Tag Archive | "north haven village"

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Village Attorney Anthony Tohill helped to draft a newer version of this section of town code, which was considered at the board’s last meeting in January.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.

North Haven May Go Solar

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By Claire Walla

This year, the Village of North Haven budgeted for roof repairs at its village hall. But, based on discussions at a board meeting on Tuesday, the village aims to do more than replace its wooden shingles.

The village board heard a presentation by trustee Diane Skilbred, who — along with village building inspector Al Daniels and resident Jamie Davis — is part of a committee formed to investigate the prospect of outfitting village hall with solar panels.

“We’re aiming to get about 80 to 100 percent of our electric bill” taken care of by the solar panels, Skilbred explained.

This estimate is based on informational meetings the committee had set-up with three local companies: Green Logic, Sun-Nation and NRG (which stands for Nationwide Renewables Group).

Skilbred said the village can expect to pay somewhere between $70,000 and $90,000 to install solar panels. However, she added that the entire cost of the project is impossible to pinpoint now. The price tag is expected to be offset by rebates issued retroactively to solar energy companies through the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). The rebate rate is currently set at 2.75 Kilowatts an hour, which means that, in the end, North Haven Village will pay roughly $35,000 for the project.

However, Village Clerk Georgia Welch emphasized that this dollar amount is only based on LIPA’s current rate. It could very well change over time, especially given the time frame for this particular project. Welch said it would probably take about four months to get a resolution passed to begin construction on solar panels. Right now, the village is in a very preliminary stage of the process.

Skilbred spoke to the benefits of going solar by adding that the panels would be good for up to 25 years, and that the village should expect to see a return on its investment after 11 years.

Plus, she added, “it sets a good example [for residents].”

The village board voted on Tuesday in favor of spending up to $5,000 to pay for project proposals from each company. Welch said she expected the bids to come back in January.

In other news…

Mayor Laura Nolan reported that the village ended up paying roughly $30,000 for storm clean-up efforts in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. The village hired two extra part-time workers, Mark Daniels and Joseph Labrozzi, who ended up hauling garbage away at $75 a trip; they made about 42 trips in total. Village Clerk Georgia Welch said the village is still waiting to hear back from FEMA to see whether some of that cost will be reimbursed.

Unlike the rest of Southampton Town, which will see a limited leaf pick-up program this year, North Haven Village Trustees voted to implement their program this year just as last year. Pick up will commence on two dates this fall: November 14 and December 5.

The village also approved the hire of Laura Hildreth, who will continue efforts to help the village move information from paper to electronic documents.

“This is the third and final phase [of the project],” Welch explained, adding that is expected to be completed by this summer, just as she had predicted. Hildreth will be paid $35 an hour for six hours a day, three days a week from October 3, 2011 through May 1, 2012.

Chickens Are Legal in Sag Harbor

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On Tuesday night, Sag Harbor resident Mare Dianora sat in the front row of the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting with a virtual library of books on raising chickens and building coops in her lap. Her young son Finny, came into the board room clutching a stuffed chicken he has brought to some four meetings to wish his mother luck on the approval of a proposed law she has championed to make it legal for residents to raise and keep chickens in Sag Harbor.

Neither Finny nor Dianora left disappointed.

With only one resident questioning aspects of the law, although supportive of the measure overall, the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees officially made it legal. Residents can now raise and keep chickens and bantams, a small variety of poultry, on their properties.

The law allows people in the residential districts of the village to keep up to six chickens per 20,000 square-feet of lot area, or just shy of a half acre of land. Residents will not be able to have more than 18 chickens on their property, regardless of its size, and the sale of any poultry items, including eggs is prohibited.

The intent of the law is to allow families like Dianora’s the ability to raise their own poultry for fresh eggs and fertilizer.

As trustee Robby Stein illustrated with a large plastic figure of a rooster and smaller version of a chicken, roosters are expressly forbidden under the new law, which has been lauded by the board with little protest from residents since Dianora proposed the legislation in April.

