Tag Archive | "george butts"

Schiavoni Will Run in North Haven

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Although the North Haven Party will not see any challengers in this June’s election—barring an unforeseen write-in campaign—the party, which holds a monopoly on the board, will see a new face among its candidates for trustee.

Tommy John Schiavoni, a lifetime resident of the village and a member of the village Zoning Board of Appeals, has announced that he will seek a two-year term on the board. He will replace Trustee George Butts who has chosen not to seek another term.

Also running will be incumbent Mayor Jeff Sander and incumbent Trustees Diane Skilbred and James Davis. All terms are for two years, except that of Mr. Davis, who was appointed a year ago to complete Mr. Sander’s term as trustee after Mr. Sander, in turn, replaced Mayor Laura Nolan who stepped down.

In Sag Harbor, incumbent Trustee Keith Duchemin has also announced he is stepping down after a single two-year term. But incumbent Trustee Robby Stein will be joined on the ballot by Sandra Schroeder, a former village administrator, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor a year ago; John Shaka, a board member of the advocacy group, Save Sag Harbor; and Bruce Stafford, who served as trustee from 2009 to 2011.

Mr. Schiavoni, 50, who teaches middle school and high school social studies in the Center Moriches School District, said on Tuesday that it was appropriate that he recently taught a course on participation in government.

“It’s a beautiful village, and I’d like to help maintain its character,” he said of his decision to seek elected office. Mr. Schiavoni listed stormwater runoff and controlling tick-borne illnesses has two issues he would like to concentrate on.

“I don’t think we are a major source point of pollution,” Mr. Schiavoni said, “but all runoff matters, considering we are right in the Peconic Bay estuary.”

Mr. Schiavoni said a growing deer population has led to a rise in tick-borne diseases.

“I believe we have a human health issue with ticks, not only in North Haven but the East End in general,” he said.

Mr. Schiavoni said he had seen plenty of changes over the years. “When I grew up, we were kind of a suburb of Sag Harbor,” he said. “There were a lot of places to roam and camp.”

Deer, he said, were few and far between. “They were bigger too,” he said, “and they didn’t let you get close to them. It really is different now.”

Mr. Schiavoni is past president and treasurer of the Bay Haven Association and is a member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

He is married to Andrea Schiavoni, a justice in both Southampton Town and Sag Harbor Village. They have two children, Anna and Thomas.

Also on the ballot will be Mayor Sander, who will be seeking his first two-year term as an elected mayor after replacing Ms. Nolan last year and serving as a board member for six years before that. Mr. Sander, a retired computer executive, pointed to his management skills as his chief asset.

Ms. Skilbred, who has lived in North Haven for 30 years, is seeking her third two-year term on the board. Before being elected trustee, she served on the village Architectural Review Board for 15 years, including six years as chairwoman. On the ARB she played a major role in crafting the village’s floor area ratio law and served on the Citizens Traffic Calming Committee that contributed to safer bike lanes and the village traffic circle.

Mr. Davis, a village resident for 14 years, was appointed last year to complete Mr. Sander’s term as trustee when Mr. Sander became mayor. Mr. Davis served for seven years on the ARB, including a year as chairman, in 2011. He is a member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

Mr. Sander said that no matter how many votes any given candidate receives, Mr. Davis would only be eligible to serve a one-year term.


Sag Harbor Village Board Race Coming into Focus

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By Stephen J. Kotz

With village elections a little more than five weeks away, at least four candidates have announced they will run for two openings on the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, while one incumbent has said he will step down from the board. But the picture remains cloudy in North Haven, where no candidates have yet to file nominating petitions, although the mayor’s seat and four trustee positions are open.

The deadline for candidates who want to run for village board in either Sag Harbor or North Haven to turn in petitions to the village clerk of either municipality is by the close of business on Tuesday. Elections take place in both villages on June 17.

Sag Harbor Village Trustee Kevin Duchemin said on Tuesday that he would not seek another term. “I’ve discussed it with my wife and family and I’ve chosen not to run again,” said Mr. Duchemin, who is an East Hampton Village police officer. He would not provide specific reasons for his decision, but said he wanted to remain open to a future run for village office.

Mr. Duchemin said he would endorse incumbent Trustee Robby Stein, who is seeking another term, and former Village Clerk/Administrator Sandra Schroeder, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor  year ago, and has announced she will run for trustee.

