Dering Harbor: Concerns about water dominate village agenda

Drainage and problems of flooding continue to plague Yoco and Shore Roads, a situation aggravated by recent rainfalls, and the Village Board at its Saturday, October 20 meeting weighed solutions.

Jeff Starzee told the board on Saturday that a berm he had built when he planted hedges for the Lynyaks along Shore Road had contributed to the pooling problem on the roadway. He told the trustees he had dug down in the area and found soil hardened into clay, inhibiting drainage. He recommended installing a “French drain” along the hedge line —  digging a trench 25 feet long, 2 inches wide and 2 inches deep, removing the clay and filling it in with gravel. That would allow water to drain off three to four times faster than it does now, he said.

Mr. Starzee estimated the work would cost about $900.

After some discussion, the board agreed to go ahead with the project and it was assured by Mr. Starzee that the Lynyaks were agreeable to any solution.

Mayor Tim Hogue commented that, if the drain works, it might also be a solution for the flooding problems on resident Karen Kelsey’s driveway.

Still on the subject of water, the mayor announced that the Suffolk County Department of Health had finally given the go-ahead for the second well the village is planning and that requests for proposals had been sent out, with early November deadline. By the next meeting, Mr. Hogue said, the board would be in a better position to know if it would be necessary to issue bonds to cover the cost.

Earlier this month, a resident’s well had backed up; although the problem was dealt with quickly, the mayor said, it prompted him to get out a survey of residents who rely on their own wells or who draw on village water. Wells used exclusively for irrigation were not a factor, the mayor said.

ROAD RECOMMENDATIONS

Mr. Hogue followed up on earlier discussions of safety on Shore Road with the announcement that the speed bumps he had recommended trying out on a temporary basis did not have a channel for bicycles. He is looking at other alternatives, he said, and in a “worse case scenario,” the village could “just extend the type we have” along the entire length of Shore Road.

To eliminate the driver confusion and traffic caused by the two roads with the same name — the village’s Shore Road and Shore Road at Crescent Beach — resident Jason Weisenfeld suggested at an earlier meeting that there might be a way to update the mapping data used by GPS receivers to address the problem. He told the trustees at Saturday’s meeting that it could be done for a very nominal fee and might help people distinguish between Dering Woods Road and Dering Woods Lane as well.

Another safety concern had been the lack of visibility on Manhansett Road, on the curve leading into the village. Residents John Colby and Karen Kelsey commented on what a difference cutting back the vegetation had made — for the better.

RECREATIONAL SETBACKS

In September, Mr. Hogue has asked Mr. Colby to look into this issue and the village code requirement that there should be a 75-foot setback from the property line for swimming pools and tennis courts. The provision was adopted, he said, because some pools on smaller lots tended to be noisy and affected “the quality of life” of neighbors. Existing pools were grandfathered, he explained, leaving more recent residents to deal with the more restrictive regulations.

Mr. Colby’s letter to the board with a preliminary recommendation was read at Saturday’s meeting. He suggested that the code might make a distinction between setbacks for properties in the “A” zone residential district (lots of 3 acres) and “B” district (lots of 1 and 1 1/2 acres).

There will be public discussion of the issue, Mr. Hogue said, before any change in the village code is proposed.

OTHER BUSINESS

• ZBA appointment: Mr. Hogue said that the board had gone “back and forth” on the appointment to the Zoning Board of Appeals, failing to reach consensus on a replacement for the position of chair of the ZBA, left vacant by the late Bridg Hunt. In the meantime, the mayor said, interim Chair John Colby had agreed to continue for the time being with a board of four, rather than five members.

Jim Goldman asked from the audience what the appointment process was and why the delay. Mr. Hogue responded that the appointment is up to the mayor with the approval of the trustees. He said the delay was not caused by a disagreement on the board but a failure to arrive at consensus — and the absence of one of the trustees.

• FAA petition: Mr. Hogue distributed copies of a letter to the Federal Aviation Authority, signed by East End state, county, town and village officials in support of an alternative south shore route for Long Island helicopter traffic. While helicopter noise has not had a negative impact on Dering Harbor residents, it has affected residents on the south end of Shelter Island and has become an issue on both forks. Both Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty and Mayor Hogue are signatories.

• Gate/Fence application: the trustees agreed to forward an application from Patrick Parcells to the Architectural Review Board for consideration. Mr. Parcells is proposing to install a gate in an arched opening in his hedge, located just south of the intersection of Havens and Manhansett roads. The opening in the hedge was once a driveway onto the property, no longer in use except for pedestrian traffic.

• Ressler/Baker dispute: In response to a question from Kirk Ressler, who attended Saturday’s meeting, Mr. Hogue said he had spoken again to Martha Baker about the on-going dispute over the Bakers’ parking on their driveway/apron, which is considered village property. He said Ms. Baker is open to considering parking alternatives.

• Board agenda: Trustee Linda Adams requested time to make some comments at the end of the meeting about village governance in general and the protocol involving the board’s meeting agendas. At a previous meeting, the board had agreed, in response to residents’ requests, that an agenda would be posted on the Thursday prior to a Saturday meeting.

Providing an agenda was not required by the state, she explained. The village has clerical help only one day a week on Thursdays and there were a number of other demands on the village clerk’s time. Mr. Goldman said from the floor that an agenda might not be required but that was no reason for not making them available.

The village clerk can get an agenda out on Thursday, Ms. Adams said, but “maybe not by 9:05 a.m.” Mr. Goldman said he was satisfied with this response.

Mr. Weisenfeld asked a related question about process — how a resident gets an item on the agenda. Mr. Hogue said that to be considered, agenda items should be received in the office by the Wednesday, or earlier, before Saturday’s meeting. He will provide residents with the clerk’s Village Hall email address.

The next meeting of the board will be held on Saturday, November 17 at 10 a.m.

The board adjourned and went into executive session to discuss candidate applications for appointment to the ZBA. The board did not reconvene in regular session.