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New website, building inspector for Dering Harbor

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor Village Hall

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor Village Hall

The mayor won’t be governing via Twitter and the Board of Trustees won’t be live-streaming meetings from stately Village Hall.

But Dering Harbor is entering the digital age thanks to a homeowner who won the approval of the board on February 18 to design and launch an official village website, just in time to announce the hiring of a new building inspector.

Bridgford Hunt will work with the village’s part-time administrative aide, Laura Hildreth, to create a site where basic information ­— meeting agendas, minutes, local codes ­— can be made easily accessible to the public.

Village residents, who often communicate on controversial matters via mass emails, have long requested that the Village improve the flow of pertinent information. Mr. Hunt, general manager of North Ferry, has argued that communication by email may exclude certain residents and that a website would provide a more equitable means of communication. The board’s vote to approve Mr. Hunts offer to volunteer his services was met with applause from the residents in attendance.

A privately-run website has been in existence in Dering Harbor for several years, but is not sanctioned by the Village and does not include up to date information.

The newly-hired building inspector already has a case on his docket — signing off on alterations to previously approved plans for a backyard project on a property that recently changed ownership.

George E. Butts III was hired at the meeting to replace Al Daniels, who is retiring after serving in the part-time position for many years.

Mayor Tim Hogue told the board that Mr. Butts, who owns a contracting company and works part-time as the building inspector for North Haven. He has served in numerous municipal positions and elected offices in Sag Harbor and North Haven, as did his father, George E. Butts Sr., who at one time was animal control officer for Shelter Island.

Mr. Butts will be paid $3,000 per year plus $75 for each trip he makes to Island; his ferry fare will be covered by the Village.

His first assignment will be to review proposed alterations to previously approved plans for a swimming pool and tennis court.

The new owners want to forego the tennis court and instead extend the length of the pool, Mr. Hogue said. After Mr. Butts signs off, the plans will be vetted by the Architectural Review Board at a meeting tentatively scheduled for March 18.

In other business, the mayor reported that steps to open more areas to deer hunting by making village-owned property available and encouraging homeowners to allow hunters onto private properties appear to have helped reduce the local deer herd; a request for bids has been issued for the replacement of the village’s aging water tank, a project that is to be funded by a no-interest state loan; and neighbors have complained again about violation of weekend building restrictions at the spec house going up at 1 Dering Woods Lane.