Village of Dering Harbor
Trustees’ Meeting Minutes
May 11th, 2019, 9am
● Attendance – Betsy Morgan, Mayor, and Trustees Karen Kelsey, Patrick Parcells, Clora Kelly, Ari Benacerraf, Wayne Bruyn (Village Attorney), Victoria Weslek (Village Clerk & Treasurer); Members of the public present- Susan Dempsey, Donna Rittzmannn, Carissa Ahearn, Stephanie Deuttsch, J. Lee Snead, Esq. (lawyer representing Hogue, Brownlie, Modica, Smith), Linda Adams, Annbeth Eschbach, Alfredo Paredes, Brandon Rose, Stuart Goldman, Eric Deutsch
● Meeting was called to order at 9:00am
● Patrick moved and Clora seconded to approve the minutes from the March 2nd Board of Trustees meeting. 3 Board members voted in favor, 2 abstentions due to the fact that they did not attend the meeting. Motion passed. Karen moved and Clora seconded to approve the minutes from the April 13th Board of Trustees meeting. 4 Board members voted in favor, 1 abstention. Motion passed.
● Ari moved and Clora seconded to open the Public Hearing on a local law amending articles V, VI & IX of the zoning code with respect to nonconforming buildings and structures on nonconforming lots. All Board members voted in favor of opening the hearing. Wayne explained that this was a continuation on the matter from last meeting. The code was amended in 2000 to require special exception approval from the zoning board of appeals to build or alter any building or structure on the majority of lots in the village, both A and B zones. The special exception standards are very broad. If someone meets the required setbacks they still have to go to the ZBA and there seems to be no basis for refusal, so there is an overlay of review that is unnecessary. This proposal removes the requirement for special exception approval from the ZBA for properties that have met the minimum setbacks. Linda Adams requested clarification as to whether the new law would still allow for oversight by the ZBA for work that does not meet the setback; Patrick and Clora confirmed that you would still need ZBA approval. Clora explained that this new law seeks to create a less burdensome and bureaucratic, clearer, and more impartial code. Additional comments in opposition came from Kirk Ressler in a letter. Betsy asked for a motion to keep this public hearing open and adjourned for all purposes until June 8th so more people can be heard from. Patrick moved and Clora seconded the motion. 4 board members voted in favor, Karen opposed. Motion passed.
● Ari moved and Patrick seconded to open the Public Hearing on a local law amending the zoning law to add a new #6-616 with respect to setbacks for buildings, structures and impervious surfaces for waterfront properties. All Board members voted in favor to open the hearing. Betsy noted a letter from Marian Brownlie in opposition. Wayne explained that many of the waterfront properties in the village are nonconforming and that the village doesn’t have any wetland protection laws. Normally there is oversight by the DEC regarding setbacks and waterfront properties. But because of bulkheading and other aspects of many waterfront properties in the village, many of the properties fall out of the jurisdiction of the DEC. There are no existing village protections other than the existing set backs. Many communities require greater setbacks to protect the wetlands than the state requirements. This proposed law is taking a step towards consistency for wetland protections.
There were many comments from the public. Alfredo Paredes had a question about Marian’s letter. Wayne explained that the state will not assert jurisdiction with regard to bulkheaded property. Stuart Goldman asked what the village is looking to accomplish with this law. Clora explained that the village is looking to protect the water and the character of the village and is in line with all other waterfront municipalities, many of which have much more restrictive laws requiring double the setbacks we are proposing, she couldn’t find one municipality that didn’t already require at least a 75’ waterfront setback. Ari added that this is a part of “clean-up” because the village is “way behind” on this matter. Patrick voiced concern about minor issues (like steps to a dock or putting out deck chairs) that don’t negatively affect the water being prevented. Betsy stated that residents can always appeal to the ZBA. Stuart Goldman questioned the need for this law.
