Tag Archive | "north haven village"

Tommy John Schiavoni

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Tommy John Schiavoni, a social studies teacher at Center Moriches High School, who was elected North Haven Village Trustee in June and appointed to the Sag Harbor Board of Education last month, talks about his reasons for entering public service and the goals he hopes to achieve.

By Stephen J. Kotz

You were elected to the North Haven Village Board and then appointed to the Sag Harbor School Board in the space of two months. Why this surge in civic involvement?

With the retirement of [Trustee] George Butts I saw an opportunity to step into local government and try to effect some changes, but I do see them separately.

I had been considering the school board for some time. I liked the fact that there was an educator [Dan Hartnett, who resigned after selling his house in the district] on the board, and I was hoping an educator should step up. Then it became clear to me that maybe I should be the one to step, after being an educator myself for 25 years.

What are your chief goals as a member of the North Haven Village Board?

I am very concerned about tick-borne diseases. One of the first things I did was try to see what the numbers are. I wanted to have kind of baseline information in the village so we’d have what we need to move forward, so I went door to door. I surveyed 10 percent of the households, and I found that in 43 percent of those households someone had contracted some kind of tick-borne illness.

I would like the state health department to make North Haven a tick testing area, where they would do random sample surveys and tick drags in the spring and fall and test the ticks for disease. Whatever we do, hopefully we have a way of measuring the good or the bad.

 Have you had Lyme disease?

I had Rocky Mountain spotted fever when I was a kid and ehrlichiosis last summer, but never Lyme. My mom had babeciosis. I don’t think my family is different than any other family

What are some of the other issues affecting the village?

We just passed a resolution on helicopter noise, and I’m proud of that particularly. We have been showing up at the meetings, and Mayor [Jeff] Sander did a great job last week [at a public forum in East Hampton.] We’ve seen how the FAA works and we believe the airport would be best controlled by the East Hampton Town Board. We know there are a significant number of people in East Hampton who are not happy about the noise.

What are your plans for the school board?

I want to approach it from a teacher’s point of view. I don’t have an agenda. We have some real challenges with the tax cap and how to maintain and improve our programs when other things—fuel, insurance—aren’t capped.

I think it is a great school district, academically speaking. It’s on an upward trajectory. We’ve had a number of people who pay tuition to send their children to our schools. There have also been a number of people who move into the district to send their kids to Sag Harbor schools.

Will your new role in government help you in the classroom?

I teach participation in government and economics. There are going to be so many different ways that I can bring my experience to the classroom. I can help my students learn how to navigate the bureaucracies and become aware of the government that affects them most, which is their local government.

Your family runs G.F. Schiavoni Plumbing and Heating? How is it that you didn’t join your brothers in the family business?

Gettysburg. My parents took us to Gettysburg when I was about 10 years old. I was just enamored of it. It sparked something in me. My dad got one of the U.S. Parks Service guides to show us around. That experience with the Civil War was my first love of history—which by the way was a conflict over government—and that’s why I went into history.

North Haven Candidates List Goals

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North Haven Party candidates, James Davis, Dianne Skilbred, Tommy John Schiavoni, and Jeff Sander, are running unopposed.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Election Day promises to be a quiet one in North Haven Village, where Mayor Jeff Sander and his North Haven Party colleagues, Dianne Skilbred, James Davis, and Tommy John Schiavoni are running unopposed.

Voting takes place on Tuesday, June 17, from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall on Ferry Road.

Mr. Sander, who became mayor a year ago when Laura Nolan resigned, said on Tuesday, “North Haven is a small village without a lot of issues.”

But one of them is deer.

“We are going to continue to focus on trying to keep the herd down so it is not a significant problem to people,” he said. He said the village would continue to pursue seasonal hunting, explore contraception and seek state aid to put in 4-Posters, which are feeding stations that apply anti-tick insecticide to a deer’s head and neck when it stops to eat.

Another focus will be on a growing problem with helicopter noise. Mr. Sander said as efforts have been made to reduce helicopter flights over Noyac and parts of East Hampton Town, North Haven residents have been forced to put up with a growing number of flights over their homes.

