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Dering Harbor Trustees close 2019 with progress reports

The Dering Harbor Trustees updated the Village on its water infrastructure and an overhaul of its code of laws at their Dec. 14 meeting. With the transfer of responsibility for operating the water system to the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) in 2019, Trustee Patrick Parcells reported that the water quality continues to be very good, while SCWA has been identifying leaks at individual residences that are in the process of being repaired by the homeowners. There is a question under review about whether the village needs to carry any additional insurance to cover any gaps between the SCWA’s insurance and the village’s.

In reviewing the transition to SCWA, Mr. Parcells said the improvement in the water supply operation had come at a cost savings. “We were spending $100,000 a year just to operate our system,” he said, noting that the village didn’t have the manpower, technology and scientific expertise to keep the water supply safe and in compliance with regulations. “Now we’re paying SCWA $49,000 annually, plus we’re getting $1.4 million in new infrastructure being financed at low rates thanks to their AAA rating.”

In early 2019, the village began working with General Code, a firm that organizes and streamlines municipalities’ laws as well as putting them into a searchable format on the local government’s website. Trustee Clora Kelly and Deputy Mayor Karen Kelsey reviewed the process to date. The biggest issues stem from the water works law, which is now out of date. General Code has laid out a schedule for completing this task.

Ms. Kelly updated the status of the newly reconstituted Architectural Review Board, which met in November. The ARB is looking at two areas: streamlining the process for going before the ARB as well as design guidelines. They are also looking at the demolition permit process as it relates to historic preservation. Ms. Kelsey asked Village Attorney Wayne D. Bruyn how other villages have addressed this. Mr. Bruyn said the starting point was to do an inventory of existing buildings in the village. The Board discussed the usefulness of conducting a survey of residents. Mr. Bruyn suggested Ms. Kelly work with the ARB to help formulate the process for gaining input from residents.

The precarious nature of the turn onto Dinah Rock Road off Manhanset when heading east was raised by Trustee Ari Benacerraf. Village Clerk Vicki Weslek reported that a call had come to the office about that turn last summer. The board agreed that it should be looked into.

The Board’s next meeting will be on Saturday, January 18 at 9 a.m. at Village Hall.