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Shelter Island extends construction ban

A moratorium banning construction along the Ram Island Causeway on Shelter Island has been extended to the end of the year.

The town board voted unanimously at its Friday night meeting to extend the moratorium, saying the comments at a public hearing last month must still be evaluated.

The hearing packed the small town hall, with more than a dozen people commenting on the need to control development in what they said is an environmentally fragile area that’s subject to erosion. Several people asked whether some of the building lots in the area qualified as wetlands, and town officials said that had not been determined in earlier studies.

The town is working on a proposed overlay district that would limit some development along the causeway, but has not finished the work.

“Our draft legislation is close to completion, but the moratorium needs to be extended,” Supervisor James Dougherty said.

The property covered by the moratorium is now zoned residential, and town officials fear that they could be liable for future damages caused by erosion — a serious problem in sections of the nearly two-mile stretch of road that links Shelter Island to Ram Island and Little Ram Island.

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