Trustees’ Meeting Minutes – January 15, 2022

Village of Dering Harbor
Board of Trustees Meeting
January 15, 2022, 9:00 AM (via Zoom)

  • The meeting called to order at 9:04am
  • Attendance: Patrick Parcells (mayor), Trustees Karen Kelsey, Ari Benacerraf, Brad Goldfarb, Brandon Rose; Wayne Bruyn (village attorney), Vicki Shields (village clerk), Donna Ritzzmann (Timothy Hogue’s stenographer), Susan Dempsey (SI Reporter), Sam Ashner, James Goldman, Eric and Stepahnie Deutsch, George Birman, Maria Kempf, Susannah Rose, Melinda Carroll, Marian Brownlie, Mary Walker
  • A motion to accept the minutes from the December 11th meeting was made by Brad and seconded by Karen, with one change suggested by Brandon (his abstention from voting on last meeting’s minutes). Vicki made the change. All Board members voted in favor..
  • Acceptance of the minutes from the December 30th Special Meeting was tabled until the March meeting.
  • A motion to go into Executive Session at 9:07am to discuss litigation matters was made by Brad and seconded by Brandon. All Board members voted in favor.
  • A motion to reopen the general meeting at 10:47am was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
  • Old Business
    • Treasurer Report – Outstanding Bills Abstract. Karen had a question about the status of the audit that Cullen & Danowski is doing. Vicki gave an update and said they are 95% done and what they bill the village will not exceed the amount of the engagement letter ($7,000).
    1. A resolution to approve payments was made by Brad and seconded by Brandon. All Board members voted in favor.
  • There was no new litigation or legal update to discuss.
  • New Business
    • Announcements- in the interest of time, Patrick skipped this part of the agenda.
    • Demolition Permits- the trustees began discussing the possibility of a moratorium on demolition permits some months ago and Patrick wanted to get more public input on it. In the interest of time, he asked that people make their comments brief.
      • Devon Cross had questions about where the village is in the process. She asked if a recent application for demolition had prompted this conversation. Patrick and Wayne confirmed that no applications for demolition have been submitted but that the village anticipates that there may be applications in the future.
      • George Birman had sent an email and asked that it be made part of the record (see attached). He was glad to see it back on the agenda. Clearly it’s an important topic and thinks the board needs to move quickly to strengthen the village’s code around demolition.
      • Stephanie Deustch commented that she agrees with George and added that this topic was brought to the attention of the ARB well over a year ago. This is not a new topic in the village. It just hasn’t been moved on properly.
      • Maria Catsoulis Kempf, who recently sold her family’s property in the village (3 & 4 Sylvester Road), expressed concern that there’s nothing in place in the village to protect historic structures like her family’s home.
      • James Goldman commented that because of the technical difficulties that this meeting experienced, it made the meeting much longer than expected and many people had to leave. He also did not appreciate that this topic was added to the agenda last minute and thinks it really needs to be discussed in person, with ample opportunity for anyone in the village who wants to have an opportunity to speak. He then asked if the village has ever looked into whether the 2% money is available for the village to purchase historic properties for preservation purposes. Patrick said that he has looked into it and that those funds go directly to towns, not villages, and that there is not much in it reserved for villages. Wayne clarified that the “Community Preservation Fund” can be used to preserve historic properties. However, it would have to be a transaction between the landowner and the Town of Shelter Island and the landowner would need to be a willing seller.
      • George Birman and Eric Deutsch asked what will happen in the interim, if the village does receive an application for demolition. Wayne explained that this process is outlined in the village code, Chapter 230, section 49. Once an application for demolition is submitted, the building inspector must see if it meets the standards for issuance. Once he does, it requires two separate notices: one made to the Board of Trustees and the other to all neighbors within 250 feet at least 10 days prior to any demolition. Eric expressed concern over the process. Wayne and Patrick explained that there is a whole checklist of items that people must submit as part of their application. Devon asked if any of them include a Public Hearing. Wayne answered no.

Brandon Rose believes that based on his reading of the code, there’s more to the process, which the village can go into more detail about once there is an application.

Devon Cross added that she thinks a system should be put in place before an application is received and asked if demolition has happened in the village before. Patrick said yes but not in recent history. He said that what the village is taking up with the moratorium is aimed to address her concerns.

  • NYSEFC Drinking Water Facility Note- the village is now in the position to retire the short-term funding for the water tank and will be working over the next couple of months to get the long-term bond issued for EFC. Patrick will be working hard to make sure this happens before his term ends.
  • Village Hall Repair Review- Patrick asked Brad and Vicki to review the money that was paid out for the project matches what was in the contract.
  • Village Water District Leak Forgiveness- the Trustees act as water commissioners for the village water district and set the water fee structure a little over a year ago. It included a conservation rate to discourage people from using village water for irrigation. The Trustees deferred to the SCWA for its Leak Forgiveness Policy but it turns out it’s not as robust a policy as the village would like to have. Patrick looked for Leak Forgiveness policies from other districts and found that most do not have one or if they do, it doesn’t allow for much forgiveness. But all of them have a similar set of requirements in order to have a leak forgiven. Patrick suggested that in considering leak forgiveness, that those seeking forgiveness need to be able to show that the leak wasn’t caused by negligence, construction, property maintenance, etc.. That the homeowner acted promptly to repair the leak and from communication with the SCWA and Trustees, and that they acted responsibly in identifying, mitigating, and repairing the leak. This topic will be picked up at a later date when there is more time.
  • Harbor Lane Seasonal Closing- Ari said the village is looking at a possible seasonal closure of Harbor Lane for just motorized vehicles. There is a group of residents that have noted that there is a health and safety consideration related to the traffic there. He noted that this would not limit property owners or delivery vehicles from accessing their properties. This would be done with a minimum of inconvenience.

Bridgford Hunt commented that he disagrees with closing Harbor Lane at any time. He thinks it’s essential for emergency services and for the enjoyment of all of the villagers. He thinks there may be some tax implications in terms of land valuation and decrease in eligibility of state funding if the road is closed.

  • A motion to reopen the public hearing on Zoning – Permitted Uses: Driveways and Parking was made by Ari and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.

No comments from the public.

Wayne stated for the record that the board circulated revisions and recommended the board keep this public hearing open until their next meeting.

A motion to keep the meeting open and adjourn until the Trustees meeting on February 12th, 2022 was made by Brad and seconded by Brandon. All Board members voted in favor.

  • A motion to pass the following resolution related to the Moratorium on Demolition discussed earlier in the meeting was made by Brad and seconded by Brandon. 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 February 12, 2022 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 establishing a six (6) month moratorium on the demolition of buildings and structures.”

  • Date for next regular Trustee’s meeting – February 12th, 2022 at 9:00 am
  • A motion to adjourn at 11:19 was made by Ari and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.