Lee Snead, Esq. (representing several village residents) asked which lots this law is addressing. Wayne answered that it applies to all waterfront. Mr. Snead stated that his clients have structures that, if this law passes, would be considered non-conforming. In the case of a fire, rebuilding would require approval by the ZBA as would the desire to expand an existing house. He brought up issues with septic systems and difficulties with systems that are below the water line, and he thinks the Suffolk County Health Dept (SCHD) should be the only regulating body for placement of septic systems. It is his contention that the ZBA should not have appellate authority over the SCDH. He said that other municipalities with more restrictive set back laws for waterfront properties generally have environmental protection departments that residents can go to for appeal, not a ZBA. He suggested that if the board is intent on changing the setback requirements, that it should not impact pre-existing structures. Clora commented that if a house within the setbacks is destroyed many municipalities won’t let you rebuild but Karen and Wayne pointed out that our code would allow you to reconstruct 100% in kind in the event a house or structure was destroyed. And if you want to expand you would be able to seek relief from the ZBA. Wayne explained how the proposed regulation is common in all the surrounding municipalities and that they do consult with professionals when it comes to the determination of environmental impacts. Patrick made a motion and Ari seconded to adjourn to the June 8th meeting and keep this public hearing open for all purposes. All Board members voted in favor.
● Clora made a motion and Karen seconded to open the Public Hearing on a local law amending the navigation, surface water use and mooring regulations of 2012 prohibiting transient anchoring and living on boats at docks. All Board members voted in favor to open the hearing. Wayne explained that this law is looking to create consistency between how the town and the village regulates anchoring and living on boats. Provisions were included to clarify where transient anchoring is permitted (implementing a map). Clora explained that the bay is the village’s most precious asset and the harbor has been deemed by the DEC as “impaired”. This law brings the village in line with SI town. The Village board wants to be proactive considering the uptick in boating activity in surrounding towns. Stuart Goldman questioned the need for the law. Wayne suggested keeping the hearing open. Karen made a motion and Ari seconded to adjourn until the June 8th meeting and keep open for all purposes. All Board members voted in favor.
● Ari made a motion and Clora seconded to open the Public Hearing on a local law amending on the construction law. All Board members voted in favor of opening the hearing. Betsy stated that VDH will commit to no village property maintenance during the proposed black-out dates/hours. Wayne noted that this was the 8th public hearing on this proposed law. It was his understanding that some want to keep it in its current form and some want to continue to modify it. The board is still considering further comments and further amendments. Wayne noted that this is a “hot topic” in other nearby municipalities (laws regarding use of gas-powered leaf blowers). Betsy asked if we should include a similar clause in the villages proposed law. There were many comments from the public. Eric and Stephanie Deutsch objected to banning gas powered leaf blowers. Brandon Rose commented that he is in support of getting something on the books now that summer is here. Stuart Goldman urged the board to adopt the law as is and continue to debate the additional issues in the future. Stephanie Deutsch wanted to go on record to say the board has done a great job of taking everything into consideration. Linda Adams said “Pass the law!” Karen asked the public if the consensus was to pass the law. All present said yes. Betsy suggested adjourning for all purposes to continue building consensus. Ari made a motion and Patrick seconded to adjourn for all purposes until the June 8th meeting and keep the hearing open. 4 votes in favor, 1 vote opposed. Motion passed.
● Patrick made a motion and Ari seconded to open old business. All Board members voted in favor. ● Treasurer’s Report: the village has hired East End Accounting Services to provide us with professional advice on financial reporting, bookkeeping, and state reporting requirements. Charlene Kagel, CPA, heads the firm and had her first day with us this week. It went very well.
a. Budget-to-Actual Year to Date Report was prepared by Charlene but was not not provided by Vicki in time for the meeting.
b. Patrick moved and Ari seconded to pass resolution to approve the abstract/bills to be paid. All Board members voted in favor.
● Update on Annual Budget for the fiscal year 2019/2020; discuss needed adjustments. Wayne explained that the board must wait until the fiscal year begins for that discussion. Patrick reported the budget has been approved and published. Karen commented that it’s fair to say that this year’s tax bill is nearly half of what it was last year. Clora added that in addition, the village has created reserve funds.
a. Resolution to move money into new accounts (happening in the next fiscal year when it begins).
● Ways and Means
a. State audit status. Have finished the field work and are now currently writing it. Best case it’s finished by the end of the year.
b. Nawrocki audit of 2017/18 fiscal year. Has been completed. Missing just a few dates.
Betsy pointed out that the report shows how the village expenses have gone down because of a decrease in lawsuits.
