Mayor Timothy Hogue reported on a number of current village matters at a brief Board of Trustees meeting in Village Hall on Saturday, November 16.
• All about water: The Suffolk County Department of Health Services has requested a progress report on three water-related issues — the recently installed new #2 well, prospects for purchasing a generator and the repair or purchase of a new water tank.
Through Water Commissioner Hap Bowditch, the village has a good relationship with the county health department, the mayor said, and will be able to respond to all three areas. In addition to hooking up the new well, the village is seeking funding to offset the expense of a new tank, estimated to cost approximately $250,000. A New York State 30-year loan at a low interest rate is one possibility.
The tank, which is not an immediate problem, does have rust spots, the mayor said. A new lining would solve that problem but would cost more than replacing the tank.
• Dry wells: The mayor said he had asked Town Highway Supervisor Jay Card Jr. for advice regarding the replacement of dry wells at two locations — Land’s End and near Rob Ferris’s property to offset his driveway’s flooding problems. Mr. Ferris, who was in the audience, agreed that it would be helpful to discuss the possible options with Mr. Card.
• Recreational setbacks: The mayor reviewed all the meetings, correspondence and discussions over the past few months about whether or not to change the zoning code to permit setbacks of less than 75 feet for recreational uses such as pools and tennis courts.
He said he had charged the trustees to make a decision this month about proposing a change in the code — or not.
After due consideration, he said, the consensus was to leave the code as written. “One resident,” who would benefit from a shorter setback, “is driving the issue,” Mr. Hogue said, and while that was entirely appropriate, it was felt that this particular situation and others like it could be referred to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance and was not sufficient reason to change the law.
Resident Patrick Parcells, one of six residents in the audience, attempted to raise some other related issues concerning residence in the B residential district, but Mr. Hogue said there had already been enough discussion on the subject. Why not vote on it, Mr. Parcells asked.
It’s not a question of changing the law, Mr. Hogue said.
• Hedges: Mr. Hogue referred to a request from Esther Hunt, brought up at the October meeting, to establish a maximum height for hedges along Shore Road to ensure open water views. He noted that there were no existing laws on the books regarding hedge height, except at the corners of roadways — established for safety reasons.
Mr. Hogue suggested that residents could be asked to voluntarily cooperate with keeping hedges low, although Mrs. Hunt said that wouldn’t necessarily be consistent. The mayor added that the Architectural Review Board had mandated that one Shore Road resident proposed hedges be kept at no more than 3 feet high. Mr. Parcells asked if a maximum height shouldn’t be required for all village residents, not just some. Mr. Hogue said that those in the interior of the village had hedges for privacy; the suggestion for Shore Road has to do with providing open vistas for the public.
• Contact information: Mr. Hogue announced that the village clerk was in the process of updating the information about who to contact in case of an emergency, particularly since many owners are not in residence over the winter.
James Goldman, who was at the meeting, wanted to make sure his companion, Debbie Rodriquez, would be on the list — he also said she wanted to speak to the board. Ms. Rodriquez started to bring up the question of her voting status at the June village elections — a subject raised by Mr. Goldman at the October meeting and subsequently answered in part by the village attorney. Mr. Hogue cut her off; “This is not the place for this discussion,” he said. “You’re out of order.”
On her way out of the meeting, Ms. Rodriquez said to this reporter, “We have never threatened a law suit … we just wanted an explanation.”
The next meeting of the board was scheduled for 10 a.m. on December 21 in Village Hall.