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Charges leveled at Dering Harbor Board

A controversy erupted this week as Dering Harbor’s former mayor charged that nearly all the current Village Board Trustees have a conflict of interest involving the proposed changes to the village’s construction law.

John Colby contacted the Reporter regarding the exemption given to Gardiner’s Bay Country Club (GBCC) from the provision, which limits noise-producing work at certain hours.

Mr. Colby, who is a member of GBCC, stated that Trustees Morgan, Parcells, Benecerraf and Kelsey-Ferris were club members, and as such were benefiting from the exemption to the proposed law. Gardiner’s Bay has three holes that fall within the Village.

“I don’t believe we are conflicted at all,” said Mayor Betsy Morgan. “We never discussed anyone’s status as members. We had believed that the golf course was already exempt. It was an oversight that was corrected.”

The board advised GBCC that they had carved out an exemption for the club; the proposed regulation also provides a two-hour carve-out for homeowners, mainly in response to Mr. Colby’s complaints.

“Our goal was to come up with a solution that works best for everyone,” she said. “Different attempts to address noise on summer weekends and evenings have been proposed and discussed for over a decade.”

The proposed change is slated for a vote at this Saturday’s 9 a.m. board meeting. According to Mayor Morgan, the first public hearing on the law was held in October and it has been discussed at all regularly scheduled Board meetings since then.

“John Colby has not attended any of the meetings where the proposed changes to this law have been discussed,” the mayor said. “I’ve reached out to him multiple times and encouraged him to attend. Regardless of the issue, I think the best way to have your voice heard and work towards a compromise when there are conflicting opinions is to come to the meetings and engage in a productive discussion.”