Village of Dering Harbor
Trustees’ Meeting via Zoom
March 13, 2021, 9:00 AM
● The meeting was called to order at 9:02am
● Attendance- Mayor Patrick Parcells, Trustees Karen Kelsey, Clora Kelly, Ari Benacerraf, Brad Goldfarb, Vicki Shields (village clerk), Wayne Bruyn (village attorney), Donna Ritzzmann (stenographer from Flynn Stenography, present on behalf of Timothy Hogue), Susan Dempsey (Shelter Island Reporter), Marian Brownlie, Stephanie Deutsch, Albert D’Agostino, Bridgford Hunt, Kirk Ressler, John Colby, John Truelove
● Review and acceptance of the minutes were as follows:
a. Brad made a motion and Karen seconded to accept the minutes from the January 9th Trustees Meeting. All Board members voted in favor.
b. Brad made a motion and Ari seconded to accept the minutes from the January 29th Special Meeting. All Board members voted in favor.
c. Karen made a motion and Brad seconded to accept the minutes from the February 3rd Special Meeting. All Board members voted in favor.
d. Brad made a motion and Karen seconded to accept the minutes from the February 13th Special Meeting. All Board members voted in favor.
● Old Business
-Treasurer Report – Outstanding Bills Abstract
A resolution approving the abstract/bills to be paid was moved by Karen and seconded by Ari. All Board members voted in favor.
-Water Works- Patrick reported that starting Monday, the contractors will start reconfiguring the highway barn for the water treatment plant and will take 3 or 4 weeks. After that, the SCWA engineers will be able to do the setup and the new wells (barring some setback) will be online for the upcoming summer season.
-Litigation/Legal Update- no update from Wayne. Everything is still pending and there is no new litigation.
-Procurement Policy- needs to be updated and Wayne updated the existing policy to align with what the state requirements are. The Trustees needed more time to
review it. A resolution to adopt the updated version was tabled until the next meeting.
● New Business
a. A motion to open the Public Hearing – Local Law Amending Chapter 230 of the Zoning Code – Permitted/Prohibited Uses, Driveways and Off-street Parking was moved by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.
-Kirk Ressler asked Patrick to explain what is in the provision. Patrick gave a brief description. Mr. Ressler went on to explain a little history of discussions that had happened back in 2000 when he was on the ZBA when they revised the zoning code. It was a community wide discussion and it was agreed that the two noisiest areas for neighbors of a property were pools and driveways. It’s his recollection that it was generally agreed that parking should meet the same setbacks as buildings. He thinks it’s a very good idea to have setbacks on parking and that they should meet the same setbacks as buildings. He also does not think that green screening and hedges around parking areas should be mandated.
– Albert D’Agostino stood on the written comments he submitted via email to the clerk dated March 11, 2021 addressed to the board and that was made part of the record. Additionally, he reminded the trustees that when it comes to amending the zoning code, new permissive or prohibited uses cannot be applied to pre-existing uses on properties. Patrick thanks him for that and assured Mr. D’Agostino that the amendments are prospective.
-Stephanie Deutsch asked where the 10 foot setback proposal came from. To her, it doesn’t seem to make sense in the “A” zone where many of the lots are 3 acres. Patrick responded that it has to do with giving a property owner more options for where they can site their house and, therefore, their driveway and parking area. Karen and Clora agreed with Stephanie that this part of the provision doesn’t seem to apply to larger parcels. If the 50 foot setback is not feasible due to the topography of the site, then the property owner can appeal to the ZBA for a variance. Kirk Ressler agreed that relying on the ZBA in instances where homeowners cannot meet setbacks and would like to apply for a variance is a good thing.
-John Colby commented that he agrees with Stephanie and Kirk. He thinks when so many changes to the zoning code are proposed, a moratorium should be placed on any new applications while the village has a chance to review all of the proposed changes. He thinks these kinds of proposals should be discussed and changed during public work sessions. He also thinks the village should not be encouraging more parking and parking areas, but more green space. Patrick responded that a moratorium will not happen and these public hearings will be kept open so these proposals can continue to be discussed.
-Stephanie Deutsh officially stated that she thinks parking should stay within the building envelope and strongly disagrees with the idea that a property owner should be able to site their home wherever they want to maximize views.
