Board unhappy with stone wall’s removal

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 7:45pm
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“Where are the rocks?”

That refrain was repeated by the Island Free Library’s Board of Trustees and Library Director Kristin Baumann during its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The Trustees were wondering what happened to the rocks that comprised the stone wall separating the library’s property from The Darius Inn’s backyard. The stone wall was located on the property line, which is partly owned by The Darius Inn, the Town of New Shoreham.

Christy and Becca Zendt, owners of The Darius Inn on Dodge Street and neighbors to the library, are in the process of constructing a two-story barn after demolishing an old barn in their backyard. During the demolition, the property owners removed the stone wall that was located near the library’s back parking lot.

The sisters later informed Building Official Marc Tillson that it was always their intent to temporarily remove the wall and place it back onto the property line.

Shirlyne Gobern, Chair of the Trustees, said Baumann noticed on Nov. 26 that the stone wall was gone. “So I looked at the plans submitted to the Zoning Board, as well as their building permits.”

Gobern said language in the Zendt’s site plan noted that if the stone wall was demolished it would need to be rebuilt. “Kristin sent an email to Marc (Tillson) and the Town Manager (Ed Roberge), notifying them that it happened, and what’s the procedure. And I sent the Zendts an email saying the stone wall was the property of the town and The Darius.”

Gobern said the Zendts replied that, “They were sorry. They want to put up something else, like a privet hedge, or some trees, which they said would be nicer.”

“I would like the stone wall back — thank you very much,” said William Feuer, the Board of Trustees Treasurer. “Privets are horrible.”

Trustee Gloria Redlich echoed Feuer’s comments regarding privets.

“Where’d all the rocks go?” asked Trustee Dave Sniffen.

“Rocks have a way of disappearing on Block Island. That’s not good,” said Feuer.

Baumann said she contacted Tillson regarding the matter. “I didn’t think it was right, but before I spoke with the Zendts I wanted to get a clarification.”

Gobern said the Zendt’s contractor took the stone wall down in order to lay the foundation for the new barn structure.

“Will they be rebuilding the stone wall with the stone they took away?”

The Trustees agreed to inform the Zendts that they would like the stone wall to be rebuilt. “We’ll send a letter to (the Zendts) and copy it to the Building Official, Town Manager, and the Land Use Administrator, as well as the Facilities Manager,” said Gobern.

Heidi Tarbox, the board’s clerk, said the Trustees could include language that states: “Not only do we want it rebuilt, but we want it built with the same stones.”

Tillson told The Times that, “The site plan submitted by the Zendt’s for zoning approval states that the stone wall will be temporarily removed during construction of the new accessory residential building. I have discussed this with the sisters and they told me it was always their intent to replace the stone wall as shown on the approved plan. The plan reads: stone wall to be replaced on line — meaning the property line. The stone wall is owned by both the Zendts and the town.”

Fine Free Policy

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously (5-0) to adopt the language for its new “fine free” policy at the library at its Dec. 18 meeting. The board adopted the fine free policy change at its November meeting. At both meetings, Feuer made the motion that was seconded by Redlich.

Baumann told the Trustees that she planned on implementing the new policy on Jan. 1, 2019. She had noted at the previous meeting that the $3,000 average in annual fines could be offset by donations, and also subsidized by the Friends of the Library.

The policy draft states: “In an effort to improve access and opportunity in our community, the Island Free Library will be fine free, and will eliminate fines for overdue books and library materials effective January 1, 2019.”

The policy notes that: “Library cardholders are responsible for honoring the due date or renewing the item on the website, in person, or via phone call to the library. The library provides notice three days before materials are due, and at two weeks past the due date.” It also states that patrons “who haven’t returned or renewed books won’t be able to check out additional material. And once items are two weeks overdue, no further materials can be checked out and customers that do not return items will be billed when the materials are four weeks overdue.”

In other news, the Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Tom Doyle and Jen Yeh to two-year terms on the board, to fill the vacancies created by Elizabeth Taylor and Gloria Redlich, who have resigned.

The next library Board of Trustees meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.