Trustees’ Meeting Minutes – November 12, 2022

Village of Dering Harbor
Trustees Meeting Minutes
November 12, 2022

9:00 AM 

  • The meeting was called to order at 9:03am
  • Attendance- Karen Kelsey (mayor), Brad Goldfarb, Ari Benacerraf, Brandon Rose, Samuel Ashner; Wayne Bruyn (village attorney), Vicki Shields (village clerk), Donna Rittzmann (stenographer), Susan Dempsey (S.I. Reporter), Mary Walker, John Colby, George Birman, Patrick Gubert
  • A motion to accept the minutes from the September 10th meeting was made by Brad and seconded by Sam, 4 in favor, 1 abstain (Brandon)
  • Treasurer’s Report- A resolution to authorize payment of the outstanding bills on the abstract was moved by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members voted in favor.
  • Continuation of Public Hearing- Public Hearing on a local law amending 230-67 to clarify the time for ARB review, time limit and extension of approval.

Public Comments

Patrick Parcells asked a question. If ARB approval is granted to an applicant for a specific property and property ownership changes hands, does that approval transfer? Karen said yes, if they use exactly the same plans that were approved.

A resolution to close the public hearing was moved by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members voted in favor.

Wayne said this law was deemed a matter of local determination from SCPC.

Brandon commented that he’s in favor of this law but that in considering this law, he still questions the overall process if the BOT shouldn’t be looking further into what is required with an application. Karen responded that it’s a good point but that is not related to this law. Brandon said he understands that this law does not address that specifically and that it’s just about the timeline. Sam commented that he thinks this law strengthens the process.

A resolution to adopt the following Local Law was moved by Ari and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.


A LOCAL LAW amending §230-62 and §230-67 to clarify the time in which the Architectural Review Board must act, time limit and extension of approval.

BE IT ENACTED by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor as follows: 

SECTION 1.  Amendment.  Section 230-62 the Zoning Code is amended by deleting strikethrough words and adding underlined words as follows:

  • 230-62. Meetings of the Architectural Review Board shall be held at the call of the chairperson and at such other times as the board shall determine. The board may hold a public hearing when it deems the same to be in the public interest.  Such public hearing shall be held within seventy-five (75) days of the referral by the Building Inspector.  Notice of the hearing shall be given by publication in the official paper of the Village of Dering Harbor one time not less than ten (10) days before the date of the hearing, and by requiring the applicant to mail written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing, and a summary of the purpose of the application, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to every property owner, as shown on the current Village of Dering Harbor assessment rolls, of parcels within two hundred fifty (250) feet of the property which is the subject of the application, proof of which shall be submitted to the Board on or before the commencement of the public hearing in the form of an affidavit with postal receipts annexed thereto confirming mailing of said notices at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing date.  The failure of the notice to be published in the newspaper or the applicant to provide the required proof of mailing shall require the Board to adjourn the public hearing and cause the public hearing to be re-noticed.

SECTION 2.  Amendment.  Section 230-67 the Zoning Code is amended by deleting strikethrough words and adding underlined words as follows:

  • 230-67. Effect of disapproval or failure to act, time limit and extension of approval.
  1. The Building Inspector shall refuse any building application disapproved as provided in §230-65.
  2. If the Architectural Review Board shall fail to approve or disapprove any application referred to it under §230-64 within 60 days of the date of referral of such application to it, the application shall be considered to have been approved unless the applicant shall have agreed to an extension of time. Within seventy-five (75) days of the conclusion of the public hearing or, if none was held, within seventy-five (75) days of the referral from the Building Inspector determining the application to be complete for review, the Architectural Review Board shall determine whether the application complies with the purposes and specifications of the Zoning Code and shall so inform the Building Inspector and Village Clerk and the applicant, in writing, of its approval, approval with modifications, or disapproval.  This seventy-five (75) day period may be extended by the Architectural Review Board upon the written consent of the applicant.  Failure by the Architectural Review Board to hold the public hearing or render such decision within the time periods set forth herein shall be deemed an approval by default of the application.  In the event a default approval is demanded by the applicant, the Building Inspector may issue the building permit provided it is demonstrated that the Architectural Review Board did in fact default as provided hereunder.
  3. The approval of the Architectural Review Board shall expire within one-hundred-twenty (120) days of the date the resolution approving the application was adopted by the Architectural Review Board unless a building permit has been issued. Extension of such approval and the time to file for a building permit may be granted by the Architectural Review Board for one additional ninety (90) day period, provided the applicant (i) requests an extension at least thirty (30) days prior to expiration of the approval, (ii) pays all applicable extension fees in an amount set by the Board of Trustees from time to time by resolution, and (iii) provides a reasonable explanation for the delay in processing the building permit application. A new application shall be made if the approval of the Architectural Review Board or the building permit has expired.

SECTION 3.  Authority.  The proposed local law is enacted pursuant to Village Law §7-712, et. seq. as well as Municipal Home Rule Law §§10(1)(i) and 10(2). 

SECTION 4.  Severability.  If any section or subsection, paragraph, clause, phrase, or provision of this law shall be adjudged invalid or held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, any judgment made thereby shall not affect the validity of this law as a whole, or any part thereof other than the part or provision so adjudged to be invalid or unconstitutional. 

SECTION 5.  Effective Date.  This local law shall take effect upon filing with the Secretary of State pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law.

