Facing no challengers for two seats on the North Haven Village Board of Trustees, Trustee Terie Diat is a shoe-in for reelection and Planning Board member Chris Fiore is set to win back a place on the board — as long as there are no major write-in surprises when villagers go to vote in Village Hall on Tuesday, June 15, from noon to 9 p.m.
In the last election, which was postponed to September 2020 because of the pandemic, Ms. Diat challenged Mr. Fiore for the one year remaining of his term on the board, to which Mayor Jeff Sander had appointed him with the board’s consent the previous April. With Ms. Diat the victor, the board named Mr. Fiore to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board.
This time there’s no contest. The two are seeking separate seats and they are cross-endorsing each other, with Mr. Fiore running on the mayor’s North Haven Party ticket and Ms. Diat on her own Community Vision Party line.
Both support a revised version of a proposed clearing code that was released last week and will be aired at the Village Board’s next regular Zoom meeting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16.
Tweaked to respond to widespread criticism of the initial proposal, the new version would reduce the amount of additional clearing to be allowed over the current code to less than 2 percent, but still give the owners of lots smaller than 1.38 acres “a bit more space for outdoor living and enjoyment,” Mr. Fiore said.
As Ms. Diat noted, the new proposal would cap clearing on all properties larger than 9.2 acres and eliminate the unfair “sawtooth effect” in the current code with “an inequitable distribution of clearing percentages based on fixed brackets.” The new proposal, she added, would allow a “maximum of 1.29 percent additional clearing if every homeowner cleared to the maximum amount allowed.”
On other issues, both agreed that North Haven needs a policy for the review of shoreline hardening requests, an effort on which Ms. Diat has taken the lead toward developing standards and a proposed code.
In answer to a question about the possibility of approvals for bulkheads in the future, Mr. Fiore said, “I think bulkheads as we know them should never return” but the practice of requiring sand replenishment for rock revetments needs to be examined.
Ms. Diat said, “I am personally committed to implementing an effective policy that will include the most effective solutions based on the wave climate and exposure conditions present in each zone of the peninsula for shoreline management and protection and equitable ways we can ensure the preservation of this very important piece of our natural beauty against erosion.”
Other issues that Ms. Diat said are important included surveying all residents “to obtain broader feedback on important issues”; surface water quality; preserving the Lovelady Powell property; and restoring the trails in the Stock Farm Preserve.
Mr. Fiore cited what he said residents had told him were the hot topics when he first ran for election in September: better cell service, clarifying the clearing code, leaf pickup, water quality, noise abatement, shoreline management and open space preservation.
“I have worked on my own time these past 10 months,” he said, helping Mayor Sander in the preservation of the Powell property … I think it is safe to say a non-tower solution to weak cell service is needed, with no tax dollars utilized. Leaf pickup is back for seniors, and progress is being made on the other current priorities.”
Asked why they want to serve, Ms. Diat, a retired corporate financial officer, said, “I have brought diversity of thinking and a fresh perspective to the Village Board, and have accomplished much over the past nine months, but there is more that can be done to protect and enhance what is so special about North Haven. While we are a small village, it still takes hard work to get things done, and I have demonstrated I am willing to work hard and make practical decisions to serve the best interests of all residents, in cooperation with the mayor and my fellow trustees. I love North Haven, the community and the natural beauty and would like to continue to give back in this special place where I live.”
“I recently retired from a 44-year retail career,” Mr. Fiore said. “My wife and I live permanently in North Haven, after 28 years as a weekender. I love where I live — I want to see it preserved as the lush, natural space it has been for decades. We all have the right to quiet enjoyment of all the beauty that surrounds us. We can keep it pristine and still make it viable for today.