“They have been unsuccessful in trying to reroute the noise,” said Mr. Sander, who added that he hoped to schedule a meeting with airport officials to discuss his concerns.

“North Haven exists because it is all about zoning and the code,” he said. “We want to make sure we continue to look at what we have in place and make sure the process for getting things done is fair, equitable, and makes sense.”

Ms. Skilbred, who served for 15 years on the North Haven Architectural Review Board, six of them as chairwoman, is seeking her third, two-year term.

“All of us take this job seriously, to preserve the quality of life here,” she said.

Ms. Skilbred is the village’s liaison to the Peconic Estuary Program and has worked to get the village tennis court resurfaced and is now working on updating its playground equipment. She also said she wants to work on getting solar panels installed on the roof of Village Hall.

Like the mayor, she said she wants “to get some peace for our residents by getting the helicopters to fly around” the village. “The only way to do it is to spread it around,” she said of the air traffic at East Hampton Airport. “I documented 55 going over North Haven last weekend and I wasn’t here the whole time.”

Ms. Skilbred agreed that continuing to keep an eye on the deer herd was important, as were efforts to protect the character of the village.

Trustee Jamie Davis, who was appointed to complete Mr. Sander’s term last year, is seeking a one-year term. He served on the ARB for seven years before being appointed.

Mr. Davis cited protecting the character of the village’s neighborhoods, pursing open space purchases, and controlling the deer population as obvious reasons for concern.

He said he would like to work on improving and “modernizing” the way the village communicates with its residents. Too often, he said, residents tell him they have learned about things only after it is too late.

Besides posting things in the newspaper and including them in a village newsletter, he said the village should explore using mass emails to keep residents informed.

He also said overseeing the village’s updated dock law would continue to occupy much of the board’s time in the coming year.

Tommy John Schiavoni, a lifetime resident of the village and a member of the village Zoning Board of Appeals, will join the North Haven Party hopefuls. He will replace Trustee George Butts who did not seek another term.

Mr. Schiavoni, 50, who teaches middle school and high school social studies in the Center Moriches School District, said on Tuesday that he wanted to take a wait-and-see attitude before commenting on issues facing the community.

“I’m looking forward to serving my community,” he said.

North Haven Adopts Budget with Little Fanfare

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Low budgets apparently equal low turnouts. Such was the case Tuesday in North Haven, where the village board received no comments when it held a hearing on a proposed $1.31 million budget that cuts spending by 4 percent.

Despite the reduction in spending, taxes will rise by 7 percent simply because the village, which has been dipping into its fund balance in recent years to hold taxes in check, has decided to put the brakes on that practice this year.

Last year, the village used nearly $370,000 from that balance to offset taxes. This year, it will use only $178,486.

“Over the years we have been using more and more fund balance due to lack of other revenues,” said Mayor Jeff Sander, who added that the board had decided to reduce the amount of reserve funds it was using by half. “The only other way to make up the difference is through taxes,” he said.

At a recent budget work session, Mr. Sander said the village, which is projecting a $690,000 fund balance at the end of the fiscal year, wants to maintain a fund balance of at least $500,000.

Even with the tax hike, the owner of a house valued at $1 million will pay about $56 in village taxes next year.

Mayor Sander said progress, while slow, is being made on the plan to place 4-Poster devices at various sites around the village in an effort to reduce tick-borne diseases. Four-Posters are feeding stations that require the deer to brush up against rollers that spread insecticide on their fur, killing ticks.

Installing the devices has been one part of the village’s strategy, along with the hiring of professional hunters, to cope with what officials say is a deer herd that is too large.

Mayor Sander said he has been inquiring of homeowner associations to see if any were willing to have 4-Posters in their developments and help underwrite the cost of the stations. While some have expressed a willingness to help out, the village is still awaiting a permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Chris Miller, a landscaper who has been helping the mayor negotiate the permit process, said he expected it to take about two months for the DEC to issue a permit. He said the village would be better off for the full number of stations in its initial permit application, even if it did not install them all at once.