-There was also a conversation about how best to keep residents abreast of proposed amendments to local laws when they are being discussed.
A motion to keep this public hearing open and adjourn to the April 10th, 2021 meeting was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
b. A motion to open the Public Hearing – Local Law Amending Section 230 of the Zoning Code – Definitions: Lot Lines, Yards and Lot Coverage was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.
-Bridgford Hunt submitted a letter dated March 5, 2021 which was entered into the record. Wayne addressed Bridg’s concern about the definition of “waterway” in the proposed legislation and suggested that the word “navigable” be added. Bridgford said that would satisfy his concerns and that his letter did not need to be read at the meeting.
-Albert D’Agostino commented that he is concerned about the previously laid out streets and their ramifications. His reading of the history of the village indicates this issue goes back 100 years with regard to previously laid out streets that appear on old maps.
-Kirk Ressler commented on an issue he had raised previously with Patrick. He is very concerned about the reduction of setbacks in certain areas. He doesn’t understand the need for it and why it’s being proposed. Wayne explained to Mr. Ressler the impetus behind this proposed amendment. He is most concerned about Dering Lane.
– Bridgford commented specifically on the minor street/major street setback portion. He is in favor of the smaller setback on the minor street.
A motion to keep this public hearing open and adjourn to the April 10th, 2021 meeting was made by Ari and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.
c. A motion to open the Public Hearing – Local Law Amending Chapter 180 – Trees and Vegetation was moved by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
-Kirk Ressler asked Patrick to explain the genesis of this law. Patrick gave a synopsis of why the trustees are proposing this law. Wayne provided some additional clarification.
-John Colby had a question about the tree diameter issue and what would happen if someone falsely accused a neighbor of cutting down a tree they weren’t supposed to. Patrick said there are provisions in this law that address that scenario. The law presumes people will follow the code.
-Kirk Ressler wonders if this law is really needed. Patrick explained that part of this law is about protecting old, stately trees in the village. The other part is ensuring property owners don’t clear-cut their property. Karen also explained the other impetus, which is to get rid of the “tree police” and replace that practice with standards that are more appropriate, that don’t deal with every sapling, and make the standards uniform for everyone.
-Stephanie Deustch had a process question. Who is managing the proposed clearing? Patrick explained that if it is an application for a new build, it would go through the ARB. Otherwise, it would come before the trustees.
A motion to keep this public hearing open and adjourn to the April 10th, 2021 meeting was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.
● Preliminary FY 2022 Budget was delivered to the village clerk earlier in the week. It had not been posted to the website yet but Vicki is planning to do it next week after this meeting. Copies of the budget will also be available at village hall and can also be sent via email. Last year the budget was about $255,555. This year tentatively it is about $249,905. It’s about a 2% reduction from last year. The village will also probably be rebating some money to taxpayers this year, related to money that is currently in the tax and contingency account. Overall, it looks like property taxes will be reduced by about 8%. However, these numbers are preliminary and are subject to change.
A motion for a resolution scheduling a Public Hearing on Saturday, April 10th, 2021 for the FY 2022 Tentative Budget was moved by Brad and seconded by Ari. All Board members voted in favor.
● The following resolution scheduling a Public Hearing for a Local Law authorizing a Property Tax Levy in excess of the authorized limit was moved by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor hereby directs that a public hearing shall be held on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. prevailing time, at the Dering Harbor Village Hall, Locust Point Road, Dering Harbor, New York, to hear any and all persons either for or against the following local law entitled: “Local Law authorizing a Property Tax Levy in excess of the limit established in General Municipal Law §3-c for Fiscal Year 2021”
● A resolution extending the Audit RFP response date to April 30th was moved by Brad and seconded by Ari. All Board members voted in favor.
● A resolution identifying Village Hall (23 Locust Point Road) as the polling place for this year’s election and 12pm – 9pm as the hours the polling place will be open was moved by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
● Presentation/discussion of ARB Design Principles to be recommended to the ARB for consideration. Clora started by giving an overview and background of what the village has been doing the last several years to develop the Design Guidelines. It has been a hugely collaborative effort. It was Alfredo’s suggestion that the village consult with an historical architect. Alfredo went on to explain the impetus for the development of the Design Principles, based on his experience on the ARB. It was clear to him that the ARB needed to give applicants clearer guidance. The Design Principles is something that can be given to people who are looking to build or renovate a home in the village that gives them a sense of what’s been here and would help them in planning a future home. The charter of the ARB is to protect the heritage of the village and these guidelines will help the ARB do that. Clora added that it’s not a strict set of rules. They want architects to retain creative space while clarifying what expectations the village has.