They will be joined at this point by newcomer John Shaka, a board member of the Save Sag Harbor advocacy group and former Trustee Bruce Stafford, who served from 2009 to 2011.

In North Haven, Mayor Jeff Sander, who was appointed to his position to fill the unfinished term of Laura Nolan, who resigned, is up for re-election for a two-year term.

The seats of trustees George Butts and Diane Skilbred are also up for two-year terms. The seat of James Davis, who was appointed to complete Mr. Sander’s term as trustee, is up for a one-year term. The two highest vote-getters will win two-year terms.

All are members of the North Haven Party.

On Wednesday, North Haven Village Clerk Georgia Welch said representatives of the party had picked up petition packets but that none had been returned yet.

“I won’t know until I see [completed petitions] who will be running,” she said. “I don’t do ‘Rumor has it…’ I don’t sing that song well. Adele does it better.”

None of the North Haven candidates could not immediately be reached for comment by this edition’s deadline, but the four candidates in Sag Harbor were eager to share their goals for the village.

“I always have a list that I’m pecking away at,” said Mr. Stein, who is seeking his third term. Mr. Stein, who said he tries to be a voice for environmental concerns,   listed the need to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and improve the health of the harbor and Sag Harbor Cove as priorities that need to be addressed on a continuing basis. He also said improving village information technology services, alleviating the village’s cramped parking situation, and completing the waterfront park as priorities that he would focus on if elected.

Mr. Shaka said traffic calming, improving water quality, and maintaining the village’s infrastructure were among the concerns he would work on if elected. He also said the village had to remain vigilant against inappropriate development.

“Everyone is in Sag Harbor because they love it. They love its quality of life,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t do anything.”

Ms. Schroeder, who worked for the village for more than 20 years in various capacities, echoed the calls for improving water quality by through reducing road runoff and controlling development, while adding that maintaining infrastructure along the waterfront was also key.

“I’m very concerned about our water quality,” she said. “We are a waterfront village. And we have to take care of our docks. They are our second largest source of income behind taxes.”

Mr. Stafford said he saw “a lot of unfinished things in the village that I’d like to help out on. I enjoyed being on the board. I enjoyed helping the people.”

Mr. Stafford said he has always been community-oriented and has served on the fire department for 36 years as well as chairman of he Sag Harbor United Methodist Church board, among other things.

“I’d like to address affordability,” he said of the high cost of living in Sag Harbor. Although Mr. Stafford said he no easy answers to provide more housing, he said on his first term he had worked to keep taxes low, which, he said, was the first step toward making the village affordable.

Incumbents Run Unopposed in North Haven

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By Claire Walla

This Tuesday, North Haven Village will see an uncontested election, with trustees George Butts and Diane Skilbred, as well as Mayor Laura Nolan all up for reelection.

Nolan, who will be running for her sixth term in office, includes in her list of achievements: financial stewardship (maintaining the same tax rate for the last five years); land preservation (preserving 26 acres of open space); village management (upgrading to a digital filing system); and traffic-calming measures supported by the roundabout where Ferry Road meets County Road 60.

Nolan added the most important issues facing the village in the coming years will include the effects of the two-percent tax cap, as well as “the continued pressures of development” and “preserving the beauty of our coastal waters.”

After moving to North Haven in the early ‘90s, Nolan first ran for village board in 1997.

“I originally got involved because of the deer issue,” Nolan said.

Back then, Nolan said the deer population in North Haven alone registered over 500. Together with her fellow village board members, Nolan said she helped put measures in place to reduce the deer population.

“We have safely reduced the deer herd,” she wrote in an email, “and continue to maintain a very small deer population.”

After having served on the North Haven Village Board since 2010, Trustee Diane Skilbred will be running for her second term in office.

Of the issues the village board has faced in the time she’s been in office, she said the most significant have been the law allowing residents to raise chickens and the cell phone tower first proposed in December of 2010.

“I was the only one who was opposed to it,” she said of the tower. “I didn’t think it was appropriate for North Haven.” (The cell tower proposal was ultimately shot down.)

Much of Skilbred’s decision making has revolved around the idea of maintaining the “rural character” of the village, which is why she said she strongly supported the chicken law, which was ultimately adopted by the board.

