By: Progress for Westhampton Beach
The official village year having commenced on July 4th at noon 1) Village Law 3-302(1) An official year begins at noon on the first Monday in the month following the date of the general village election or the date such an election would have been held had elections been held annually.the board of trustees held its reorganization meeting this evening with Stephen Frano taking the oath of office as a new trustee. Mayor Moore appointed Ralph Urban to serve as Deputy Mayor, a repeat performance for Mr. Urban as he had previously served as Deputy Mayor during Mayor Teller’s tenure.
There was a full agenda that included changes to the village code and three public hearings.
The code changes:
- simplified the process of putting up a single storage shed provided it is no less from than ten feet from the rear and side lot lines.
- provided for increased protection from misdirected outdoor lighting that can prove bothersome to neighbors.
- allows improvements made to a principal residence on lots where there is a non-conforming second residence to be completed, in most instances, without having to obtain a variance from the ZBA.
Then there were the public hearings… yikes
Best Market Special Exception Hearing
Best Market has been in full operation to the overwhelming satisfaction of residents, and it is plainly a hit with the summer crowd too. Or Raitses, the vice president, made application for outdoor tables, chairs and benches, and for outdoor displays, these matters were reviewed by the planning board. The applications were approved as recommended by the Planning Board.
The Fire District Special Exception Hearing
A hearing was held on the Fire Department’s application for a special exception from village height restrictions so it can erect a 100 foot tall monopole affixed to the rear of the new Sunset Avenue station. Dennis Kenter of Relay Communications Corporation provided his assessment that the 100 foot tall monopole would allow the signal to cover a distance of six miles and reach personal receivers in buildings and basements. A secondary antenna located lower on the pole would provide a backup for any failure to the primary antenna. The fire station has its own power generation such that loss of power to operate the antennae is not an issue.
No one on behalf of the fire district was called to offer any evidence concerning the noise abatement to be realized if the use of the fire siren is not resumed after two years of silence. However, it was an issue on the minds of many residents in attendance. The mayor requested counsel to address this concern, a concern that had been previously brought to the attention of the fire commissioners.
Counsel for the Fire District, William Glass, argued his understanding of the legal rights possessed by the fire district and those possessed by the village and contended that the Monroe Doctrine weighed in favor of the fire district. No, not THAT Monroe Doctrine, he was not claiming hegemony over the entire western hemisphere. He was referring to a court case from 1988 that pitted the expansion of the Rochester International Airport by the County of Monroe against the interests of the city of Rochester. In that case the Court held for the airport, but recognized that there is to be a balancing test of the interests involved. Notably counsel made no mention of the 2008 case that dictates the fire district is subject to local zoning considerations.
John Methena, an attorney, who lives on Beach Road spoke to the issue and noted that he did not hear any balancing being applied by counsel for the applicant. Fire District counsel had attempted to rebuff every proposed means of mitigating the noise from the old siren. Residents had described the noise variously as ear piercing and earth shaking; and the parking lot to the Best Market next to the siren as “ground zero.” Nonetheless, suggestions that the siren might be mounted higher, or replaced with a quieter model, or redirected or simply discontinued were rejected.2)counsel may have had a tin ear to the board’s suggestions, or simply did not have sufficient authority from his client to take a different approach.
It was evident the hearing on approval of the monopole was not advancing well if it included the siren, counsel for the fire district, beat a retreat with an apparent nod of approval from Victor Levy, a fire commissioner in attendance. It was agreed the monopole would be approved for the telecommunications equipment only, and the commissioners could revisit the siren at a later date. This compromise allows for immediate communications service to the new fire house, while permitting the fire district commissioners to examine the question of the siren. This leaves time for a real balancing of interests to be considered in view of the advances in telecommunications. Rather than simply Being Precedential.
Public Comment Period
To round out the evening the public comment period included remarks from former village resident Chip Porter. Recently, Mr. Porter had piloted a motor boat in from Moniebogue Bay at a high rate of speed without observing the no wake restriction. Trustee Urban was present and advised him of the restriction which Mr. Porter did not receive well. As Mr. Porter departed the marina he let fly an expletive directed to Mr. Urban.
Ooops, that put him on the radar and it was determined that Mr. Porter was not a village resident, the boat was not registered to a village resident, and Mr. Porter had not paid the required launching fee. The dock-master was advised and when Mr. Porter returned next to the marina police were in attendance to insure all rules going forward would be observed.
Thus, the visit from Mr. Porter to this evening’s board of trustees’ meeting. Mr. Porter, in a barely intelligible rant, (except to those more familiar with all of the facts) suggested that it was not for any trustee to protect the interests of the village, but that it was exclusively a matter for law enforcement. — The logical conclusion is he would have preferred a ticket as compared to a courteous remark to slow it down.
Mr. O’Dwyer made the evening complete returning to his two issues that need no recounting here again.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Village Law 3-302(1) An official year begins at noon on the first Monday in the month following the date of the general village election or the date such an election would have been held had elections been held annually.|
|2.||↑||counsel may have had a tin ear to the board’s suggestions, or simply did not have sufficient authority from his client to take a different approach.|