Trustees’ Meeting Minutes – September 10, 2022

Village of Dering Harbor
Trustees Meeting Minutes
September 10, 2022

9:00 AM

  • The meeting was called to order at 9:01am.
  • Attendance- Karen Kelsey (mayor), Brad Goldfarb, Ari Benacerraf, Sam Ashner; absent- Brandon Rose; Wayne Bruyn (village attorney), Vicki Shields (village clerk), Donna Ritzmann (Tim Hogue’s stenographer) Eric and Stephanie Deutsch, Patrick Parcells, Rob Ferris.
  • A motion to accept the minutes from the August 13, 2022 meeting was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members present voted in favor.
  • A motion for a resolution to authorize payment to approve payment of the outstanding bills abstract was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members present voted in favor.
  • Continuation of Public Hearing- Local Law to extend moratorium on demolition.

Wayne commented that the SCPC deemed this a matter of local determination. They requested a status report by November 25th.

Public Comments:

Patrick Parcells asked how long the moratorium would be extended and if it needs to go back to the county. Karen said six months and that they had already heard back from the county.

A motion to close the public hearing was made by Ari and seconded by Brad. All Board members present voted in favor

A motion to adopt the following local law was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members present voted in favor.


WHEREAS, Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor have proposed a Local Law extending the moratorium on the demolition of buildings and structures established under Local No. 1 of 2022 for an additional 180 days; and

WHEREAS, a public hearing was held on August 13, 2022 and September 10, 2022; and

WHEREAS, by resolution dated August 25, 2022, the Suffolk County Planning Commission considered the matter for local determination, and

WHEREAS, the adoption of said local law is considered to be a Type II action under 6 NYCRR §617.5(c)(36), SEQRA and will not have a significant adverse impact upon the environment;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Local Law No. 6 of 2022 is hereby adopted as follows:


A LOCAL LAW Local Law extending the moratorium on the demolition of buildings and structures established under Local No. 1 of 2022 for an additional 180 days.

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

SECTION 1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT.  By Local Law No.1 of 2022, adopted on March 12, 2022, and filed with the Secretary of State on March 16, 2022, the Board of Trustees moratorium on the demolition or alteration of existing buildings or structures and the issuance of a building permit or demolition permit and related review by the ZBA or ARB.  Under Section 3 of the Local Law, the time period for the moratorium is 180 days from the effective date of the local law, which means the moratorium will expire on September 12, 2022.  In April, 2022, the Board of Trustees retained the services of Patrick Ahearn, FAIA, who specializes in historic preservation and creating classic American architecture designed for contemporary living.  Mr. Ahearn is tasked with the responsibility of facilitating public participation in the development of a vision, priorities and goals for design guidelines and drafting proposed standards for the review of historic buildings and structures and new construction in the Village of Dering Harbor.  This effort includes a review of the Design Principles and, if necessary, an update of the inventory and analysis of the historic and architectural significance of existing buildings and structures in the Village, consultation with the Village officials, including the Architectural Review Board; communication and outreach with community members; and production of recommendations of alternatives to the current laws, rules and regulations for the preservation of historic buildings and structures.  Mr. Ahearn has commenced review of the existing regulations and coordinated a community meeting and tour of the Village on June 4, 2022.  Mr. Ahearn has provided the Village with a timeline for the production of draft recommendations for the Board of Trustees internal review in August, 2022.  Thereafter, it is anticipated that Mr. Ahearn’s recommendations will be presented to the community for input, which may take 1-2 months.  Thereafter, drafting of any necessary code amendments, referrals to advisory agencies and formal public hearings will take place.  Given the timeline proposed by Mr. Ahearn, the Board of Trustees believe that it is reasonably necessary to assure that the demolition or alteration of existing buildings or structures does not change the status quo during the pendency of this study, and that an additional 1-2 months may be needed to assure that residents have ample opportunity to express their concerns and recommendations before changes are made to the code.  Accordingly, it is the intent of this local law to extend the moratorium on the demolition of buildings and structures established under Local No. 1 of 2022 for an additional 180 days.

SECTION 2.  AMENDMENT.  The time period in Section 3 of Local Law No.  of 2022 shall be extended for any additional period of one-hundred eighty (180) days from the effective date hereof.  This moratorium shall automatically expire at the end of the term stated herein, unless extended by the adoption of a local law by the Village Board amending this term.