While relatively new to the village board, Skilbred was previously a member of the Architectural Review Board (ARB), which she served on for 16 years.

The main initiative Skilbred said she will try to spearhead during her next term in office is installing solar panels on the roof of Village Hall.

After four years as a North Haven Village Trustee, George Butts will be running for his third term in office.

Butts was born and raised in Sag Harbor and moved to North Haven in the ‘80s. A member of the Volunteer Fire Department and the Sag Harbor Dive Team, Butts had been Chairman of the North Haven Zoning Board of Appeals for 18 years before joining the village board.

Like Skilbred, of the most important issues the board has faced in the last four years Butts named the newly adopted chicken law and the debate over the proposed cell phone tower. But, in general, Butts said the village has remained relatively uncontroversial.

“It’s a good thing what we’re doing,” he said, explaining that the board works as a unit, for the most part, and largely avoids much bickering when it comes to deciding issues.

“I hope we’ll continue to take care of everything and make [the village] run as smoothly as it has been running,” he said.

“We’re an unusual board,” Mayor Nolan added.  “We work as a team.”

The North Haven Village election will take place this Tuesday, June 19 at Village Hall.

North Haven Seeks to Redefine “Sign”

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web North Haven Sign

By Claire Walla

It began last month with a letter from North Haven Village resident Carol Ahlers.

Addressing the village trustees, Ahlers wrote that she didn’t exactly care for the new, handmade wooden address that now sits on the corner of Ferry Road and Maunakea Street. The wooden carving, featuring a blocky rendition of the address “144 Ferry,” rests against a large, vertical surface of overlapping twigs.

Ahlers’ letter has since prompted village officials to re-examine the portion of village code that pertains to signage. While the Ferry Road sign is relatively large and sits very close to the road, the trustees said it wasn’t quite clear in the village code whether or not it is technically permitted.

Homeowner Kathie Russo said her boyfriend created the sign for the front of the house merely because in the past people couldn’t easily find their home.  “We did it for convenience and to be artistic,” rather than putting up a street address featuring “run-of-the-mill numbers,” Russo said.  “Not in any way was it our intention to be offensive to anyone.”

But according to Village Clerk Georgia Welch, “The thing is that the definition [of ‘sign’] does not get into specifics.”

According to North Haven Village Code, there are specific parameters for real estate signs, which cannot rest within 15 feet of the property line, or within 25 feet of the street. However, these specifics do not extend to any other type of sign. And while one “non-illuminated nameplate” sign (not to exceed two square feet) is permitted per household, Welch said the current code still leaves much open to interpretation.

“Signs can be troublesome. Everyone’s interpretation of a sign is very different,” she continued. “Anything that identifies anything can be considered a sign.”

Village Trustee George Butts sparked a dialogue about the specific aspects of the village code and expressed an interest in homing in on what exactly those changes should entail.

Currently, the village code defines “sign” as “a letter, word, model, banner, pennant, insignia, trade flag, device or representation used as, or which is in the nature of, an advertisement, attraction or directive.”

The proposed law as it currently stands (though it’s likely to be amended before the board’s next meeting) more clearly defines what this definition should encompass as: “any material, device or structure displaying or intending to display one or more messages visually and used for the purpose of bringing such messages to the attention of the public.”

It continues, “The term ‘sign’ shall also mean and include any display of one or more of the following: any letter, numeral, figure, emblem, picture, outline, character, spectacle, delineation, announcement, trademark or logo.”

The need to clarify what types of signs would be permitted in the village was made clear during the course of the meeting when Trustee Diane Skilbred said in reference to the Ferry Road structure: “The problem with that is it’s not 25 feet in [away from the road].”

However, Butts explained the situation is not that simple. For example, he said he has a small rectangular sign on his property that displays his home address; it is fastened to the front gate of his home. Should the 25-foot restriction go into effect, he argued, then he’d have to move his address back, as well.

For the record, Butts said “I have no problem with the sign [on Ferry Road].”

But, he urged the board to hold off on voting to change the wording in the village code until the wording of this aspect of village code had been worked out.

“We could end up with a whole big thing on our hands,” he added. “I don’t want to start that. I just want it done once.”