One station should be enough to service an area of 40 to 60 acres, Mr. Miller said. The DEC also restricts the stations from being within 100 yards of a house or area where there are children, although if the stations are fenced in, the DEC might allow exceptions, he said.

Mayor Sander said the village might try to rent 4-Poster stations from Shelter Island, which has used them in the past. He said the village has no place to store them if it did buy its own stations.

The board held off on accepting a bid to replant the entire Route 114 traffic circle, which Summerhill Landscaping had offered to do for $5,565. The landscaping around the circle was damaged last winter when it was run over by a vehicle during a storm. Board members agreed they wanted the damage repaired but balked at the suggestion that all the plants needed to be replaced and agreed to first review the matter before approving the expenditure.

The board also agreed to hold a public hearing on May 6 to add persicaria perfoliata, also known as mile-a-minute weed, to a list of noxious plants that homeowners can eradicate without special permits.

That elicited a comment from a member of the sparse audience, who asked if the board had ever considered banning bamboo. Although the answer was no, board members discussed the problems rapidly spreading bamboo can cause to neighboring lawns and gardens.

 

Oh Deer! East End Wildlife Groups Plan “No Cull” Rally for Saturday

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By Tessa Raebeck

Plans to unleash federal sharpshooters on the East End deer population have been met with bureaucratic setbacks and vocal opposition, but are moving forward nonetheless.

In coordination with the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Long Island Farm Bureau (LIFB) plans to hire USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) sharpshooters to kill deer with high-powered rifles to cull the local herds.

In addition to carrying tick-borne illnesses, causing car accidents and adversely affecting other animal habitats, deer destroy an estimated $3 to $5 million worth of crops annually on the East End, according to Joe Gergela, LIFB executive director.

Gergela said the cull, which will be largely funded by a $200,000 state grant, aims to kill 1,500 to 2,000 deer. All processed meat will go to Island Harvest to feed the hungry on Long Island.

“We felt whatever we did with the grant should be for community as well as farming benefit,” Gergela said Wednesday, adding a cull is crucial to having a successful agricultural industry.

LIFB has asked that villages and towns who want the sharpshooters sign onto the program by committing $15,000 or $25,000, respectively.

The DEC has yet to reveal whether it will require a single permit for the program or make each municipality signing onto the program file individually. Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said Tuesday although many municipalities have expressed interest in joining the program, they don’t want the legal liability of having the permit in their name.

So far, East Hampton Village, Southold Town and the eastern part of Brookhaven Town have signed on.

North Haven Village opted out, but is pursuing its own organized cull.

Sagaponack Village’s participation is contingent on the participation of both East Hampton and Southampton towns.

Southampton Town has thus far stayed mute on the subject — which has been under public discussion since September. Calls to Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst were not returned as of press time.

The East Hampton Town Board, under the previous administration, adopted a deer management plan that included plans for a cull. On Tuesday, however, newly elected Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he was unsure if the town would, in fact, join the LIFB in this initiative.

“At the moment, it’s up in the air,” Cantwell said, adding he would like to see culling on a limited basis and there are advantages to participating, but the town’s decision will be based primarily on the opinions of its residents.

“To some extent,” said Cantwell, “this is happening fairly quickly in terms of building a community consensus moving forward.”

The East Hampton Group for the Wildlife, the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons and 13 individuals have filed suit against East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village and the East Hampton Town Trustees.

The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order against the town’s deer management plan and specifically, any proposal that calls for an organized cull.

“The lawsuit,” Cantwell said, “is certainly a factor in the decision-making process about this.”

Critics contend little information has been provided to show the cull is truly necessary.

“Killing other beings as a way of solving the problem is abhorrent, unethical and monstrous to me,” said East Hampton Group for the Wildlife President Bill Crain. “These are living beings with families and social lives and emotions, so to kill them just seems like a moral outrage.”

“It’s not about animal cruelty and all the nonsense that the Bambi lovers are spouting,” Gergela said. “If they would sit down and listen to people, they would realize there are no practical solutions other than to hunt or to cull.”

