Tag Archive | "jim smyth"

North Haven Passes Law to Ban Cell Tower Legislation

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By Claire Walla

Solidifying motions taken last month to repeal the first law passed in the village this year, the North Haven Village Board of Trustees unanimously adopted Local Law Number 3 last Tuesday, July 5. It effectively rescinds Local Law Number 1, which created a section in village code to allow for a wireless communication tower to be built on village property.
(Trustee Jim Smyth was absent.)
“I’m sure everyone’s up to speed on this,” Mayor Laura Nolan said light-heartedly. “It was shown with great interest last month.”
At the last village board meeting June 7, nearly 40 residents filled all available seating inside village hall to oppose the original law, passed in May. The issue stems from the prospect of placing a cell tower — in this case a mono-pole — on village property. The village board began discussing the issue of cell phone reception — or rather lack of it — in earnest in January after watching a presentation by Suffolk Wireless, LLC, the proposed builder of such a pole.
But many residents came forward with strong objections to the idea of a cell-phone tower, citing health concerns and issues of village aesthetics. Ultimately, community backlash prompted the trustees to rescind the law — though no formal plans to build the tower were ever presented.
This week’s meeting was less well attended, with only one local resident speaking about the issue during public comment session.
In addition to the public hearing on this law — to rescind cell tower legislation — Mayor Nolan also introduced a second public hearing for a law to enact a moratorium on cell tower applications in the village.
“Essentially, the moratorium gives us the power to deny applications,” Nolan said.
The moratorium would last six months from when the law is signed into legislation by the state, which according to Village Clerk Georgia Welch, will be about 10 days from now.
“The boiler plate issue is that this will give us breathing room to entertain other options,” Welch explained. In other words, the moratorium will suspend any applications for cell towers or other wireless technology that may otherwise be brought to the village in the next six months. Without specific applications to attend to and consider, the village board will be free to look into other options and newer technologies.

In other news…

Village Clerk Georgia Welch noted she had received a letter of correspondence from North Haven resident April Gornik, who requested the village’s permission to post two signs urging drivers to slow-down for turtles crossing.
Gornik suggested placing one of the signs — both of which she purchased herself — on an existing pole across from her home on Fresh Pond Road.
The village noted complications with posting anything on a LIPA or Verizon pole, which are privately owned, but expressed an overall enthusiasm for the idea.
“I’d like to see us preserve these creatures,” Gornik wrote, explaining that the eastern box turtle is now extinct in Nassau County.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Trustee Dianne Skilbred. “I think we should do it.”

After nearly two years of ongoing negotiations, village trustees have come to a general consensus on the location of a dock proposed by the Lathem family to be built on their property. Separate plans to move the dock to the north of the property and then to the south of the property generated complaints from the Lathem’s neighbors on both ends. So, trustees ultimately agreed to the original plan, which will see a dock built closer to the middle of the Lathem’s property.
At issue now is lighting, a topic raised by North Haven resident Bob Falborn, who wondered whether the lights designed for the dock would be as bright as those now lighting-up Jimmy Buffett’s North Haven dock.
Contractor John Costello explained that the low-projection lighting now planned for the Lathem’s dock would, in fact, illuminate the deck at all hours of the night.
Village trustees said they were opposed to that plan, and suggested minimal, low-projection lights that would function with an on/off switch.

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.

North Haven Village Scrambles to Remove Moored Boats

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The National Grid remediation project currently underway in Sag Harbor has some North Haven residents concerned.
At the monthly Village of North Haven Trustees meeting last week, board members discussed the nine month long remediation project which is designed to remove coal tar from the ground beneath the former Hortonsphere gas ball in Sag Harbor. With plans that include pumping water from the site out past the breakwater, North Haven officials have been asked by National Grid to remove all boats currently moored off shore on the North Haven side of the Sag Harbor bridge.
The National Grid remediation project on Long Island Avenue in Sag Harbor is expected to continue through the end of May and entails the removal of some 10 to 15 feet of contaminated soil from the Superfund site that once housed a manufactured gas plant – the source of pollution. As part of the clean-up, due to the high water table in the area, National Grid will remove water from the contaminated soil, treat it, and pump the clean water through a pipe out past the breakwater near North Haven.
North Haven village clerk Georgia Welch received a fax earlier last week asking for the removal of moored boats, which Mayor Laura Nolan said she believed the village was asked to do as soon as possible.
“We didn’t have any warning that this was something that was going to be done,” Nolan said on Wednesday.
Nolan said that although most of the boats are out of the water now, “It came as a surprise to all of us.”
Nolan said that she believes the residents in North Haven have been notified about the removal and possibly the yacht club and Ship Ashore Marina have been notified as well.
Village board member, Jim Smyth said that he is concerned if the project is not finished by May, the piping might have to stay in place, and that would become a problem for the summer months.
“It caught us off guard,” Smyth said, “We don’t know what might happen in the spring.”
Smyth said that the actual pumping of the water may begin December 1, but he added this seems to be a grey area.
The remediation will take the winter to complete, the demolition at the site began on September 30 and is expected to be completed in nine months.
The piping that will carry the treated water is already assembled and in place in the water. Lights mark the pipe’s course for boaters. According to National Grid, approximately 500,000 to one million gallons of treated water will be pumped through the pipes daily.
FEMA
Today, Thursday, November 13, a meeting with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will commence in Southampton for the discussion of the revised flood maps and possible changes in flood insurance throughout the town.
North Haven has received an outline of areas where flood insurance is going to go up for those residents who are situated along the water in flood evacuation routes.
Village board member Jim Smyth said that board members received their new flood maps, and if any residents would like to make a comment on the changes, they will have 90 days to appeal any decisions made by FEMA, after today’s meeting.
Santa is coming to the village
Also at last week’s meeting the village board approved the visit of Santa Claus to the village on December 20. Santa will begin visiting the children and shut-ins of North Haven at noon on that day.