By Claire Walla
Last Tuesday, September 6, North Haven Village Trustees held a public hearing on a topic not typically discussed in the village: “abandonment.”
Less dramatic than it sounds, the meeting was merely a procedural first step in the village’s efforts to rebuild a fallen fence. Still, for some living at the end of Third Street and Coves End Road, the issue is of great importance: the loss of that fence was almost like opening the floodgates.
Last winter, when an active storm season caused the fence on Third Street to disappear, it created heightened concern for many living along Cove Road and Coves End Lane who complained of an increased flow of cars in their neighborhood. Though North Haven Village officials put cones in the area to prevent cars on Third Street from accessing Coves End Lane, it didn’t deter some motorists.
“I know what happens when the cones are gone,” said Coves End Lane resident Ibar Albinson. “The cars were zipping through there and they weren’t stopping.”
Albinson said it was especially concerning for him because he often walked his dog in the neighborhood.
“[Some drivers] have a tendency to be fast anywhere they can make a short-cut into town,” he added.
According to residents, several drivers — some residents have even reported delivery trucks among them — have used the L-shaped route along Third Street and Coves End Lane to get from Long Beach to Route 114 (or vice versa) without having to drive through the traffic circle in North Haven Village. The village had erected a fence at the end of Third Street decades ago, which effectively prevented motorists from continuing onto Coves End Land, which spits them out right onto Route 114. In order to erect a fence once more, the village must first officially “abandon” that section of Third Street.
As a result of the fallen fence, “a very quiet neighborhood changed dramatically,” said North Haven Village Mayor Laura Nolan. “We recently erected large, orange cones to abate the traffic, but residents are very desirous of [putting up a new fence].”
Ann DeStefanos, a resident on Short Beach Road, also spoke at the public hearing.
“I’ve been a resident there all my life, and the road has been closed at least 35 years,” she said.
DeStefanos continued to cite issues with the orange cones, complaining that some cars have either damaged the cones by running into them, or else motorists have moved them out of position themselves.
“I’ve moved them back myself, but people have dented them with heavy vehicles,” she added. “I really think [the street] needs to get closed permanently. We really need to do something [about the traffic]. They really whip through there.”
Without any further comments from the crowd and with no noted correspondence on the matter, the board voted to close the public hearing. And during their regularly scheduled board meeting following the hearing, the trustees voted to pass a resolution giving the village authority to “abandon” a section of Third Street and close-it-off with a fence.
According to Mayor Nolan, the village’s next step in the process of closing off the road is to close the street while making it safe for emergency vehicles and pedestrians.
She added, “We’ll have a public discourse on how we’re going to beautify this and close it off.”