A petition on change.org to stop the “stealth plan to brutally slaughter 5,000 East End deer” had garnered over 10,600 signatures as of press time. In addition to local residents, activists from as far away as Belgium have signed the petition, which calls for the “unethical, ‘quick-fix,’ non-science-based plan” to “immediately cease and desist.”

A rally in protest of the cull will be held Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. at the Hook Mill in East Hampton.

Gergela dismissed the opposition as a “vocal minority” of non-locals with “no vested interest other than they enjoy animals and they enjoy their peaceful weekend on Long Island.”

“That’s very nice,” he added, “but for those of us that live here, whether you’re a farmer or a general citizen that’s had an accident, that has Lyme Disease or whatever, everybody says to me, ‘You’re doing a great thing.’”

Local hunters have also expressed their opposition to the cull, arguing if state and local governments lessened hunting restrictions, they themselves could thin the deer population.

Terry Crowley, a lifelong Sagaponack resident whose family has been hunting on the East End for generations, called the cull “a little ridiculous.”

“They should just change a few laws so more deer can be killed,” Crowley said Tuesday.

Thiele is working on legislation that would implement the state deer management plan, which has a number of recommendations to increase hunting opportunities, including expanding the January season to include weekends and allow bow and arrow hunting.

Cantwell voiced his support of such legislation.

“I certainly want to work with the local hunters who want to take deer,” the supervisor said Tuesday, “because I do think that removing some deer from the population on an ongoing basis is necessary to control the population.”

North Haven Considers Deer Management Solutions

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By Ellen Frankman

When it comes to the deer population in North Haven, it is no longer a question of to kill or not to kill. Residents and local officials are instead asking how many deer can be culled from the herd.

This week the Village of North Haven will release its first official deer management report, assembled by the village deer committee, a group formed last year amidst calls for deer and tick abatement. In the report, the committee put forth suggestions on how to best provide an effective reduction of the deer population in the village, with a secondary goal of reducing the tick population and thereby minimizing the impacts of tick-borne illnesses, which have grown increasingly prevalent over the last few years.

“I went to all of the major community heads and asked them to assign someone to work with us to look at the issues that we have had with deer,” said Jeff Sander, the newly elected mayor of North Haven, who has been a trustee on the village board for the last six years. Through those recommendations, Sander assembled a deer committee of 10 North Haven residents who scoured the Internet and investigated other towns’ methods of deer management in order to put forth an informed report.

“We met at least half a dozen times over the winter,” said Sander. “And we quickly came to the conclusion that there were a lot of different approaches we could take, many of which were not effective at all.”

Methods including birth control, trap and relocate, and fencing were all determined to be either ineffective or too costly.

The two approaches deemed plausible by the committee are the reduction of the deer herd through increased hunting in North Haven and the reducing of the density of ticks through the use of the 4-Poster program.

A 2013 aerial deer count found there to be 104 deer in the 2.6-mile peninsula of North Haven. That number has fallen considerably from just 1995, when local officials counted a deer population of around 450 before seasonal hunting was put into effect.

“I think hunting has done a pretty good job of maintaining the herd, not reducing it further,” said Sander. “Sometimes when hunters take one or two deer they have no need to hunt any more.” Sander believes that the deer population should be brought down to approximately 10 per square mile, which would amount to a total of 15 to 25 deer in North Haven.

“Evidence shows that when you get rid of the deer you get rid of the ticks,” said Sander, who along with the deer committee has investigated the culling practices on Fishers Island and Monhegan Island in Maine where a complete eradication of the deer population has significantly reduced the tick population. A recent tick count on North Haven has not been conducted recently, said Sander.

“One possibility we want to really discuss with the community is doing a controlled hunt on public land that the village owns and on large acreage of private homeowners,” said Sander, who said the village would also try to incorporate other successful techniques seen in Southold and Shelter Island, including deploying refrigerated trucks so that hunters could take more animals, and coordination with local butchers and food pantries to ensure that no meat would go to waste. The goal of a controlled hunt would be to kill as many deer as possible in order to bring the herd down to the target population of 15 to 25 animals.

