Featured letter of the week: A village in name only


To the Editor:

Thank you for the recent article highlighting the Village of Dering Harbor (“A small world, after all,” September 12). It presents a very balanced view on the issues that the village faces. However, it omits several salient facts.

1. Dering Harbor, at 11 residents as of the the 2010 census, is by far the smallest village in the State of New York.

2. The State of New York has banned the formation of new villages smaller than 500 people because of the high “per resident” costs of providing village services. The micro-village of Dering Harbor survives only because it is grandfathered in.

3. Dering Harbor provides no serious services to its residents except water and garbage, both easily privatized, worth maybe $400 per year. Village residents rely on the Town of Shelter Island for fire, police, schools, library, recreation, and so on. There is no village center.No iconic church spire, There is no general store. There is no recreation hall. There are no children’s programs. There is no beach. There is no dock. There is no tennis court. There is one planned community event — a cocktail party in July. It is not a village in the Norman Rockwell sense. It’s a summer co-op board. And it’s hurting property values by at least 30 percent.

4. Dering Harbor’s tax rates are six times higher than those at the next highest comparable village, North Haven. Are Dering Harbor resident receiving six times the services?

The idea that the “Village” and its four boards and architectural review board props up property values is simply an unsupportable myth.

Would you pay more for a house with a higher tax bill and overregulation by boards made up entirely of direct next door neighbors? Little Ram and Norstrand are other just as, or more valuable, lovely neighborhoods that don’t have a non-services, solely regulatory village government layer and its accompanying 40 percent additional tax load and they’re managing just fine. Couldn’t Dering Harbor do the same? It simply begs the question on so many levels of, “When is small too small.”
Shelter Island