SECTION 3.  All other terms and conditions of Local Law No. 1 of 2022 shall remain in full force in effect during the term of this extension.

SECTION 4.  AUTHORITY.  The proposed local law is enacted pursuant to Village Law §7-712, Municipal Home Rule Law §§10(1)(i), 10(1)(ii)(a)(11), 10(1)(ii)(a)(12), and 10(1)(ii)(e)(3), and expressly supersedes all applicable provisions of Chapter 230 (Zoning) of the Code of the Village of Dering Harbor to review and approve applications for building permits and/or demolition permits under Article VII, review by the Board of Appeals under §230-9B or Article VIII, or  review by the Architectural Review Board under Article X of the Zoning Code of the Village of Dering Harbor.

SECTION 5.  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 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  This local law shall take effect upon filing with the Secretary of State pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Village Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to publish the following Notice of Adoption:


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that after public hearing was held on August 13, 2022 and September 10, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor at their meeting of September 10, 2022 adopted LOCAL LAW NO. 6 OF 2022 as follows:  “A LOCAL LAW Local Law extending the moratorium on the demolition of buildings and structures established under Local No. 1 of 2022 for an additional 180 days.”

A copy of the proposed law, sponsored by the entire Board of Trustees, is on file in the Village Hall, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, or by appointment, and on the Village’s website.

                                                                 VILLAGE OF DERING HARBOR, NEW YORK

  • A motion to open the Public Hearing on a local law amending 230-67 to clarify the time for ARB review, time limit and extension of approval was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members present voted in favor.

Karen asked Wayne to give a synopsis of this proposed law. He said this has been discussed by the board before. The way Sec 230-67 is currently written has raised confusion. This proposed law is intended to clarify by stating that the ARB has 60 days from the date a public hearing is closed to take an action. This law would also put a time limit (120 days) on how long an ARB approval is valid. He confirmed that the village had yet to hear back from the SCPC on this matter.

Public comments:

    1. Stephanie Deutsch asked Wayne what happens when hearings are adjourned. Wayne explained that the clock on a matter only starts running after a public hearing is closed. She asked how long after an application is referred to the ARB does the ARB need to review the application. Wayne said 60 days from the time it was referred by the building inspector.
    2. Patrick Parcells asked about the 120 day approval period. He asked what has to happen in those 120 days. Do they have to get a building permit? Wayne said yes. Patrick asked if a building permit is transferable to a new owner. Wayne said yes. He followed up asking if people can market their property as such. Wayne said yes. Such marketing cannot be prevented. Wayne explained one of the things the village would want to know is does the new owner have the authority to use the same plans the previous owner had gotten approval for. Secondly, is the contractor list and their proof of insurance still intact. Wayne said the village could create a fee for a transfer of permit. The village should at least have a form that gives the new owner authority to use the same plans as the previous landowner.
    3. Karen asked about a scenario in which a hearing is scheduled but the applicant cannot attend. If an applicant wants to adjourn a hearing, that adjournment is on the applicant, not the village.
    4. Rob Ferris asked if an owner’s agent could ask for an adjournment. Wayne explained that anyone can appear on behalf of the applicant as long as they have been authorized to do so by the applicant. It was suggested to extend the time period for scheduling hearings and rendering a decision to 75 days. Wayne explained that the timelines that are suggested are maximums to protect the applicant.
    5. Ari asked under what circumstances would a building permit be extended. Wayne explained that it is the building inspector’s responsibility to determine if a permit can be extended. It is based on what is in the code. If nothing in the code has changed and everything is still intact, a permit can be extended. Karen listed a variety of reasons why people would want to extend a permit.
    6. Rob suggested that the village have the police power to address a situation if someone begins building a house and doesn’t complete it. Karen looked at the code under Nuisance and confirmed that this scenario is covered under the code.