● Water update from Patrick: 18 meters have been installed. 17 left to install. 2 things: 1- if leaks exists, the meters will identify them. 2- the meters will show who is using the village water to fill pools and irrigate. Wells are being taxed by overuse (on average residents are using 300+ gallons per person on average as opposed to the typical 80/100 gallons). The stress tests done on the test wells passed with flying colors. The new well site should supply the village with good water for many years to come. Ari asked if the SCWA has been having any issues installing the meters. Patrick said yes but they are being resolved. There are at least 3 irrigations systems hooked up to the village water system and Patrick said that is going to be taken care of. It is going to take time for the village to switch over to the new wells. But Patrick said the SCWA reports that the current water quality is as good as it’s been since they have been monitoring it.
a. New well applications have been submitted to the DEC from SCWA
b. Metering update; resolution. Wayne explained 2 elements that have come up from SCWA work that need to be addressed by a resolution.: First, ensuring access to install the meters and the homeowners compliance with the work. Any landowners are obligated to give the village and their agents access for those purposes and to make sure that the SCWA has the authority to demand access. Second, 2nd connections or cross connections have been detected by the SCWA and are prohibited under current village law. Patrick moved and Ari seconded to approve the following resolution . All Board members voted in favor.
WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Article 11 of the New York State Village Law and Local Law No. 1 of 1989, the Board of Trustees, as Commissioners of the Village of Dering Harbor Water District, manage, maintain and operate a water distribution system for the benefit of the residents of the Village of Dering Harbor; and
WHEREAS, the Water District has installed a new water storage tank and is considering upgrades of water supply wells to improve the distribution of water to residents; and
WHEREAS, the Village has engaged the Suffolk County Water Authority (“SCWA”) on an interim basis to provide operational, management and consulting services to the Water District, including the daily water quality testing and reporting by a licensed Water Plant Operator, and
WHEREAS, it has been reported that the Village has been experiencing water quality issues with its water supply due to excessive volumes of water being pumped from its wells; and
WHEREAS, by resolution dated March 2, 2019, the Board of Trustees approved and authorized the SCWA to install individual water meters for each residence that is currently connected to the Village water distribution system; and
WHEREAS, §11-1112 of the New York State Village Law, expressly provides that a “member of the board or its authorized agents may at any time enter a building upon the premises where there is a supply pipe or pipes, and make necessary examinations or repairs”; and
WHEREAS, to assure that the extent of the current connections to the Village water supply distribution system and the proper installation of water meters it is imperative that the SCWA obtain access to certain buildings and premises; and
WHEREAS, the SCWA has been authorized to provide reasonable notice to landowners for the purpose of such inspections and to advise the Board of Trustees of any landowner that is refusing to comply; and
WHEREAS, the SCWA has recently inspected and inventoried the connections to Village water distribution system for most of the residences in the Village and need further access to ascertain the extent of the connections on other properties; and
WHEREAS, the SCWA’s recent inspections have revealed in some instances properties that maintain multiple connections or cross-connections that supply water to a sprinkler or irrigation system for the watering of lawns and landscaping; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to §2.2 of Local Law No. 1 of 1989, “no person or other entity shall utilize water for any purpose without having first obtained the permission of the Dering Harbor Water District, and such other County, State and Federal approvals as may pertain”; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to §2.12 of Local Law No. 1 of 1989, the “Village of Dering Harbor reserves the right to limit the use of water to human consumption and sanitary purposes”; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Local Law No. 1 of 2007, the Village of Dering Harbor found that the use of the Village’s water supply for the purpose of watering lawns, landscaping and other exterior uses will have a significant negative impact on the quality and quantity of the public water supply and therefore prohibited the use of the Village water distribution system and cross connections for sprinkler and irrigation systems; and
WHEREAS, due to deteriorated water conditions, the Board of Trustees by resolution dated May 12, 2018, adopted interim rules prohibiting the use of the Village water supply for the purpose of filling of swimming pools and lawn irrigation; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Article 11 of the New York State Village Law, the Board of Trustees may adopt such rules and regulations reasonably related to the conservation of the Village’s water supply and to suspend and terminate water service to a consumer on account of improper use; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees find that to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Village residents, and to conserve the water supply of the Village, it is necessary to suspend and terminate any and all multiple connections or cross-connections that supply water to a sprinkler or irrigation system for the watering of lawns and landscaping.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor in its capacities as Village Board and board of water commissioners, hereby adopt the following rules and regulations with respect to the use of the Village water supply distribution system:
1. In furtherance of the resolution dated March 2, 2019, related to the inspection of existing connections and the installation of water meters necessary for each residence currently connected to the Village water distribution system, the SCWA, as authorized agent of the Board of Trustees, is hereby authorized pursuant to §11-1112 of the New York State Village Law, to enter a building upon the premises where there is a supply pipe or pipes, and make necessary examinations or repairs. The SCWA shall provide reasonable notice, in writing, to the landowner and notify the Board of Trustees if a landowner fails to cooperate and provide such access. In the event, the landowner fails to cooperate and provide access to the premises for said inspection and installation of water meters, then upon written notice to the landowner by registered or certified mail at the address last set on the assessment records, the SCWA, upon authorization of the Board of Trustees, may suspend water service to the landowner. Such suspension may be lifted by the SCWA if and when they have obtained access to the premises.