“That’s deer genocide,” said North Haven resident Jan Scanlon. Scanlon has suffered from the alpha-gal meat allergy for eight years following a bite from a Lone Star tick, and although she recognizes something needs to be done, does not feel the eradication of the deer population is the answer.

Sander also recognizes the humane issues of wiping out a natural species, and so the 4-Poster program has also been brought to the table as a second viable option the mayor believes may be best used in tandem with a cull of the herd. The 4-Poster feeding stations attract deer with food and then put the animals in contact with permethrin, an effective tick killer.

“Personally, I’m skeptical about the 4-Poster,” said Sander. “I have a real issue with feeding the deer as an approach, and I question whether we could deploy enough units. But I am willing to support some 4-Posters in communities where people want them.”

Larry Baum, who represents North Haven Manor on the village deer committee, says he is one of the only committee members who actively supports the implementation of 4-Posters, which many find overly expensive, costing an estimated $240,000 to $250,000 per year to maintain for about 40 stations, which is the estimated number of stations the committee believes would be necessary to effectively cover the village.

“It is my personal opinion, that we should be looking at a two pronged approach, culling the deer herd and implementing the 4-Poster,” said Baum, who is personally concerned with the spread of tick-borne illness, particularly as a father of four children.

“The 4-Poster program has been very effective on Shelter Island,” said Baum. “They’ve eradicated about 98 percent of all ticks. The issue for North Haven is all about cost. For the most part people say we can’t afford it. The reality is if there are around 700 homes in North Haven, it would be around $200 or $250 a year to support the 4-Poster program.”

“That’s not even a night at the American Hotel,” said Scanlon. “I would gladly be taxed to be put in a position where we could somehow co-exist with our wildlife.”

Scanlon largely believes that the debate over deer control has become a political one over real estate values, and that local officials are failing to see what will be the inevitable long-term environmental consequences of diminishing the deer population to just a fraction of what it once was. She also believes there are consequences to uncontrolled use of pesticides in the area.

“I think what’s happening with the 4 Poster is that it contains permethrin, and I think that’s frightening to some people,” said Scanlon. “Even though we do broad spectrum spraying, which is even more frightening because your neighbor could be spraying without you knowing.”

Scanlon also believes that a culling of the deer population is a shortsighted quick fix to a long-term problem. “Then what about the squirrels, the rabbits, the birds? I think sometimes we just don’t have a future tense,” she said.

But Baum, Sander, and other members of the deer committee are adamant that 4-Posters cannot be used alone, lest the deer population grow further as a result of being fed by the units.

Shelter Island, which was a part of a study along with Fire Island into the effectiveness of the 4-Poster program, has reported significant success in reducing their tick population through the use of 4-Poster. Shelter Island resident Janalyn Travis was one of the original members of the tick task force and has since become the president of their locally created non-profit the Shelter Island Deer and Tick Management Foundation. Through the foundation and through public funding, Shelter Island raised the funds to purchase 60 4-Poster Units following a 2007 study that found the implementation of units effective.

“I spoke at the North Haven Village board meeting last fall, and tried to make a point of saying that the foundation is still active,” said Travis. “If people from North Haven want to donate to the foundation, those funds can be used specifically in that North Haven community.”

Travis explained that a culling of the deer population has also coincided with the implementation of 4-Posters on Shelter Island, as a small population of deer is necessary to carry out an effective 4-Poster program.

After getting their tick population under control, Shelter Island is currently only using about 14 to 15 4-Poster units. Though Travis believes a higher number of units should be deployed on alternating years, she also said that it would be possible for North Haven to rent their excess units.

“Why couldn’t we rent them or buy them from Shelter Island at a discounted price,” asked Baum. “That question needs to be asked an answered.”

On August 6, the next North Haven Village Board of Trustees meeting will be held, when such questions about the deer management plan can be addressed. Public participation and input will be taken into account, according to Sander, and the village board is looking for significant public input to determine in which direction the village should move.

“In the final analysis we want to listen to our neighbors and the board will vote,” said Sander. And until then, the debate goes on.