A motion to keep the hearing open and adjourn until the October meeting was moved by Ari and seconded by Brad. All Board members present voted in favor

VII.       New Business

Special Event Parking request Sec 230-8: Sam Ashner for 9/18 from 11am-4pm at Village hall. A motion to approve was made by Brad and seconded by Ari. 3 votes in favor, 1 recusal (Sam)

Village Infrastructure Improvements- Rob Ferris met with Brian Sherman (SI Highway Superintendent) and presented the board with a map marked up with the location of 16 existing storm drains and 2 catch basins. The plan is to change the covers of the catch basins and look into if they need to be changed to storm drains. Map also indicates locations of fire hydrants. The storm drains are important to public safety and the aquifer. It’s important to return the water back to the ground as soon as possible. Will also extend the life of the roads. Rob explained that the following steps that need to be taken:

      1. Covers need to be taken off all storm drains and catch basins and cleaned. The town has a truck they can use to do this in 2 days. It will cost approximately $5,000.
      2. Repairing 2 drains (1 on Nicolls and 1 on Sylvester) that need to be replaced with “10 footer”.
      3. (3) areas that need to be urgently addressed:

-Nicoll Road/Sylvester Road bluff- needs an additional 2 drains.
– intersection of Yoco Road and Harbor Lane. Rob described what they want to do to address the problem there. A French drain may be an option.
-flooding at Julia Dodd Creek. Has a number from Chris Johnson to regrade and reseed the berms around the existing storm drains.

      1. Keep covers clear by having Chris Johnson’s crew blow leaves off covers on a regular basis and develop a schedule of regular cleaning of the storm drains.

Also talked about the flooding that occurs on Dinah Rock Road. He is discussing with GBCC about what they plan to do to address the flooding. Otherwise, the village may need to install two new drains in that area.

Ari asked Rob if he has gotten approval from village residents to do this work. He said he was waiting until he got approval from the Trustees before talking to residents. They also need to have these areas surveyed to see if the work that needs to be done is on village property versus private property.

First year request for funds is about $35,000-$40,000. Most would be spent in this fiscal year, with the balance spent in the next fiscal year, which would be for the annual check-up/cleaning of drains. 5 new storm drains installed is estimated to cost $25,000. Removal of berms, regrading and putting posts up along Julia Dodd Creek is estimated to cost $2,500. Next year’s cleanout is estimated to cost around $3,000.

Patrick Parcells commented that he thinks that cleaning all the drains first will help inform what happens next. He recalled talking to former town highway superintendent Mark Ketcham about the drain at Yoco Road/ Harbor Lane and that he said it’s just so low, that the only way to move that water is to pump it out. He also gave a detailed background on the runoff problem on Nicoll Road. An old pipe that was used to allow the water to flow out was covered. They tried to address the problem with a dry well but with big rain events, it is insufficient. Rob spoke to an engineer who is very familiar with the site and explained what the village needs to address the problem.

Eric Deutsch said that he agrees with Patrick that water management needs to be an ongoing project and asked Rob if they looked at the bottom of Dering Woods Road and Dering Woods Lane, which he thinks is another problem area in the village. Rob said that they looked at it and they identified that the road at the bottom of Dering Woods Lane is starting to bubble and degrade. Rob is hoping that where needed, the road will be ground down a bit before replacing the covers.

Karen commented that these are things the village needs to do and that the clean out should be approved immediately. She asked Rob to work up a list of priorities, a timeline and a budget to accommodate the timeline. There was a discussion on how to address this in the budget. Rob said the prices the village has received from the town are good for the next year.

A motion for a resolution authorizing the expenditure of up to $5000 for clean out of the storm drains throughout the Village of Dering Harbor was moved by Ari and seconded by Sam. All Board members present voted in favor.

Discussion of revised Fee Schedule. Karen had sent out the current fee schedule, a proposed fee schedule, and examples of other municipalities fee schedules. She recalled having looked at this last year as a board. Sam commented that she thinks the proposed fee schedule is more clear. He asked how many pre submission conferences people get free before there is a fee. It was agreed that a fee for more than 3 pre submission conferences needs to be set by the Trustees and should not be at the discretion of the ARB. Vicki pointed out that the fee for renewing a building permit is listed in the code as being half of the original permit. A discussion ensued on whether this is advisable. Karen suggested modifying the fee schedule and moving forward, look at the operating expenses for the next year and see if the fee schedule needs to be further modified because the village is overcharging or undercharging.

A resolution to approve the draft of the fee schedule, with the addition of $1000 charge for each additional pre submission conference after the first 3, was moved by Sam and seconded by Ari. All Board members present voted in favor.

Discussion of Ahearn Draft- Brad said the ARB had a productive meeting last week discussing the draft. He clarified that the ARB took on the role of the Historic Preservation Committee that is referenced in the draft. At minimum, whatever comes out of this process would ideally be folded into the current Design Guidelines. It’s a process of enhancing that document to make it more complete and user friendly. If the Trustees decide that changes to the code need to be made, they will use this draft as a guide.

