Tag Archive | "jeff sander"

Incumbents Keep Their Seats in North Haven Village

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Current North Haven Village Trustees Jeff Sander and Jim Smyth will maintain their seats on the village board after beating out newcomer Lawrence LaRose on Tuesday, June 21.

The village saw a marked turnout of voters this year with 191 total ballots cast (12 absentee). According to Mayor Laura Nolan, last year’s election only had 63 voters. In all, Sander and Smyth each received an equal 125 votes, while LaRose earned 73.

Dems Add Bender to Incumbent Mix

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By Claire Walla

On Monday, May 16 members of the Democratic Party of Southampton Town gathered to announce the names of the candidates it would endorse for the 2011-2012 election this November.

Current Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst (Ind.) will seek her second term, and current board member Bridget Fleming (Dem.) who was voted into office mid-election cycle last June, will seek her first full-term in office. Added to the mix will be newcomer Brad Bender (Ind.) who has his sights on the third seat that will open up on the board.

Nancy Graboski (Rep.) has announced she will retire from Southampton Town Council when her term is up in November. So, should Throne-Holst and Fleming maintain hold of their seats, and should Bender secure a seat in his first official foray into town politics, this would shift the dynamics of the now-republican-majority board.

Since being elected to a town board position in 2008, Throne-Holst has made the town’s finances her main focus. Then a board member, she initiated efforts to bring on a forensic audit, which ultimately revealed overspending within the town, which had resulted in multi-million dollar deficits.

Anna Throne-Holst

Throne-Holst, who was elected supervisor in 2009, has called herself a “natural consensus-builder” who is “committed to working transparently.”

Most significantly, she points to her effort to transform Planned Development District (PDD) legislation, a process she referred to in a press release as “easily the most significant planning initiative from a town-wide perspective.”

The supervisor also highlights her efforts to instigate a planning study for County Road 39, and says she remains committed to reevaluating the current system for evaluating tax assessments, a process that, she noted, could save tax payers money in the long run.

Overall, Throne-Holst highlights her “determination to put public service over politics,” which has “fueled her many accomplishments and won her public praise, despite being a minority leader on a politically divided town board.”

Bridget Fleming

A Noyac resident who owns a private law practice next to Provisions on Main Street in Sag Harbor, Fleming joined the Southampton Town Board in March of last year, during a special, mid-term election.

“I’m happy to say I feel as though I’ve gotten a lot done in a short time,” she said. “And I’m in the minority, I’m the only Democrat on the board.”

(Though Throne-Holst has garnered support from the Democratic Party, she is a registered Independent.)

Briefly listing what she’s accomplished in the past year, Fleming mentioned four main initiatives: adopting legislation to remove all damaged double utility poles from the town’s roadways, legislation to provide health insurance for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers, a project called Farm Fresh Foods (which would start-up a farmers market in Riverhead) and her efforts to create a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for the town.

“What I would like to continue to focus on is three main priorities: economic opportunities for everyone, environmental stewardship, and continued efforts to achieve financial responsibility,” Fleming said.

Brad Bender
Though new to politics at the town-wide level, Brad Bender a resident of Northampton (an area near Riverhead) has been active on the local level for the past five years as a board member, vice president and now president of the Flanders/Riverside/Northampton Community Association.

“We’re kind of a drive-by community,” Bender said. In an effort to build the community’s aesthetic appeal, Bender headed two major beautification projects. With help from the county and the town, he replanted the flowerbeds and restored the flagpole at the traffic circle at the end of Route 24, and recently spearheaded an effort to post “Welcome To” signs throughout the community to orient unknown passersby and give the community a sense of place.

“My whole campaign is to continue to bring open and transparent government to the town of Southampton, in order to protect the small-town, rural feel” he said. “The big thing is to bring responsibility [to the town board].”

