2009-06-04 / Letters to the Editor

Town Council's short-sighted proposal endangers entire island water supply

As president of the Jamestown Shores Association, I am writing to express serious concerns regarding some Town Council members' proposal to sell town-owned property in the Shores.

This proposal discussed at the May 18 Town Council meeting defies logic.

The Jamestown Shores Association has worked for the past 10 years to protect water recharge areas to ensure a safe, adequate well water supply in our area, and for the protection of the entire island water supply.

Through our efforts, and ironically with Town Council support, we helped to institute the High Groundwater Ordinance, and prompted the town to begin taking legal ownership of property in town possession due to unpaid property taxes.

Further, our persistence brought about state legislation regarding cumulative impacts. This legislation attempts to protect neighbors from development that adversely impacts their property or the environment.

Was all this work for nothing?

We all know that once property is out of town control, property owners are pretty much free to do with the land as they choose. Restrictions on deeds are soon forgotten or removed through legal means - which the town has either not challenged or inadequately pursued in the courts.

Wetland recharge areas in the densely populated Shores area need permanent protection. These water recharge areas feed not only the Shore's wells, but replenish the water supply for the entire town. Topography and vegetative changes, over use of fertilizers and pesticides, filling of land and other changes will occur if the land is not permanently protected. Monitoring of property, particularly as it changes hands, is impossible. Covenants can and will be broken, either legally or illegally.

The Town Council's proposal to sell these now protected properties does not make sense!

The Jamestown Shores area and its residents deserve to be protected. Shores residents have strongly supported open space acquisition of land throughout the island. Whatever financial gains accrued by "putting these properties back on the tax rolls" would certainly be offset by the huge negative impact on the water supply.

Selling town-owned water recharge property in the Shores is tantamount to selling land around the reservoir. We deserve better leadership from our Town Council members.

I am asking that the Town Council immediately drop this shortsighted idea and, in fact, vigorously move to protect more property in the Shores and throughout the island. Charlotte Zarlengo President Jamestown Shores Association

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