Dering Harbor: Speed limits, new well on village agenda

REPORTER FILE PHOTO: The Village of Dering Harbor trustees discussed a full agenda at Village Hall during its December meeting.

The Village of Dering Harbor trustees and about a dozen residents had a first look on Saturday, December 15 at a draft of a proposed local law that would set speed limits at 25 mph on at least 12 village roads.

The board had discussed at previous meetings the safety issues raised by speeding on village roads and had considered setting a 20-mph limit. Village attorney Joe Prokop explained, however, that state law only permits 20-mph limits under certain circumstances — in school zones, for example. Mayor Tim Hogue commented that he would “like to get our speed limit down to the lowest possible speed” allowable.

The local law will be subject to a public hearing before the trustees take a vote on whether or not to enact it.

Mr. Hogue announced that he had made a renewed effort to solicit bids for a village well, as recommended by the Suffolk County Department of Health. As a result, one bid for $58,000 had been received since the last meeting at which time there had been no responses. Mr. Hogue said the board would “continue to look at this.” It may be necessary to float a five-year bond, he said, noting that the village was carrying very little debt at this time.

There was considerable discussion regarding Patrick Parcells’ application to install a gate in an opening of his beech hedge at Havens and Manhasset roads. At the board’s November meeting, action on whether or not to forward the application to the Architectural Review Board (ARB)  for its consideration was deferred until later. At issue at Saturday’s meeting, was Mr. Hogue’s opinion that the application ran contrary to the provisions of a conservation easement that had been enacted between Mr. Parcells and the Peconic Land Trust at the time of the subdivision of Oriole Farm. Two sections of the document in particular, he said, would seem to preclude building the proposed gate.

Mr. Parcells suggested again at Saturday’s meeting that the PLT have a look at the plans. The PLT is not the final arbiter, the mayor said — changing the terms of the agreement would be up to the Planning Board.

Mr. Parcells reiterated that there had been a driveway at that location before and there had been a break in the hedge since that time. The proposed gate would be used only for pedestrian traffic, Mr. Parcells said. While the aesthetics of the gate , particularly its size, was questioned at the November meeting, that was a separate issue, the mayor said on Saturday.

Susannah Rose, a newly appointed ARB member, commented from the audience that she had read the deed of conservation easement and while she would not personally have a problem with installing a gate at the location, the document “is what it is” and would seem to preclude that from happening. Trustee Linda Adams said it was the board’s obligation to follow the terms of the legal document, “regardless of the opinion of the document.” She suggested that a legal opinion from the PLT could be taken into consideration.

After further discussion, the board voted unanimously not to forward the application to the ARB for review. Mr. Hogue said the board would, however, “keep an open mind going forward.” Mr. Parcells was encouraged to present the board with any further documentation, such as PLT’s legal opinion. The trustees will look at what steps would be necessary to legally amend the easement agreement, which might require going back to the Planning Board to re-negotiate the terms of the agreement.

Other business
• The board unanimously approved Mr. Hogue’s recommendation that Bob Ruttenberg be appointed to serve on the Village Planning Board.•

• The mayor distributed a calendar of meeting dates for 2013. There will be no meeting in January; the next meeting will be held on Saturday, February 16 at 10 a.m.

• Kevin Lynyak’s application for landscaping around a pool and tennis court, which included an arbor, pool house and hedges, was unanimously approved by the trustees for consideration by the Architectural Review Board.

Note: The ARB, chaired by Heather Brownlie, approved the application at its December 15 meeting immediately following a public hearing during which there were no dissenting comments. Mr. Lynyak’s property is located at 9 Shore Road. The board added one caveat to its approval: that the pool house could not be used for living space.