Trustees comments:

  1. Sam commented that he thinks there has been a lot of constructive feedback and that the meeting of the ARB to discuss the draft was productive. He thinks it’s clear that it’s very much a working draft and that it’s a menu of options that the village can pick and choose from.
  2. Karen commented that having been at the meeting, she heard a lot of consensu. Many people want specific materials delineated and a checklist so that when an applicant comes before the ARB, they know what they need to submit. Generally people did not think the village should have an historic district but there should be protection for buildings that are, through the Design Guidelines, deemed historic. Also clear, specific guidelines for new construction, as well as guidelines for renovations of buildings that are not considered historic.
  3. Ari said he heard the same things as Karen at the meeting.

Wayne added some observations. He heard the desire for there to be more of a connection between the current Design Principles document and the Patrick Ahearn draft. Also, people want to have clear and concise guidelines, both for new build and preservation. He explained that the village was at a crossroads of trying to determine the overall purpose of this process and how to achieve it. Guidelines are one thing. Regulations to accompany those guidelines, and whether the village has that authority, is another. The path to that kind of regulation is historic preservation and that is the path that Patrick Ahearn’s draft lays out. Whether you call it a Historic District or Historic District Overly, the process is the same. Clearly the document Patrick Ahearn prepared needs to be more reflective of what the village wants. In terms of procedure, Wayne suggested that representatives from the village should sit down with Patrick to have that discussion.

Public Comments:

  1. Patrick Parcells asked if a decision has been made regarding whether or not the village, or some areas of the village, are going to be designated an Historic District. It seems to him that it would be easier to know whether or not the village is going to designate some sort of Historic Designation so that they know which direction they are headed. Karen explained that it has not been decided yet. She said they need to hear from village residents to know if that is something they want to see happen. They want to get a lot of feedback from residents. Patrick asked what the aim of the process is. She said they are aiming at coming up with specific guidelines that will help residents understand what the ARB will approve and not approve.
  2. Eric Deutsch commented that by getting community feedback, the Trustees can find the points of alignment which will help shape the policy moving forward. He thinks that addresses Patrick’s concerns that village residents understand the impact of these decisions.

Karen asked Brad if he wants to appoint a committee. He likes the idea of a committee. He thinks it would be useful to have a committee look at all the feedback they have received, rework the document based on that feedback, then have a meeting with Patrick Ahearn to discuss the changes they would like to see. Then share that document with the rest of the community and have another community meeting with Patrick Ahearn. Wayne suggested a committee of no more than (3) people, the members of which are up to Brad.

  1. Building Inspector- George Butts has submitted his resignation. The village has a new agreement with a new building inspector, Brett Poleshuk, which Karen passed around to the Trustees. The plan is to sit down with Brett next week to go over what the process will be and some ground rules. George Butts has agreed to meet with Brett should he have any questions or need to be brought up to speed on anything.

A resolution accepting the resignation of George Butts was made by Sam and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.

A resolution authorizing the execution of the agreement with Brett Poleshuk and appoint him as Building Inspector and Stormwater manager was moved by Brad and seconded by Ari. All Board members present voted in favor.

VIII. Old Business

Ethics Training Update- Wayne had not heard back from the attorney on his availability.

Legal/Litigation Update- an outstanding litigation matter (John Colby’s challenge to the construction law) has been withdrawn.

An Executive Session was not needed.

Date for next regular Trustees meeting- October 15th, 2022

Before closing the Trustees circled back to infrastructure and expenditures that need to be made, Brad is concerned about the village gazebo and would like to make sure it is saved. Karen suggested it be put on the agenda for next month. Also, Karen explained that there is tree work that Chris Johnson plans on doing in the coming months. Sam thinks if there are trees on private property that are identified as dangerous, that those property owners should be notified. Wayne reminded the board that they also wanted to make sure all of the speed limit signs are clear and accurate. Stephanie Deutsch asked if there are any plans to continue fixing up village hall. Karen said it depends on the budget and asked Sam, as the Budget Officer, to look at that. Karen thinks fixing the walkway at village hall seems more important than the gazebo. But perhaps there is an opportunity for village residents to donate funds to a project, but it would not be tax deductible.

XII. A motion to adjourn at 11:15am was made by Brad and seconded by Sam. All Board members present voted in favor.