 

North Haven Village Appoints Deer Committee

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The North Haven Village Board unanimously appointed seven residents to its newly formed ad hoc deer committee, which will be chaired by trustee Jeff Sander.

The village board created the committee in an effort to study deer management strategies for the village in the wake of continued calls for tick abatement by some members of the North Haven community.

During its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 5, the village board appointed Larry Baum, Steve Hatfield, Susan Kinsella, Alexander Kriegsman, Joseph Kunzeman, Christopher Miller and David Saskas to the deer committee. In addition to Sander, Mayor Laura Nolan will also serve as an ex-officio member of the committee.

The committee will be charged with studying deer management strategies, including ways to reduce tick populations and Lyme disease and the reduction of the deer herd. According to the resolution, they must provide a report to the North Haven Village Board no later than April 9.

Resident Bill Brauninger asked the village board on Tuesday night to consider expanding its law regarding signs in North Haven and at the very least asked that the village ensure the existing sign laws were enforced.

Last year, in an effort to preserve the residential character of North Haven, the village board considered revamping its sign law. Village attorney Anthony Tohill went as far as to draft recommendations for the board to consider that would regulate signage, including banning illuminated signs or representational signs, regulating construction and real estate signs to 18-inches-by-24-inches, and only allowing one per site located no closer to the roadway than four feet from the front of a main building. He suggested that “sold” or “in contract” signs could also be prohibited.

Name signs would be regulated to two-square-feet and street numbers to one-square foot, although pre-existing signs would be able to remain until a property changed hands, under Tohill’s concept. Political signs would be allowed for 90 days, but not on the shoulder of the street, which is a public thoroughfare, he added.

However, some residents vocally opposed the concept of signage regulation and since last spring, the village board has not entertained a formal proposal to change existing sign laws.

On Tuesday, Brauninger said even the existing sign laws are being violated on a number of properties in the village and at the very least the village should ensure its code is being upheld.

Under the existing North Haven sign regulations, one non-illuminated nameplate or professional sign in an area not over two square feet is permitted as are real estate signs. However, under the code, each property is only entitled to one, non-illuminated sign either on the front of a residence or, if free standing like many real estate signs, is 25-feet away from any street line and 15-feet away from any property line.

Real estate signs must be immediately removed once a transaction has been completed, under the code.

Subdivision signs are also regulated under the code, and subdivisions are only entitled to one, non-illuminated sign not to exceed 10 square feet in area. They also must be 25-feet from a street line and 15-feet from a property line.

Brauninger said if residents or subdivisions have a problem complying with these regulations, the village should require them to apply for a variance from the North Haven Village Zoning Board of Appeals.

Noting that East Hampton Village has enacted stricter signage regulations, Nolan said she believed this was an issue that was still on the table for North Haven Village.

“I am right there with you,” agreed trustee E. Diane Skilbred.

In other news, the village board announced it will host its tax sale, if necessary, on March 19 at 10 a.m. The next North Haven Village Board meeting will be held on March 5 at 5 p.m. The village board will have a public hearing on a local law that will allow the village to pierce a two-percent property tax levy cap mandated by the State of New York, if necessary, in the 2013-2014 budget.

Tick Abatement Debate Wages On in North Haven Village

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Though ticks weren’t on the agenda at last Thursday’s North Haven Village Board meeting, several residents took to the podium to air grievances and share their feelings of being plagued by tick populations in the tiny village. They also demanded swift action from the board in combating ticks.

While Mayor Laura Nolan said the board has not “set any time frame” for taking action, she confirmed she and her fellow trustees were in the process of investigating the best ways to handle the tick problem.

In order to come to a decision, she explained, the board is “moving in a very measured way.”

Whether or not tick abatement will be specifically on the agenda at the next meeting has yet to be decided. However, Nolan confirmed that the board will update the public on its progress.

Meanwhile, the village board is “reading all the literature. We’re discussing finances [and] we’re discussing the science of it,” she explained.

“We are speaking to superiors, government officials in higher up positions. We are also taking this to a regional level… because North Haven is not alone in this problem,” Nolan added. “It’s the entire East End. It’s all of Eastern Suffolk.”