Welch said the village trustees would submit their comments and concerns to Village Attorney Anthony Tohill, who would draft another proposal to amend the definition of a sign, as laid-out in the village code.

As of Wednesday, Russo said she had yet to be contacted by anyone from the village on the matter.  “It’s not a huge deal for us,” she said.  “If we have to take ti down, we take it down.  I’m all for communicating with everyone.”

In other news…

The Village Trustees voted unanimously to approve Local Law #1 of 2012, which extends a law passed in 2011 to provide a temporary moratorium on wireless communications towers and antennas.

Board members also voted to hold two public hearings at next month’s meeting regarding two additional new laws. The first would extend the moratorium on dock applications, which was originally voted into law in 2011. And the second would provide for a procedure for issuance of demolition permits.

Greening A Village

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By Claire Walla

As the village of North Haven continues down the green road toward solar heating, clerk Georgia Welch updated the board at its most recent meeting on Tuesday about the steps needed to secure a bid for the project, as well as the financial costs the town board could expect to pay to redo the village hall’s roof.

Welch explained that she met with the village’s grant writer the week prior and learned that, unfortunately, the opportunity to receive grant money to complete the project “has been closed for quite a while.”

But, Welch said the village will keep pursuing other options.

“[The grant writer] is going to explore other opportunities so she will continue to let me know what may become available,” Welch added.

Welch also relayed two estimates to the board for costs associated with replacing the roof over village hall. (Though slated to happen in conjunction with the installation of solar panels, the roof replacement project has already been written into this year’s budget and will take place regardless of whether or not the village goes solar.)

The estimates are based on two different options: fully replacing the current wood shingles, or replacing the wood with an asphalt material known as GAF timberline. Based on calculations made by Village Building Inspector Al Daniels, the cost of the first project is estimated to be about $38,000. The cost of using asphalt shingling would hover closer to $27,000, saving the village roughly $11,000.

The board has not made any decisions either way, but board members seemed more inclined to go for the less expensive GAF timberline material, which is also expected to last longer than wood. Board members have asked to see samples of each shingle before making their final decision.

In other news…

The village of North Haven approved a request from the North Haven Village Improvement Society to host its annual “Santa Visit” on Saturday, December 17. This is the 58th year the improvement society has sponsored this event.

Board members also approved a resolution to grant an extended contract to Summerhill Landscapers for just under $3,000 to plant additional bulbs at the traffic circle in the village.

While much of the North Haven Village Board meeting went off without a hitch, noticeably absent was Mayor Laura Nolan, who is grieving the loss of her husband, Jonathan Nolan. Nolan unexpectedly passed away on October 10 after a fall in the family’s home.

“Usually in the firehouse we have a moment of silence when there’s been a loss,” said a noticeably choked-up Jim Smyth, a village trustee and member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

So the board briefly paused before Smyth continued. “I’m filling in for Laura Nolan because I’m the deputy mayor,” he said. “I told her, we got her back until she’s ready.”

Dock Yard Prepares for Irene

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boats2 adjusted

“We’re clearing all our docks,” said Louis Grignon, manager of the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard.

After tracking Hurricane Irene—which threatens to hit the East End sometime on Sunday—Grignon said he decided yesterday (Tuesday) to institute an official “hurricane haul.”  In addition to the fact that the eye of the storm looks set to cross right over Long Island (even touching Sag Harbor, according to Tuesday’s reports), Grignon further explained that because of the new moon the East End will be seeing “astronomically high tides” this weekend.

Grignon said the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard has the capacity to haul about 20 to 25 boats toshore per day, and it had brought in 14 boats by 1 p.m. Thursday.  “That’s in addition to roughly 30 boats that have already been grounded,” he added.  In all, “we’ll get a good two-thirds of our customers taken care of,” Grignon later estimated.

Most of Grignon’s customers have already signed storm-haul contracts, which give the Yacht Yard the right to bring all docked ships to shore.  Grignon’s team is also hauling some vessels in from beyond the breakwater, and securing those fastened to mornings inside the grid.

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Above: North Haven Village Trustee George Butts helps his son, George, pull his small speed boat to shore.

Grignon said his philosophy going into a weekend rife with hurricane threats is, “You do the best you can before hand to prepare—and you pick up the pieces afterward.”

He hopes to have all boats on shore by Saturday.