  • New Business
    1. Tree Removals/Clearing- Karen spoke to Chris Johnson about scheduled clearing and tree removal this fall and winter.
    2. Building Inspector Referrals- Karen asked people to please contact Vicki (the village clerk) and Brett Poleshuk (the new building inspector) via their village dedicated email addresses and to not contact Brett at his town office, email, or phone.
    3. A motion to approve a Tree Removal Application for 16 Harbor Lane was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members voted in favor.
    4. Adding an Emergency Tree Removal Procedure to the current Tree law was discussed. As it stands now, it is difficult to do. Karen asked Wayne if they need to amend the code. He answered yes. Emergency provisions could be incorporated into the code and define what an emergency is. It would give the mayor or another dedicated board member the opportunity to authorize removal. Karen suggested vesting the ability to approve it in any member of the board. Sam said he is strongly in favor of this, especially in the winter when it can be more difficult to get a quorum for a Special Meeting. Brandon also said he is in favor, as long as there are limits. In order to amend the code, a public hearing would need to be scheduled. John Colby recalled what used to be done. Susan Dempsey asked about the penalty if a tree is removed illegally, which Karen said is another thing the BOT needs to look at. Karen explained what is currently in the code and that the fine is up to $5,000. Sam explained that the BOT wants to be able to address Emergency Tree Removal more quickly and eliminate a homeowner possibly facing a fine because they chose to take down a tree that was threatening their home and the approval process wasn’t expeditious enough. A Tree Removal Application would still need to be filled out. Brad asked if the application is available on the website. Vicki said no but that she is working on it. She said in the meantime she could send an email to all residents with the application. Brandon asked if the notary signature could be removed. Wayne said yes and said he would review with Vicki.
    5. Birman Land Acquisition Proposal- Karen gave background on this request received from George Birman. She explained that a Public Hearing needs to be scheduled. Karen asked George if he wanted to say anything and he did. He gave a background on the situation with his property and the adjacent property and where they historically park and what was agreed to with the previous owner. They have spoken to Kim Dempster (their neighbor) and she has agreed to reconfigure the space. George said he had also spoken to Bob Ruttenberg (whose children own the adjacent vacant lot) and said Bob is ok with what is being proposed. George had not had a chance to speak to Mr. Ruttenberg’s children.

Brandon said he spoke to Mr. Ruttenberg, who asked him to go on record to say that he is opposed to anything that would restrict his access to his children’s land.

Bridg Hunt commented as an adjoining neighbor. He doesn’t disagree that there is a parking issue but he is not in favor of transferring the land. He would propose an alternative solution to the problem, which would be to permit off-street parking on South Street. He thinks that would be a better way to solve this problem.

George Birman said that it was his understanding from Linda Adams (the former owner of his property and a former trustee) that there was a discussion about this many years ago and the village did, at some point, allow parking on South Street. He also spoke directly to Bridg Hunt regarding his comments.

Sam asked Wayne exactly what the process is. Wayne explained that the request is for a discontinuance of the very end of South Street because allegedly it has not been paved or properly maintained by the village. A Public Hearing must be scheduled where all the members of the public could comment. Brandon asked if this involves the Planning Board. Wayne said no and he explained the “discontinuance” process.

A motion to schedule a Public Hearing for Saturday, December 10th to hear any and all persons either for or against the discontinuance of a portion of South Street adjacent to property of Birman and Gubert was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members voted in favor.

  • Old Business

a. Ethics Training Recap- November 4th, 2022- it went well.

b. Village Infrastructure Improvements- Cleaning Catch Basins. A motion to approve the following resolution was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members voted in favor.

RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor hereby approves the proposal of the Town of Shelter Island Highway Department, as a preferred municipal provider, to operate its Vac Con Truck to clean the drainage catch basins along Village streets over a 1-2 day period at a rate of $2,320.00 per day, and the Mayor is authorized to execute any instrument necessary to engage the services of the Town.

c. Nov 19th Meeting- Historic Guidelines Discussion- Vicki shared details about where the meeting will be held and that an email with a Zoom link will be sent out on Monday.

Karen gave some background on the issue and read from the September minutes, recounting what the Trustees heard discussed at the ARB meeting that was held on September 2nd.

Brad agreed that the minutes from that meeting were a useful recap of what was discussed.

Sam commented that the one thing that he thinks is great about this process is that everyone has different views and that BOT will get good feedback on November 19th. Maybe the document will be 3 pages long or 30 pages long and he looks forward to the meeting.

Ari commented that he is aligned with the process they are going through.

Brandon commented that he questions some of the comments that were read. He doesn’t agree that an overwhelming majority of village residents wanted the BOT to engage in this process. He thinks it was more of a vocal minority and thinks that if you were to ask village residents today, most people don’t miss the house that was demolished in February and have enjoyed seeing what is being put in its place. There was a discussion of what has happened since March. Brandon said that there is a majority of people in the village that is looking more closely at this now and speaking up. He referenced the letter that was sent to the Trustees, dated November 8th, signed by many village residents. That letter was subsequently labeled “unproductive,” which Brandon said was received as being dismissive.

Ari asked Brandon to wait for more input before voting and stated that he thinks it’s the Trustees’ job to listen. He thinks there should be a proper discussion on November 19th.

Sam added that he recalls the Zoom meeting in March about the demolition that occurred and how many people were outraged by the process.

  • Legal/Litigation Update- no new litigation. The article 78 regarding Mr. Hogue’s parking lot is proceeding . Wayne is hopeful that the court will uphold the ZBA’s decision. He anticipates that the decision will come down in about a year.
  • Executive Session – Litigation- No need for executive session.
  • Date for next regular Trustees meeting- December 10th, 2022 and a Special Meeting on Saturday, November 19th.
  • Karen read a water report from Joe Pokorny from SCWA. The water quality has remained excellent over the past year, with low nitrates and very little iron. Chlorides and contaminants of concern in both of the new wells well below what is allowable and have been stable. None of the newly regulated PFAAS or other compounds have been detected that have shown up in the surrounding mainland areas.
  • A motion to adjourn at 10:05 am was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members voted in favor.