The law allows the keeping of poultry as a special exception use — meaning residents will have to apply to the building department and will need approval from the village planning board before they can start raising their broods. Coops or any structures used to house the animals are limited to 100 square-feet or 10 feet in height and must be kept in the rear yard. A coop must also meet a 20-foot setback to the property line and any outdoor pen must meet the standard for an accessory structure, keeping a distance of 10-feet from the property line – an issue clarified by the board at the questioning of resident Peter Price.

According to Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr., the legislation is nearly identical to a law adopted in North Haven Village last year, after Brett and Kristin Morgan successfully lobbied that village board for the right to keep chickens on their property.

After the meeting, Dianora said she planned to apply for her coop and chickens through the village building department as soon as possible, meaning Finny will soon have more than a stuffed chicken to cuddle.

Dianora added that throughout the process she was actually surprised more members of the public didn’t come forward in opposition to the law, but that it spoke of the community’s commitment.

“I felt there was a great deal of support from the community in the people I have spoken to along the way,” she said. “We are very excited and hope to be taking care of chickens very shortly.”

North Haven Village Tax Sale

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By Marissa Maier

The North Haven Village Board is getting ready to hold their annual tax sale, when potential investors are allowed to bid on delinquent taxes on properties in the village. Georgia Welch, the village clerk, noted at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting that two parcels fit this bill. One tax bill is for around $530, while the other is roughly $650, pointed out Welch.
“It is an annual thing that every municipality that collects taxes does. Any time there are lien taxes that run almost a whole year late by law a municipality can sell the taxes that are due to anyone who wants to buy them,” explained village mayor Laura Nolan.
The tax sale business can be extremely profitable as the investor who pays the taxes then owns an interest in the property. The investor also must be paid back their initial investment plus one percent interest for every month the debt goes unpaid.
“It is a type of investment,” noted Nolan. However, those in the tax sale business often buy bundles of delinquent taxes in larger areas and earn thousands, whereas in North Haven one would make only a few dollars, remarked Welch.
“It isn’t worth the effort,” said Welch. “In other townships, people will buy them all up and make a nice tight profit.”
Trustee Jeff Sander wondered how the village would sell the delinquent taxes. Welch answered they would be sold on a first come first served basis, but added the delinquent taxes have never been sold. Apparently, a man in the tax sale business visited the village last year to check out the delinquent properties but quickly lost interest when he saw how marginal the tax bills were. Notice of the tax sale must be published three times, with the last date being March 11.Welch noted that the actual tax sale will be held on Tuesday, March 16.

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 Fed-Up With Abandoned Boats

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On Tuesday, June 2, The North Haven Village Board of Trustees presented a draft for a local law pertaining to boat storage. Once the summer season ends, residents often abandon their kayaks, sailboats, hobie-cats, canoes and dinghies at the end of Sunset Beach Road.
The draft law stipulates that the village will grant boat permits for the storage of boats on village beaches. Once a permit is granted, the boat owner will be given a registration sticker to be placed on the boat. The boat must be removed from beaches by October 31. Boats left on the beach after this date will be considered abandoned and the village will have the right to sell these boats or destroy them.
The village will hold a public hearing on the law on Tuesday, July 7, at 5 p.m.
In addition to legislation on abandoned boats, John Jermain Memorial Library Director Cathy Creedon visited the board to present plans for the library’s expansion, which will be up for a referendum vote on June 29.
Trustee James Morrissey, a self-proclaimed regular patron of the library, asked why the library couldn’t build on the Union Street side of the property to add additional space. Creedeon responded by saying the small stretch of greenery by Union Street is the best position for the library’s cesspool.
Morrissey went on to raise concerns about a lack of parking, especially when the library hosts group meetings and special events. Creedon said a parking analysis revealed there are almost 65 spaces within a block and a half radius of the building. She added that patrons are often more concerned with safely crossing the street — as the library lies at a busy intersection — than finding parking.
Trustee Jeff Sander asked if the library was exploring other sources of funding in addition to taxpayer money. Creedon said she was actively pursuing private donations and grant money.
“A lot of people are waiting until after the referendum [to commit funding],” Creedon said of private donors.
The board appeared receptive to the building plans and referendum.