Village of Dering Harbor
Trustees’ Meeting VIA Zoom
June 12, 2021, 9:00 AM
● The meeting was called to order at 9:02am
● Attendance- Mayor Patrick Parcells, Trustees Karen Kelsey, Brad Goldfarb ; absent- Ari Benacerraf; Vicki Weslek (village clerk), Wayne Bruyn (village attorney), Donna Ritzzmann (stenographer from Flynn Stenography present on behalf of Timothy Hogue), Susan Dempsey (Shelter Island Reporter), Tim Bolger (Dan’s Papers) Brandon Rose, Marian Brownlie, Stephanie Deutsch, Eric Deutsch, James Goldman, Mary Walker, George Birman, Lisa Modica, Charles Modica
● A motion to accept the minutes from the May 8th meeting was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members present voted in favor.
● A motion to appoint Brandon Rose to fill Clora Kelly’s remaining trustee term, which expires June 30th, was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members present voted in favor.
○ Brandon was present in village hall and Vicki swore him in.
● Old Business
a. Vicki presented the Treasurer’s Report to the BOT prior to the meeting. No one had any questions.
b. A motion for a resolution approving the payment of the abstract/bills to be paid was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. 4 votes in favor, 1 abstention (Brandon). Motion passed.
c. Building Permit and ARB Fees Structure- There was a lengthy discussion about this topic and the proposed fee structure that Karen had been working on. In preparing it, she looked at the fee schedules from a number of nearby municipalities for reference (North Haven, Sagaponack, and Southampton). She explained that the goal is to develop fees that are fair, that cover all aspects of
construction, that reflect the costs associated with reviewing construction activities, and do not discourage people from applying for a permit because of unreasonably high fees. The proposed fee structure was sent to the ARB for their input, which was sent to the BOT for review. Karen highlighted what the originally proposed ARB fees were and what the ARB suggested in their draft.
Comments: Brad commented that he thinks the fees suggested by the ARB make sense, given the time involved in the process. He suggested someone from the ARB speak on the thought process that went into the fees they suggested. Stephanie Desutsch did so and mentioned that the suggested ARB fees are based on research they did of what other villages charge- Sag Harbor, Southampton, East Hampton, Tuxedo Park. She also mentioned that these other municipalities have a higher volume of applications, which covers their costs. The village has fewer applications and therefore needs slightly higher fees to cover costs.
Karen mentioned that she got an email from Mickey Kostow (a member of the ARB) who thinks $1000 for new construction is too high.
Patrick commented that he thinks the proposed ARB fees are too high. He thinks user fees make sense but they need to be appropriate for the village. The village doesn’t have the same overhead that other villages (with fully staffed building departments) have and therefore have very different costs. Much of the projected administrative and legal costs are covered in the budget.
In terms of $1000 for a 3rd pre submission conference, the ARB hopes people won’t feel the need for a 3rd conference- that 2 will be enough. It is their opinion that if anapplicant really feels the need to have a 3rd, they will be happy to pay the fee in order to schedule one. Patrick proposed new fees, based on the rationale that they can always be increased if they don’t cover costs- $500 for new construction, and $350 for habitable space, and he was ok with keeping the other fees the same. Stephanie thinks the village should do the opposite- start with higher fees and lower them if they are excessive. It’s her feeling that the village isn’t coming close to covering it’s expenses on applications that go before the ARB. Brandon commented that he doesn’t see a big difference between a $500 or a $1000 fee when the village may only see 2 or 3 new houses constructed in the near future. He suggests setting a fee that covers costs and also helps maintain a high quality of construction. Karen asked Wayne if it’s advisable for the ARB to have a set number of pre submission conferences spelled out in their policy. He said if that is something that the boards want to happen, it would be best to amend it in the code.
In terms of construction fees, Patrick commented that he thinks they are too high as well. Suggested the fee per square foot be cut in half to $1/sq. foot. Karen commented that $2/sq. foot is an average fee that most municipalities charge.
Charles Modica commented that as resident, who has been through a couple of projects at his property on 27 Harbor Lane, he would be fine with whatever fees the village deems appropriate. He also strongly advocates that Wayne (the village attorney) be in attendance of all village meetings in order to streamline the
building permit process as much as possible. Karen suggested postponing the discussion and taking it up at the July or August meeting.
George Birman asked if the part of the fee schedule regarding renovations could be amended while the other parts of the fee schedule continue to be hashed out.A motion to remove the $850 building permit fee from the fee schedule was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members present voted in favor.