2. In furtherance of the resolution of May 12, 2018, the use of the Village water supply for the filling of swimming pools hereby is prohibited.
3. The use of the Village’s water supply for the purpose of watering lawns, landscaping and other exterior uses is hereby prohibited and all existing connections and/or and cross connections between the Village water supply distribution system and any and all sprinkler and irrigation systems shall hereafter be disconnected. Upon ascertaining that a connection and/or and cross connection exists between the Village water supply distribution system and a sprinkler or irrigation system, the SCWA, on behalf of the Village, shall provide written notice to the landowner maintaining such a connection advising of the rules and regulations set forth in this resolution and that said connection or cross-connection shall be disconnected within twenty (20) days of the date of the notice. Such notice shall also advise the landowner that any sprinkler or irrigation system on the premises shall be connected to a private well in accordance with the provisions of Local Law No. 1 of 2007. The written notice shall be sent by registered or certified mail at the address last set on the assessment records. The SCWA shall have the authority to provide a reasonable extension of time to allow the landowner to make necessary connections of the sprinkler or irrigation system to a well.
c. Reminder that Village water is not to be used for filling or topping up pools. Residents must use a private well water or truck water in. ● Karen moved and Clora seconded to open new business. All Board members voted in favor.
● ZBA committee changes- Ken Walker and Bob Ruttenberg have resigned. Patrick moved and Ari seconded the resolution to accept the resignation of Bob Ruttenberg. All Board members voted in favor. Patrick moved and Karen seconded the resolution to accept the resignation of Ken Walker. All Board members voted in favor. Karen moved and Clora seconded the Resolution to appoint Meredith Jenkins to chairperson. All Board members voted in favor. Clora moved and Karen seconded the resolution to appoint Eric Deutch to fill Bob Ruttenberg’s seat. All Board members voted in favor. Clora moved and Karen seconded the resolution to appoint Devon Cross to fill Ken Walker’s position. All board members voted in favor.
● ARB working group- Clora announced that the board wants to strengthen and improve how the ARB functions. She invited any village resident interested in being a part of a working group to help clarify what the ARB does and the process and procedures it follows. The goal is to improve the application process.
● Deer Update: according to Beau Payne wrote Clora to say that the village is in a great position re: deer management and he noted that since the law was changed allowing for legal hunting “from an administrative perspective the change straightened out what could have been an unpleasant legal situation for the hunters and/or the administrators.” Moreover, 56 deer were culled, up 20% from two years ago. Clora commented that it is a really well-managed and safe program with no reported deer hunting related incidents last season.
● Election reminder: the election will be on June 18th. Voting hours are 12:00pm- 9:00pm. The poll inspectors will be Angela Corbet and Wade Badger. Betsy asked Vicki to work on getting the proposition on the ballot and absentee ballot procedure going.
● The next Trustees’ Meeting is June 8th at 9am. ● At 11:07am, Karen moved Ari seconded to go into Executive Session to discuss litigation and personnel matters. All Board members voted in favor.
● The board came out of Executive session at 1:00pm. Karen moved and Ari seconded to adjourn the meeting at 1:01pm. All Board members voted in favor.