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Town board wrap: permits for rental properties, pickleball courts in Southold and the future of Plum Island Lighthouse

The site of the proposed pickleball courts at Tasker Park in Peconic. Photo: Katharine Schroeder


Due to the increasing popularity of pickleball, a game that can be played by people of all ages and abilities, Jeff Standish, Southold Town’s director of public works, and Janet Douglass, recreation supervisor, presented a proposal to the town board to build three courts at Tasker Park in Peconic.

The game, which combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, was invented in 1965 in Washington and is now played worldwide.

Presently people play pickleball on makeshift courts at Cochran Park in Peconic. Standish and Douglass hope to install permanent courts at Tasker. The estimated cost of building three courts is $50,000 and the money would come from the recreation department fund.

Permits for Rental Properties

Councilwoman Jill Doherty presented the draft of a proposed town code which would require owners of rental properties to obtain a bi-annual permit. Owners would be required to fill out an application, agree to have their properties inspected by the building department and pay a fee.

Doherty said that it was important to inspect potential rental properties to insure the “health, safety and welfare” of people living in these houses.

The proposal will go to the code committee before it is brought before the public at a hearing.

Weight Limits on Peconic Bay Boulevard

Supervisor Scott Russell urged the board to continue efforts to impose weight restrictions on Peconic Bay Boulevard since it has become a “very popular thoroughfare.”

Russell’s request to the transportation commission was reviewed and a decision was reached to take a “wait and see” approach. He asked that the board move forward and ask the commission to reconsider the request.

In March, Riverhead Town imposed a weight limit of eight tons on Peconic Bay Boulevard from Meetinghouse Creek Road to Laurel Road.

Plum Island Lighthouse

James Garretson, chairman of the Southold Town Historic Preservation Commission, asked the board for help in preserving the historic Plum Island Lighthouse and Fort Terry, both located on Plum Island, which is owned by the U.S. government.

Garretson explained that although Southold Town doesn’t own the lighthouse or Fort Terry, there is a possibility it some day might and expressed concern that by that time, the lighthouse could be damaged beyond repair.

Both Plum Island Lighthouse and Fort Terry are on national and state registries of historic places; Garretson was asking for formal approval by Southold Town to give him authority to discuss saving or properly maintaining both sites.

Supervisor Russell has spoken with a facility manager at Plum Island and was told that a historic preservationist was called in to examine the lighthouse. Russell said the estimated cost of restoration was $1.5 million and that he has been in touch with Congressman Lee Zeldin’s office to see what they can do to secure funding.

Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine