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.