She also noted that any decisions made by the board would be the topic of a public hearing and would be posted in The Sag Harbor Express.

For residents at Thursday’s meeting, dealing with the pervasiveness of ticks — as well as what many of them refer to as an “epidemic” of Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses — is of the utmost importance.

Jack Flanagan, who has had Lyme Disease twice, told the board, “I know people who are getting sicker and sicker. So this is a public health issue, and it seems to have a bit of urgency in our minds.”

Residents Josephine De Vincenzi and Richard Gambino also spoke at the meeting, both for and against the idea of implementing a 4-Poster tick management plan in North Haven. The plan relies on dual-action feeding stations which are stocked with feed for deer and designed so that a powerful insecticide is applied to the animals’ necks as they eat.

In 2011, the Cornell Cooperative Extension finished a three-year study of the use of 4-Poster devices on Shelter Island, using North Haven Village as the control to assess tick populations. Researchers concluded there was a significant decline in tick populations in the testing areas when compared to the control samples in North Haven.

De Vincenzi has been in contact with Vincent Palmer, special assistant to the commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Palmer attended last month’s village board meeting and said the DEC was in favor of giving North Haven Village a license to use a 4-Poster tick management plan in the village.

“Mr. Palmer continues to stand by his statement that the 4-Poster Device is an amazing tool that is highly effective and a safe method for dramatically reducing tick populations,” said De Vincenzi.

But according to Gambino, some individuals have been misquoting studies about the method and making claims that do not actually appear in reports.

“There is no evidence anywhere in the 4-Poster experiment that it reduces the incidence of any disease — Lyme disease or any other disease,” asserted Gambino. “The idea that you’re going to eliminate 95 percent of ticks anywhere — North Haven or [elsewhere] — is quixotic. If you know anything about ticks, they multiply like crazy.”

Gambino added, “According to the EPA, permethrin [the insecticide used in 4-Poster devices] is highly toxic to fish, cats, honeybees and other insects that are beneficial to us.”

As the merits of the 4-Poster system are being debated, another alternative brought up at the meeting was the culling of the deer herd, which is already a method practiced by the Village of North Haven.

While De Vincenzi likened hunting deer to “killing your neighbor’s Golden Retriever,” she agreed the deer population in North Haven presents a threat.

“A multiple approach needs to be pursued that should include not only the culling of the deer, but also the use of products…to control the Lyme vector in the white-footed mouse population, and the proven technology of the 4-Poster Program,” she said.

The next North Haven Village board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 2 at 5 p.m.

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 To Discuss Potential For “Sign Ban”

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By Claire Walla

Should they stay or should they go?

For North Haven Village Trustees, signage has been a big topic of interest. Not only has it recently prompted trustees to entertain the notion of amending village code to more clearly delineate what does and does not constitute a sign, but the topic has also caused trustees to wonder whether the village could eliminate signage altogether.

At the next trustees’ meeting on Tuesday, March 6, village board members will meet with the village’s attorney, Anthony Tohill, to discuss the various options before them. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 5 p.m.

The idea of barring signs was first brought up by Trustee Jeff Sander during the village’s last meeting in February.

“I don’t think signs add anything to the environment and the beauty of the community,” he said in an interview this week.

Village Clerk Georgia Welch said the village hears numerous complaints from people in the community regarding what they apparently perceive to be excessive signage. In 26 years on the board, she added that she’s heard this complaint year after year.

“We keep trying to wrestle with [zoning] regulations and [sign] size, that takes a lot of time and thought,” Sander continued. “And enforcing whatever you pass is very difficult. I just think the community would be better served if we eliminated them.”

Sander clarified that any proposed ban would not include necessary signs, like street names and home addresses. It would be aimed more at curbing the excess of real estate and construction advertisements.

According to Welch, the village has long struggled with these structures.

“They just get too heavy,” she said. “Especially when you have a large project on a county road — that’s highly visible. [Residents] think it looks ugly.”

She then added, “When you already have a construction project going on, you don’t need signs peppered up and down the dirt hills.”

