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Dering Harbor: Hedges too high, fees too low

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor Village Hall.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Dering Harbor Village Hall.

The Dering Harbor Village Board of Trustees will continue discussions over the winter about the height of hedges in the village and raising fees charged for permit reviews.

But decisions on the issues won’t be forthcoming until seasonal residents return in the spring, Mayor Tim Hogue said at the board meeting Saturday.

“We should continue to talk in the winter, but should take no action until more people are around,” he told board members and four residents in attendance at Village Hall.

Villagers have expressed concerns about the encroachment of hedges onto village property, hazards posed where hedges block sight lines along narrow roads and loss of scenic vistas, he said. John Colby suggested from the audience that some deeds in the village may limit the height of hedges.

Mr. Hogue asked Mr. Colby to provide any information about such restrictions. Meantime, the mayor said he will continue to encourage homeowners to trim their hedges.

“I spoke to one individual but we have not arrived at a successful conclusion regarding lowering the hedges,” he said.

Regarding fees, the board will consider increasing charges for building permit applications to cover the added cost of stenography services that were lately instituted at Architectural Review Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings due to the increased complexity of projects coming before the boards, the mayor said.

“This is to protect ourselves and the applicant in terms of being accurately recorded,” he added, noting the notes “are instructive. If a member is making suggestions for applicants, having it in writing is helpful.”

Currently, the village fees are based on the expected cost of the projects starting at $150 for work of $5,000 or less to $850 for projects of $75,000 or more, whether the job is a small extension or a new house built from scratch.

In other business: The village has received the first installment of $125,000 in expected Federal Emergency Management Agency relief funds for repairs due to storm damage at the Julia Dodd Creek culvert. The first check, $83,250 from New York State, will be passed along to Costello Marine of Greenport, which made the repairs, Mr. Hogue said.

He commended Village Water Commissioner Hap Bowditch Jr. for work done on the new well, which is complete and awaiting approval from the Suffolk County Health Services Department. Village Clerk Laura Hildreth was praised for quickly turning around the village application for a state grant to cover the cost of a new water tank. It will replace one built in the 1950s and a generator being sought at the county’s behest to improve emergency preparedness.

The village shares a generator with the Fire Department, Mr. Houge said, but “the health department is strongly recommending that we have our own.”

If the grant application is approved, the state would pay 25 percent of the cost of the new generator and water tower and provide an interest-free loan for the remainder. Initial estimates for the work range from $300,000 to $500,000, he said.

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