● Litigation/Legal Update- Wayne reported some progress on the two cases challenging the living fence code amendment. Next step is oral arguments in the appellate division.
● New Business
○ Announcements- Karen updated the board regarding the audit. An engagement letter has been drafted, the dates changed, and things are moving along. Cullen & Danowski agreed to do the AUD.
○ Election Results- Brandon Rose was elected to the position of Trustee for a 2-year term and Ari Benaceraf won re-election to another term as Trustee.
○ The Organizational Meeting will be happening at the July meeting.
○ VDH Financial Condition- Patrick reported that the village’s fiscal condition is good. The village still has approximately $130,000 in reserves. The village’s cash position is about $220,000. Patrick suggested that at either the July or August meeting, the Trustees set up a reserve account for buildings. At some point, the village may want to build a new facility. The village can set up a “type” account and there is no restriction on what the village can spend it on.
● A motion to reopen the Public Hearing – Local Law Amending Chapter 230 of the Zoning Code – Permitted/Prohibited Uses, Driveways and Off-street Parking was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members present voted in favor.
Public Comments: Eric Deutsch asked what the motivation was for this change to the code. Wayne explained that the existing code doesn’t regulate driveways and parking areas enough. This amendment is meant to be clarification for what has been a procedure that has been occurring but in an inconsistent manner. Wayne was asked to identify the procedures that the village has employed in the past and incorporate them into the code so that these matters are handled more consistently. With respect to driveways, it’s clarification, standards and siting. This last version proposes that the siting of a new driveway be subject of ARB review, but that the expansion or modification of a driveway without relocation would not require ARB review. Off-street parking areas also needed clarification in order to be more consistently upheld and applied, making a distinction between the A and B zones. New off-street parking, and screening if necessary, would be subject to ARB review. There was a conversation about the function of the ZBA in this process and why it works or doesn’t work well. Stephanie Deutsch had several comments about different aspects of the proposed law and thinks it’s a bad idea in all respects, both as an ARB member and a resident. She also spoke about how the function of the ARB, especially in working with applicants to consider best placement of different proposed
structures, works well. Wayne suggested modifying this proposed law to allow ARB review of driveways and parking areas in all their forms, new and existing. Stephanie asked that parking areas be within the building envelope and that the ARB review siting and materials as well. There was a conversation about siting, whether the ARB has authority to review the siting of different structures, and Wayne explained the complexity of the issue. Patrick asked Wayne to make the changes to the proposed law based on what was discussed in the hearing and re-notice it. Patrick asked for a motion to close this public hearing and adjourn for all purposes until the July 12th meeting was moved by Brandon and seconded by Brad.
● Village Improvement Projects- The village is in the position to begin repair projects that need to happen and Brad has volunteered to organize the effort and get things moving. Some things on the list include fixing street lamps, repairing and painting the exterior of village hall. Patrick suggested that Brad send out an email to residents letting them know that these projects will be happening and ask for their input.
● Navigational Waters – Code Update Project – this is a continuation of an effort that started a couple of years ago regarding the bay constable’s role and authority to regulate activities in village waters and who regulates moorings beyond 500 feet. Brad and Ari have agreed to work on this.
● Water Update- Patrick reported that SCWA has made a temporary fix to well #1 and it is working ok. Well #2 is holding up ok even though it is being used more than the SCWA likes. Chlorides have not exceeded 75 ppm all summer, which is really good. The water treatment building is nearing completion and there is a plan for a hydropneumatic tank to be installed in the next year, as required by the health department. It is going inside the building, as opposed to outside, and is going to improve water pressure in the village. It is also going to allow the SCWA to use the full height of the water tank, as opposed to only a portion of it.
● Buildings Reserve Fund will be set up in the next couple of months, once there is a clearer idea of what improvements will be made in the village.
● 9A Yoco Road Easement- On September 18th, the village must close out the short-term funding agreement from NYS Environmental Facilities corporation, which has been on hold because of the issue of the tank foundation encroaching onto 9A Yoco Road. The ownership issue needs to be resolved before the village can issue a long-term bond. The village does have an agreement in principle with the property owner, who has been very gracious in the process, and should be resolved in the very near future.
● A motion to go into Executive Session at 11:45 to discuss litigation matters was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members present voted in favor.
● The meeting was called back into session at 12:18pm.
● The date for the next regular Trustee’s meeting is July 10, 2021 at 9:00 am.
● A motion to adjourn at 12:19pm was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members present voted in favor.