By Kathryn G. Menu
Elections in North Haven Village will in fact be contested this year. With two village board seats available, incumbent Jeff Sander has announced he will run as part of the North Haven Party alongside architect Arthur “Jim” Laspesa.
Incumbent Jim Smyth the proprietor of The Corner Bar in Sag Harbor and a member of the board since 2002, announced last month he would not seek another term on the village board.
Attorney Mary Whelan will also seek election under the Daffodil Party banner, confirmed North Haven Village Clerk Georgia Welch Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, Whelan said she viewed this as an opportunity to serve her community after living in North Haven for three decades.
“I feel like people have been pretty apathetic in the last year and I wanted to get more involved in the community,” said Whelan.
Whelan said she has heard from community members that taxes are a concern, as well as the ongoing deer population problem, although she said she was unsure what new solutions could be found to solve the latter.
Whelan picked the daffodil moniker for her party as the flower is resilient and resistant to deer.
“Mostly, I want to be someone the community can come to who will listen to what they have to say,” she said.
“I have enjoyed the work I have been doing on the board,” said Sander on Wednesday of his impetus to run. “In the last year I have been active on the deer committee, trying to come up with some solutions. We have just put together a list of some recommendations so we still have a lot we need to do.”
“We are a small village,” added Sander. “We don’t have a lot of issues.”
Docks, and what the village should allow if it chooses to move on from a moratorium on dock building, will be another issue Sander said North Haven will contend with in the next two years.
“Beyond that, it is just keeping North Haven a great place to live and preserving as much open space as we can.”
For Laspesa, a 26-year member of the planning board and chair for the last 20, when he was approached to run with Sander it was a natural progression forward.
“I am ready to face a new challenge,” he said.
Cell towers, keeping the greenbelt thriving and deer are just some of the issues Laspesa expects the village to face in the near term.
On Wednesday, Welch said she was uncertain what decision the board would make in terms of the mayor’s seat, vacated earlier this month by Laura Nolan, who resigned for personal reasons.
While the position is not on this June’s ballot, the board could appoint someone to fill the remainder of Nolan’s term — one year — or it could hold a special election.
North Haven Village elections will be held on June 18 at North Haven Village Hall. The next North Haven Village Board meeting will be held on June 4 at 5 p.m.