The notion of amending the village’s sign code has been discussed in this sense for years, but it was spurred in earnest at the beginning of this year when a North Haven resident complained of a homemade wooden sign that had been displayed at the corner of Route 114 and Maunakea.

“That precipitated the entire discussion,” Welch explained.

The structure, which has since been taken town, was a block of wood into which the address number, “144 Ferry Road,” was carved with big block letters. Though some trustees remarked at the size of the sign, at issue was its location.

“There was a question of whether or not it was on village property,” Welch added.

As for how this type of sign will be viewed by the village, Sander said at this point that will largely be contingent on what Tohill will bring to the table. At the trustees’ meeting last month, Tohill said he could not recall any other municipalities that had issued an all-out ban on signs, but he’s bringing his findings to the meeting on Tuesday.

“At this point, I think it’s going to be a legal question,” Sander continued. Based on some correspondences he said he had with some lawyers, Sander said there may be some issues of “freedom of speech” at hand.

“[Tohill] will have information for us about whether we can really do this, or not,” he added.

North Haven Considers Doing Away With Signs

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North Haven adjusted

By Claire Walla


Typically, when a home is for sale, a house is under construction, or a front yard displays second-hand items for sale at a reasonable price, signs will be posted to communicate that.

But at a North Haven Village Board meeting last Tuesday, January 7, village trustees considered something different: what if they weren’t?

“I think we should do away with all signs,” said Trustee Jeff Sander. He clarified this proposed change by saying such an ordinance would exclude street signs (which are not under the village’s jurisdiction) and street addresses. “It just makes it so much simpler if you do away with [signs].”

The board has been considering amending its sign code since December, when a village resident complained about a handmade, wooden sign, which reads “144 Ferry Road,” that was displayed at a residence near the North Haven traffic circle, at the corner of Ferry Road and Maunakea Street. The sign, hand-carved and larger than the average real-estate sign, became the object of discussion for its size and its close proximity to the road.

Village Attorney Anthony Tohill helped to draft a newer version of this section of town code, which was considered at the board’s last meeting in January. However, after board members discussed a desire to impose stricter sign enforcement, Tohill will now go back to the drawing board and consider whether North Haven will be able to do away with signs altogether.

“I’m not even sure a total prohibition on signs is permitted [by law],” Tohill continued. “I’ll have look into it.”

Though members of the board expressed interest in banning all signs — including real estate signs — they also recognized that the reality is more nuanced than that. Sander pointed out that North Haven does include one commercial business, which he said would need to have signage; and Trustee Jim Smythe brought up the fact that the village bounds are marked by the village’s own signs.

“One of the problems with sign regulations is you want to keep them more simple than complicated, and say less than more,” Tohill explained. “Trying to cover too many bases causes more problems.”

Tohill explained he is familiar with sign restrictions currently in effect in both Southampton Village and Westhampton Beach, and he will use those regulations as a reference for drafting an updated version of North Haven’s sign code that takes the trustees’ concerns into consideration.


In other news…


At it’s next meeting on Tuesday, March 6, the North Haven Village Board will consider a local law to allow village trustees to override the state-imposed tax levy limit.

“Enactment of an override is virtually standard,” Village Attorney Anthony Tohill said. He went on to explain that the downturn in the U.S. economy has had a particularly strong impact on local municipalities. So, especially for a district like North Haven, which depends largely on housing tax revenues, overriding the tax levy cap might be imperative for preventing the village from dipping into its reserve funds.

While Village Clerk Georgia Welch noted that the village hasn’t raised the tax rate in the past six years, Mayor Laura Nolan said the village has recently seen an even bigger decline in revenues from the building department.

Nolan said that according to the village’s building department, which issues permits for new construction projects in the village, there wasn’t even one new structure reported last month.

“That was the lightest building inspector’s report since I’ve been at the village,” she said. “I don’t think we’re going to reach our anticipated income through the building department.”

While enacting this local law would allow the village to override the tax cap, Nolan added that this law would not mean that the village would necessarily do so. “We would just be able to do it, if necessary,” she said.