Devon Cross submitted a letter to the trustees, which was added to the record.
A motion to adopt the following resolution was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
WHEREAS, Article X of Chapter 230 Zoning of the Code of the Village of Dering Harbor was adopted to create an Architectural Review Board (“ARB”) for the purpose of preserving and promoting the character and appearances of residential buildings in the Village; and
WHEREAS, approximately 75% of the residential buildings in the Village were constructed as an eclectic ensemble of historical styles between the 1870s and mid 1930s giving the Village a unique historic character; and
WHEREAS, the identity of the Village is founded on its past, and the historic, architectural, cultural and natural resources of the community of the Village of Dering Harbor constitute its heritage; and
WHEREAS, as part of the criteria and standards in §230-65 of the Zoning Law the ARB is charged with maintaining the identity and heritage of the community in its decision making; and
WHEREAS, a statement of shared architectural design principles can have a positive impact on construction in the Village by facilitating decision making by the ARB, design professionals, and property owners; and
WHEREAS, a set of Design Principles for the Village has been developed by a Village Committee guided by Erika Franke, R.A., LEED, AP of Union Street Studio, LLC, which have been presented to the Board of Trustees; and
WHEREAS, §230-62 C of the Zoning Law of the Village of Dering Harbor provides that the ARB shall have the power from time to time to adopt, amend, and repeal rules and regulations not inconsistent with law or the provisions of the Zoning Code governing its procedures and the transaction of business, and for the purpose of carrying into effect the standards outlined in §230-65, such action to be taken after a duly noticed public hearing.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor hereby recommends that the Architectural Review Board consider adoption of Design Principles in accordance with the procedures set forth in §230-62 C of the Zoning Law.
● A motion to go into the Executive Session at 10:19am to discuss litigation matters was moved by Ari and seconded by Clora. All Board members voted in favor.
● The motion to reopen the meeting at 10:55am was made by Ari and seconded by Clora. All Board members voted in favor.
● A motion for the following resolution was made by Ari and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
WHEREAS, Martha Baker, the owner of 16 Harbor Lane shown as Lots 27, 29, 31, 33 & 35 on the subdivision map entitled “Map of Shelter Island Park filed in the office of the Clerk of Suffolk County Clerk on January 25, 1875 as Map No. 150, has claimed title to an approximately 17.5 foot wide portion of Dering Lane (formerly known as Aquebogue Avenue) that abuts the front lot line of her property on the south; and
WHEREAS, Martha Baker sought and obtained an Order and Judgment signed by the Honorable Joseph C. Pastoressa, J.S.C. on November 12, 2020 and entered on November 23, 2020 in the matter of Brad Goldfarb, Alfredo Paredes and Martha Baker v. Village of Dering Harbor, et.al, Supreme Court of the State of New York, Suffolk County, Index No. 21637/2015, which determined that the Village of Dering Harbor, no later than October 14, 1943, discontinued the strip of land abutting and south of the deeded front lot line of the Baker premises by filing the 1943 Amended Village Map, which narrowed Dering Lane to only 25 feet, and ordered the Village to adopt a formal resolution of discontinuance of the Baker southerly strip to Martha Baker pursuant to New York State Village Law §6-612; and
WHEREAS, by letter dated March 10, 2021, the attorneys for Martha Baker made demand for the Board of Trustees to adopt a resolution as ordered by the Court and included surveys prepared by Nathan Taft Corwin, last dated January 19, 2021, and a proposed deed with a legal description; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to New York State Village Law §6-614 the Board of Trustees may by resolution provide for discontinuing of a street in the village after due notice and a public hearing.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that pursuant to New York State Village Law §6-614 the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor hereby directs that a public hearing shall be held on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. prevailing time to hear any and all persons either for or against the adoption of a resolution discontinuing a portion of Dering Lane as described herein.
● The date for the next regular meeting is April 10th, 2021at 9:00am.
● A motion to adjourn at 10:57am was moved by Ari and seconded by Karen. AllBoard members voted in favor.