Noisy Neighbors and Abandoned Boats in North Haven

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After winning an uncontested election nearly two weeks ago, North Haven Village trustees Jim Smyth and Jeff Sander were sworn in during the monthly board meeting on Tuesday, July 7. The elections were relatively calm, but the village board faces a number of issues moving forward, including the adoption of a flood prevention law, handling of abandoned boats on Sunset Beach Road and noise complaints.
For the past few months, municipalities large and small have drafted new flood prevention laws in response to the updated flood maps produced by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and North Haven Village is very close to adopting a law to correspond with the new maps. On Tuesday, board members were presented with a 60-page draft of the proposed legislation, prepared by the village attorney Anthony Tohill.
Georgia Welch, the village clerk, informed the board that a copy of the draft was sent to both FEMA and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for New York State. FEMA responded to the village in a letter and tacitly stated that the draft law includes all of the new requirements, reported Welch. Although, North Haven is still waiting for a response from the DEC, Welch said Tohill was certain the board could move forward and adopt the law at the next meeting on Tuesday, August 4. Welch noted that the law must be adopted before the end of September to continue North Haven resident’s eligibility for federal flood insurance.
In order to tackle a long-standing problem of local residents abandoning their boats and seafaring apparatuses on the beach near Sunset Beach Road, the village board passed a local law on Tuesday giving them the power to dispose of unpermitted boats or boats left on public beaches after the summer season ends. The law was first introduced last month and was swiftly adopted after a public hearing elicited no comment from community members. Now that the law has been passed, however, the board struggled with how to implement it.
“We have to set up a program to handle these boats … Who will take them off the beach, where will we put them … what about implementation?” asked trustee James Morrissey.
Although the board failed to voice a solution to Morrissey’s first couple of questions, they did agree to post a sign at the public beach alerting the public to the new law. Sander said the sign could stipulate that sea craft storage on the beach is allowed only in the summer and by permit only.
As the board seemed to settle one village issue, another undesirable situation was brought to their attention. Both this summer and last, residents of Maunakea Street have complained about a renter on their block. The Maunakea residents claim the renter regularly hosts several dozen guests and holds parties in the wee hours of the evening. Village building inspector Al Daniels acted as intermediary between the property owner, Joe DeSane, his renter, and an adjacent neighbor, Frank Pintauro, during a meeting held on Friday, June 19.
“DeSane took responsibility for his tenant … [but] I think Mr. Pintauro tried to communicate to the tenant that this year he wasn’t going to just go talk to him [if there was a problem]. This year he will call the police,” reported Daniels.
The next weekend on Saturday, June 27, Pintauro lived up to his word and phoned the police some time after midnight to file a formal noise complaint. Village mayor Laura Nolan reported that she had spoken with an officer out of Southampton Town Police as to what possible repercussions could be brought against the tenant. Nolan said that if three or more neighbors signed an affidavit of a noise summons, then with each noise complaint the tenant could be slapped with a fine as high as $1,000 per incident. The members of the board and Daniels agreed to speak with Tohill about finding a legal means to calming the situation.
“I think we have to do some research,” added Daniels.

North Haven Elections Uncontested

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As election day nears, the mayoral and village trustee race in Sag Harbor Village is heating up, but over in neighboring North Haven Village, this year’s election season promises to be quiet as current trustees Jeff Sander and Russell “Jim” Smyth are running unopposed. Sander, a local business owner, is currently wrapping up his first term as trustee and was named as village deputy mayor in 2008. Smyth is a 47-year resident of the village and is entering his third term as trustee. Before becoming a trustee, Smyth served for eight years on the village planning board.
In the coming years, Sander would like to see the village acquire more property for open space preservation. He pointed out that the village recently purchased a 2.2 acre plot of land.
“I hope we continue to use whatever funds are available to buy parcels. This is one of the most important [projects] for the village,” noted Sander.
Although Sander has taken a keen interest in acquiring additional open space for the village, he added that it’s imperative for the village to remain fiscally conservative as the East End faces an uncertain economic future.
“One of our biggest challenges right now is continuing to manage our funds in a responsible way,” explained Sander. “All villages including ours are being impacted by the economy. Revenues are down in part because of decreases in the fees collected for building permits and other permits, though our costs continue to rise. This year we had to replace the heating system in village hall.”
Smyth concurred on the need to preserve open space and practice fiscal responsibility, but added that the board needs to continue keeping the village’s deer population at bay and beautifying various points in the village, similar to the recent round-about beautification project. Over his last term, Smyth said the village has worked on updating its website and improving office operations, and will continue to do so over the next couple years.
“I don’t foresee anything new confronting the village,” reported Smyth. “We just want to continue the work we have been doing. Most of the village projects are things we have been continuing for years and years.”
“The deer is always something in the back of our minds and we are always dealing with waterfront and dock issues,” continued Smyth, who added that the village is relatively small and primarily residential with only one commercial business in North Haven.
Overall, Smyth noted that the current North Haven village board has established a certain rhythm that he would like to see continue in the future.
“We have a strong group of people on the board who have been working together for a while,” said Smyth.
“I can provide some expertise and some good judgment to village politics. I enjoy working on the board,” added Sander of his forthcoming candidacy.
“They are great trustees. I am glad they are rerunning,” said current village mayor Laura Nolan. “They have certainly been an asset in helping me on the board and I am happy there isn’t a contested election this year.”
In fact, the Village of North Haven hasn’t seen a contested election since 2007.

