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Dering Harbor Board looks to settle road question: Election slated for Friday

The Village of Dering Harbor Trustees heard from residents at their May 13 meeting on the discontinuance of a portion of South Street requested by owners of an adjacent property.

Since the request was made at their November meeting by George Birman and his husband, Philip Gubert, the Board has heard statements for and against the change, and made a site visit to inform their decision.

After statements from the owners, as well as neighbors who would be affected by a discontinuance and sale of the piece of the road, the Trustees decided to keep the hearing open for an additional 10 days to allow for additional comments to be submitted in writing.

A suggestion from resident Elizabeth Colby that changing the Village Code — which bans parking on streets — to allow parking on South Street was received as “constructive” by Mayor Karen Kelsey and drew a positive response from the Hunt family, who have opposed the proposed changes.

The lack of parking space had been cited as one major reason for the proposed discontinuance.

At Saturday’s meeting, members of the Board clarified issues that had been raised in connection with the South Street question.

In particular, the resignation of the code enforcement officer had been cited in an email to Villagers from resident John Colby as stemming from the dispute over the 50 x 65’ parcel in question.

Mayor Karen Kelsey said the resignation of the officer, who had also been serving in that role for the Town of Shelter Island, was caused by Village residents and contractors not respecting the conditions under which he took the job, coming to Town Hall and making demands on his time beyond what had been agreed upon.

Mr. Colby had circulated a petition opposing the discontinuance and sale of South Street as well as the trustees assuming the role of the Planning Board.

By Saturday’s meeting, he said he had 47 names; however, Board members said they had heard from some residents that they were taking their names off as they had not completely understood what they were signing.

The Board passed a resolution thanking resident Ken Tropin for donating the cost of repairs to a gazebo that had been given to the Village by the family of the late Alice Fiske, who grew up nearby and later lived at the historic Sylvester Manor.

A proposal to complete the repairs at a cost of $9,365 was accepted.

The Village will hold an election on Friday, May 26, from noon to 9 p.m.

One trustee, Ari Benacerraf, is on the ballot for re-election, to a term from June 5, 2023 to June 2, 2025.

A second seat on the board is on the ballot with no candidate; write-ins are possible.