A Letter From the President
The upcoming Labor Day holiday marks the end of summer. I believe that we have accomplished a lot and I think we can all take pride in getting the Pines back together again after hurricane Sandy and having a wonderful summer. Highlights were the Pines Sixtieth Anniversary Party, the Sixtieth Commemorative Journal, The Pines Party, the Fire Island Dance Festival and the Fire Island Pines Arts Project (FIPAP) Biennial Art Show. Kudos also to the Ascension Party, the first Fire Island Pines Opera Festival and BOFFO for contributing to the success of the summer. If you have not received a journal please call the FIPPOA office.
A Wellness Day - referenced elsewhere in this newsletter - was conducted by the Pines Care Center with special thanks to Daniel Nardicio for organizing it.
On August 11, Alex DeRibes coordinated a Clean Up Day to improve the look of Fire Island Boulevard. All of us want a clean and beautiful community and we appreciate every effort to make that happen. Thanks to all who volunteered to help Alex.
The major issue facing the community is beach restoration. Sandy took more than a million cubic yards of sand from our beach. The major beach restoration project known as FIMP is moving along. The project will be implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps will hold a meeting in September and we anticipate receiving more information on the time table for the project. The major issues here are the dune line, homeowner easements and expansion of the Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA). The dune line will establish how many houses along the ocean will be removed. We anticipate the removal of between thirty to forty homes. NO homes will be removed along the ocean in the Pines. Ocean front homeowners along the whole of Fire Island will have to sign easements to allow the Corps to build the project partially on their property. These easements will be similar to the ones required for the Army Corps to conduct the cleanup of the community after hurricane Sandy. Homeowners can anticipate being contacted in September regarding these easements. The CEHA will be enlarged along the ocean front. Homes in the CEHA are restricted in rebuilding in subsequent storms if the damage to a home exceeds 75% of the value of the home.
We absolutely need this project and it is our number one issue. There are no two ways about it. We have done these projects on our own in the past but I believe that the cost and the complexity of these projects preclude the communities mounting them again. And getting FEMA to finance another project is uncertain if not impossible. We need the Army Corps project. It is anticipated that the project will begin on the east and west ends of the island simultaneously. This will allow the project to move ahead in wilderness areas while the issues in the communities get resolved. The Army Corps has expressed a goal of the first contracts being let in November/December of 2013 with the first sand pumped in January of 2014. We do not know yet when it will reach the Pines. The necessary dredges will be in the Long Island area this fall, hence it is critical to getting the project moving to take advantage of this equipment.
Political support for the project has been terrific at all levels from our senators to the Town of Brookhaven. Governor Cuomo has come out very strongly in favor of the project. Senator Gillibrand was here a few weeks ago and took a tour of our beach and confirmed the project will happen. Both of our Senators and Congressman Bishop sent a letter to the head of the Army Corps last week strongly urging that work begin immediately.
I want to emphasize again that the project is absolutely necessary. Congress has made the necessary money available. We need to make sure that the money goes to our project and not anywhere else. The project assures the continued existence of Fire Island, the communities and our way of life. It is the number one focus of FIPPOA. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure the project is done and will be on top of it every step of the way. This is a very fluid matter with a lot of moving pieces. The information I give you today is subject to change.
The Army Corps has also assured the Fire Island Communities that it is taking the necessary steps to close Old Inlet.
FIPAP will be mounting its annual community show this Labor Day weekend - Hello Dolly! Many of our community residents: Nikki LaFountaine, John Cassese, Ryan Bell, Steven Alan Black, Laura & Mike Hartstein, Jack & Rita Lichtenstein, Lisa Zinn and Teresa & Carly Lovito are in the show. Don't miss it! It's a fun night for all and they do a terrific production.Happy Labor Day!
Fall Meeting & Elections
Special thanks goes to Nomination Committee Chair Richard Zinn who did a great job of recruiting 10 candidates for the September 21 FIPPOA election. Three incumbents, Alan Brockman, Roger Kluge and Lori Zeller have decided not to seek another term and we thank them for their service. The 2013 candidates are Allan Baum, Marcus Edward, Colin Glinsman, Jane Groveman, Hal Hayes, Chris Lovito, H.R. Nicholson, Steve Norring, Anthony Pietrangolare and Russell Saray. The ballots will be mailed late this week, but you can preview the candidate's letters here.
EXCELLENT FINANCIAL NEWS FROM BROOKHAVEN
A number of years ago, we established the Erosion Control District within the Town of Brookhaven to facilitate the projects that we have implemented to protect our beach - in particular the large beach replenishments that we sponsor every 5 years or so. Since the District is part of the Town, Brookhaven can secure bonds on our behalf - and we pay them off through our taxes.
There is one more year, 2014, required to pay off the bonds connected to the last project in 2009 - about $1,000,000.
Smaller projects, like scraping and trap bags, can also be paid through the District and, thereby, with tax money. We had been advised that FEMA would reimburse the District for losses from Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.
The good news is that the reimbursement money has come through. The scraping project from 2011 and the trap bag installation this Spring cost (together) almost $500,000. Our tax cost will be about 10% of this amount.
In addition, a major expense for the District will not be incurred after this year. As part of each replenishment project, we have been required to engage a monitor in order to assure environmental protection for wildlife like the Piping Plover. That requirement ends in 2013, so there will be no tax charge ($115,000 in 2013) for this activity next year.
Many thanks to Tamara Wright, Brookhaven CFO, for her assistance in securing these funds for our taxpayers and our Foundation.
On Saturday, August 10, the Pines Care Center conducted the first annual Pines Wellness Day on the Lepage Pavilion of Whyte Hall. Dewitt Stern generously contributed towards the costs associated with the event.
In cooperation with Daniel Nardicio and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, 135 free meningitis vaccines were given, and in cooperation with the Long Island LGBT Center, rapid HIV testing was conducted. GMHC also attended and provided information on various health issues.
On August 25 a memorial service was held at the Sip n' Twirl to celebrate the life of George Bolender. George was a long time resident and owned 317 Sky Walk. George's career was on Wall Street holding positions in several financial firms. In his retirement, George became Postmaster and welcomed the community at the post office. George was also a long time friend of Ron McKenna. The two of them wintered together in South Beach. George was also known to be a favorite client at the Sip n' Twirl, rarely missing an opening night. We will miss our friend and postmaster.
Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association
Jay Pagano, President
Ed Schulhafer, Vice President
Alan Brodherson, Secretary
Mike Hartstein, Treasurer
At Summer Solstice
Save The Dates
This Thursday, Aug 29
August 30 to September 1
Annual Meeting & Election
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Every Other Sunday
at Whyte Hall