Flood Map Source of Confusion

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The recent implementation of new flood maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is confusing for homeowners, as well as village and town officials. Many have found their threat of flooding has been reduced, while others find they are newly in a flood zone.

Jeff Sander, a North Haven Village resident, was in a high-risk zone for flooding before the new maps were issued last November, but now his home has been moved to a lower-risk zone, like many property owners in Sag Harbor.

Sander said he received a notice from the Town of Southampton suggesting he look online at the new maps. In that letter the town intended to inform residents that there have been some changes to the flood zones and recommended residents decide if they wanted to purchase flood insurance prior to the adoption of the final maps, “due to certain grandfathering provisions.”

Sander is one of many in the area still struggling to find out what that will mean when he gets the insurance bill he is expecting in the next couple months.

Last week, Southampton Town Stormwater Manager Walter Bundy, at the request of councilwoman Nancy Graboski, held a meeting with representatives of FEMA, regarding the new Federal Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in order to ask for some clarification and an extension of the February 4, 2009 deadline for appeals. At the meeting, it was decided that appeals for homeowners will be extended to next Wednesday, February 25.

Sag Harbor village planner Richard Warren said in an email to Sagaponack village officials, that the FEMA representatives at last week’s meeting will be taking some of the concerns from the local municipalities back to Washington for further discussion, and that more public outreach might be necessary, “especially with insurance carriers.”

“It takes us two years to process a 10-lot subdivision,” Graboski said during a work session prior to that meeting, “We have a significant comprehensive project so that is really not enough time.”

Many people like Sander who live on the water, seem to have been spared, according to George Simonson, an insurance agent in Sag Harbor.

Simonson said the village received “better zones that they deserved.” He said there are fewer homes in the high elevation flood zones now than there were before the new FEMA maps in November.

Simonson said the cost of federal flood insurance for one year should be around $352 or “almost a dollar a day.” That, he said, would cover up to $250,000 for a single home and $100,000 of the contents.

The problem with that, he explained, is that most of the homes on or near the shoreline in the area are valued much higher than $250,000. He said homeowners who want their full home covered would need to take out additional insurance through excess and surplus lines markets, for example through Lloyds of London.

Those who live in the flood plain, explained Aram Terchunian, a Coastal Geologist for First Coastal out of Westhampton Beach, usually carry four types of insurance: flood, excess coverage (for the remaining value of the home over $250,000), wind and storm insurance, and homeowners insurance.

He said for homeowners who would now be included in the flood zone, the flood insurance premium will stay the same or be reduced, but the three other types of insurances are “likely to increase.”

Sander said that even though his home has been taken from the highest risk zone and moved back into a lower risk zone, and the insurance is not required, he will maintain his coverage.

Simonson said the cost of insurance for those living in Sag Harbor should go down, or, at the very least, remain the same as it was before the new maps.

Eileen Kenna, a Shinnecock Hills resident, received the same notice as Sander. She said that her home wasn’t in a flood zone before and by looking at the maps online, her home still remains outside the flood plain line.

“I went on the website and I am not in the flood zone,” Kenna said, “So I am not going to get flood insurance.”

Kenna said that just a few years ago, her homeowners insurance was dropped because her home is near a flood plain. Fortunately, she said, she was able to obtain new homeowners insurance from an alternative company.

“They messed up in New Orleans, when the hurricane hit,” she said, “so now they are doing all this to cover themselves.”

Simonson agrees. He said now, in that portion of the country, there are some discrepancies over who is going to cover the homes that were affected by flooding.

Now FEMA is attempting to avoid a similar incident happening on Long Island, if such a situation should occur.

Sag Harbor village planner, Rich Warren said he believes the issues are complex, and he is certain there will be “more to come.”


You can check your property at www.suffolknyfloodmaps.com.