started with a visit to www.southoldvoice.com. Browse around, read some of the material, fill out the simple on-line volunteer/membership form and mail your $35 dues to:
PO Box 996
Southold, NY 11971
Looking forward to working with all of you,
Paul J. Torpey