Trustees’ Special Meeting Minutes – February 12, 2022

Village of Dering Harbor
Trustees’ Special Meeting
Special Meeting Minutes
February 12, 2022, 9:00 AM (via Zoom)

● The meeting was called to order at 9:03am
● Attendance-

Patrick Parcells (mayor) Ari Benacerraf, Karen Kelsey, Brad Goldfarb, Brandon Rose, Vicki Shields (village clerk),
Wayne Bruyn (village attorney), Donna Ritzmann (Tim Hogue’s stenographer), Susan Dempsey (SI Reporter),
Sam Ashner, Kirk Ressler, Marian Brownlie, Christine Martin, James Goldman, Alfredo Paredes, Bridgford Hunt, Debra Nelson, Ted Nelson, George Birman, Eric Deutsch, Kevin Stuessi, Laura Robson, Charles Modica, Lisa Modica, Susannah Rose, Kay Lawson (representing Ken Tropin), Jon Colby, Meredith Jenkins, Matt Williamson

● Announcements- Patrick announced the date of this year’s village election, which will beheld on Friday, May 27th.
● A motion to go into Executive Session at 9:06am to discuss litigation matters was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
● A motion to come out of Executive Session at 10:38am was made by Brad and seconded by Ari. All Board members voted in favor.
● A motion to approve a resolution authorizing payment of the outstanding bills on the February abstract was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.
● A motion to approve GBCC’s tree pruning/removal application was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.
● A motion approving Joe’s Underground cable service application was made by Karen and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.
● A motion to open the Public Hearing of a Proposed Local Law establishing a six (6) month moratorium on the demolition of buildings and structures was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members present voted in favor.

Wayne started by summarizing the proposed local law. He also explained that the local law was referred to the Suffolk County Planning Commission (SCPC). To date the SCPS
had not responded and it was his understanding that it may be on their March 2nd agenda, which means that the Board will have to adjourn this public hearing.
Public Comments:

1. Devon Cross asked if there was anything discussed during the Executive Session that the Board wished to share to inform the discussion. Patrick explained that they came to no conclusion regarding the two litigation matters they discussed.
2. George Birman asked Wayne to provide another overview of the proposed law, which he did.
3. Sam Ashner asked about the exemption that is included in the law. Wayne explained that any moratorium must have a “relief valve” that the Board of Trustees can consider and the exemption is that relief valve. He explained that it is a standard moratorium.
4. Kirk Ressler wrote in the chat requesting that no action be taken on the public hearings and they be kept open for written comments since many people had to leave the meeting due to the length of the Executive Session.
5. Stephanie Deutsch asked about the role of the building inspector in the process of the proposed moratorium. Wayne clarified it for her by reading specific parts of the proposed law.
6. Kevin Steussi had a question about the relief in the law and his question was answered.
7. George Birman asked if 6 months is sufficient time to address the issue of demolition. In terms of the relief in the law, he is concerned about who determines whether a structure is beyond repair or not. He also does not think the $10,000 fine for violating the moratorium is sufficient. Wayne clarified the penalties that are laid out in the law, which go beyond the amount George mentioned. As for the length of the moratorium, 6 months is a placeholder and should the Trustees need more time and show just cause, the moratorium can be
8. Charles Modica asked how many structures, based on the criteria, would be subject to the moratorium. Stephanie answered 28, which includes village hall. He followed up asking if anyone has any knowledge of someone who currently wishes to demo a home in the village. Patrick and Vicki answered no, that the village had not received any further inquiries or requests for a demolition permit application. Based on those answers, Mr. Modica commented that he thinks the Trustees are putting themselves in a bad position by voting on this today. In his opinion, voting for a moratorium on demolition only days after a demolition has occurred creates an appearance of impropriety. He also commented that a historic designation lowers property values and that property owners whose homes meet the criteria of being affected by the moratorium should be given lower tax rates. Brad responded that he thinks there is potential for more demolition to happen in the village and given the poor quality of the law as it stands currently, something has to be done sooner rather than later.
9. Stephanie Deutsch pointed out the document refers to the “Design Guidelines” when it should read “Design Principles.” Wayne said he would make that change.
10. Rob Ferris thinks it’s urgent that the village implement the moratorium and wishes it could be all buildings but doesn’t want to see the process delayed. He thinks this will be a very useful moratorium in helping the village move forward.
Public comment period was closed.

A motion to adjourn the public hearing until March 12th or a special meeting date to be determined after the SCPC meeting on March 2nd was made by Ari and seconded by Brad. All Board members voted in favor.

● Patrick opened up the meeting to a discussion about the recent demolition of the residence at 4 Sylvester Road. Patrick gave some background regarding the events that transpired. Kay Lawson (representative for Ken Tropin) then spoke, sharing her take on what transpired. She acknowledged that the notice period was not followed by the applicant. Wayne gave further background on the process that was followed in issuing the permit, including the date the clerk received the request for a demolition permit and the effort that went into updating the demolition permit application before it was sent to the applicant. A very lengthy discussion followed, with many residents voicing their concerns about how everything transpired. The clerk, the mayor, and various trustees explained to residents that protocol was followed. Rob Ferris and Patrick acknowledged that this kind of public discussion would not have happened 10 years ago in the village and that indicates progress and transparency. For more detail of the discussion, refer to the portion of the Zoom recording starting at 1:00 and ending at 2:06.
● The Board considered whether an RFP for Professional Consulting Services to Develop an Historic Preservation Plan needed to be sent out. Brad asked for clarification on the requirement of the RFP. Wayne explained the reasoning behind it. There was a discussion among board members about whether the RFP was really necessary in this instance. The concern is that it is a cumbersome process that might not yield the best outcome. In the interest of keeping the process moving, it was decided that Brad would develop a scope of work with the help of Wayne, send it to the other board members for approval, and once it is agreed upon, send it out to consultants that Brad knows would be the best candidates for the job. All Board members agreed that this is the best course of action.
● A motion to reopen the Public Hearing/Adoption – A Local Law amending §§230-7, 230-8, 230-9 and 230-21 of the Zoning Code related to permitted/prohibited uses, interpretations and accessory driveways and off-street parking areas was made by Brad and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.
One public comment: Kirk Ressler asked that the public hearing be adjourned until the next meeting, since many people had to leave the meeting before the hearing was reopened.
A motion to keep the hearing open for all purposes and adjourn until the March 12th meeting was moved by Brad and seconded by Ari. All Board members voted in favor.
● Date for next regular Trustee’s meeting – March 12th, 2022 at 9:00 am
● A motion to adjourn at 1:02pm was made by Ari and seconded by Karen. All Board members voted in favor.