Technically speaking, NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) has been perceived as a pejorative — meaning that NIMBYs are people keen to keep unappealing developments (or people) out of their neighborhoods — things like affordable housing initiatives or hydrofracking, for example.
But, as we were reminded this week, NIMBYism can also have a positive connotation associated with it when the term is used to encourage people to get educated and active in protecting their communities.
Maybe it’s just human nature, but we all have a tendency to expect governmental agencies to step in and solve community issues for us — whether those issues are related to flooding, water quality standards, overdevelopment or even deer management.
And in this week and this space, it’s the latter we’re particularly interested in —specifically as it relates to the folks in North Haven.
The 10-person committee in North Haven charged with researching management of the deer herd and tick populations in the village for the last year will be weighing in with their findings next week.
Ultimately, there are two immediately effective options — one is culling the herd, the other is use of the 4-Poster feeding stations designed to reduce tick populations through application of a tickicide to the deer. While we think a combination of the two can be a winning strategy when it comes to reducing both the number of deer and disease-carrying ticks in the village, neither initiative can hope to succeed without active community support.
That means private property owners must be willing to allow hunters access to their lands and 4-Poster devices on their properties. Because neither initiative will be effective if used on public lands alone.
But it’s not just access North Haven will need from citizens. If this is truly to be a success, residents would also need to step in in terms of financing. The village is committed to spending resources on a plan as soon as possible, but deer management isn’t a line item budgeted for this year.
Over on Shelter Island, which had a very successful run with the 4-Poster system, a not-for-profit organization was created to collect donations used to offset the cost of the devices, feed and hiring of the expert to manage the devices. That same organization is also available to North Haven and for that residents should be grateful.
We’ve heard residents call for deer and tick relief, and quite frankly, those who come down firmly on one side or the other, will probably not be happy with a plan that combines the two. But we do think such a plan could be successful and to that end, success can’t be determined without accurate data. So Mayor Jeff Sander has also proposed implementation of a counting program in North Haven using dragging techniques to gather ticks, and he has suggested resident volunteers can learn and carry out the sampling. With several years of data, the village should be in a position to look at specific populations and learn what diseases they are carrying – an initiative that can only aid a comprehensive deer and tick management plan and educate the public about what we are facing and where.
North Haven’s elected officials deserve to be commended for being proactive in hearing the concerns of residents and taking action by taking steps toward the development of a concrete plan to deal with deer and tick populations. Now that they’ve done their work — it’s time for the community to do their part by listening to the plan at next Tuesday’s meeting, weighing in on it, and, if they like what they hear, give it their all to successfully implement it.
These are the kind of NIMBYs we can get behind.