By Kathryn G. Menu
The failure to re-appoint a long time member of the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee sparked debate at the first meeting of a new village board, which held its reorganizational meeting on Monday, July 1.
It was the first meeting of a board since last month’s village elections. Former mayor and trustee Ed Deyermond and local business owner Ken O’Donnell were elected to serve two, two-year terms as trustees, ousting longtime board member Ed Gregory and filling the seat of former trustee Tim Culver who resigned last summer.
During an otherwise standard announcement of mayoral appointments for the coming year, the board stopped short of ratifying all of Mayor Brian Gilbride’s board selections. Deyermond said while he supported virtually all of Gilbride’s selections, he was uncomfortable ratifying the appointment of Gregory to a three-year term on the Harbor Committee over existing Harbor Committee member Jeff Peters.
“I just hate to see Jeff Peters leave,” said Deyermond.
Gilbride said he has had complaints from applicants about Peters and in particular about the John Christopher application, approved by a majority of the committee for a wetlands permit in November of 2011.
In that application, Peters joined Dr. Tom Halton and former committee member Brian Halweil in approving the application of Christopher, a board member, who applied for a permit for a one-story addition landward of his home, which is roughly 45 feet from wetlands. The permit allowed Christopher to create a 15 foot vegetative buffer to the marked wetlands rather than the minimum required under the code — 25 feet. Harbor committee chairman Bruce Tait voted against the decision.
Deyermond noted it takes three board members to approve an application. Halton, who was being recommended for re-appointment to the board by Gilbride, also was in favor of the Christopher application.
“This is a board that has been struggling with what its real duty is,” said Gilbride. “It is an advisory board to the village board. They constantly poke at the village board during their meetings.”
Gilbride said he believes Gregory would be a better addition for that board at this point and time.
Deyermond said he would like to see Gregory on the planning or the zoning board. Michael Bromberg resigned from the latter in mid-June leaving a vacancy on that body.
Deyermond added he would be unable to vote in favor of that particular appointment, and asked the board hold off until the Tuesday, July 9 meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. Trustees did vote to ratify the rest of Gilbride’s appointments, which included no additional changes to the other village boards.
“I personally feel Jeff brings a lot of expertise to the table at the Harbor Committee,” said committee chairman Bruce Tait on Monday. “His landscaping background and knowledge of wetlands has been very helpful in making decisions and is very much appreciated.”
When reached on Tuesday, Peters said he was surprised by the decision.
“I have given 110 percent to this board and I think I have been a big asset,” he said.
The board will continue the discussion at its June 9 meeting.
In other reorganizational news, trustee Robby Stein was appointed deputy mayor and Lisa Rana was appointed another year as Sag Harbor Village acting justice under Justice Andrea Schiavoni. Lastly, the board approved the hiring of Janer Salazar as a part time code enforcement officer for this summer at a rate of $20.