North Haven Likely To End Fall Leaf Pick-Up after 2019; Bans Seaplanes from Beaches

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The Village of North Haven’s fall leaf pick-up in 2019 will probably be its last, Mayor Jeff Sander said at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.

Ending the leaf pick-up beginning in 2020 is the only way to resolve the fundamental unfairness of a program that benefits only people who live on public roads but costs all taxpayers a total of $45,000 to $50,000, he said.

Also at the monthly meeting, the Village Board adopted local laws to bar seaplanes from beaching on the North Haven shoreline to receive or unload passengers and to prohibit people from living aboard a vessel “or any other floating structure” in village waters, except as allowed in Sag Harbor’s inner harbor mooring field.

About three-quarters of North Haven’s homes are on private roads in private communities, where it is illegal for municipalities to provide services at taxpayer expense, Mayor Sander once again explained on Tuesday as the board continued a hearing on the topic that it opened in December.

Only a few residents have weighed in with any comments on the issue. On Tuesday,  George Morell said. “It seems either no one should get it or everyone should get it.” But he also wondered aloud why the village couldn’t provide the service to his five-acre property on a private road.

Besides eliminating the leaf pick-up altogether, the options presented for discussion were based on eliminating the cost of the leaf pick-up from the village’s annual budget and creating a special tax assessment district in order to charge only property owners who benefit.

There were three options for determining what they would pay: a fee based either on the square footage of their properties; a flat rate for all beneficiaries; or on the basis of their property’s assessed valuations. The village’s tax levy would be reduced slightly by the elimination of the leaf pick-up from the general budget or, as the mayor noted on Tuesday, by “about $50,0000 out of a budget of about $1.5 million,” about 3.3 percent.

But “none of them looked like good options,” the mayor said on Tuesday. “Our final take was the easiest thing to do would be to eliminate it altogether.”

Instead, he said, the village will try to arrange leaf pick-ups during a one-week period for seniors over the age of 73 who claim an Enhanced STAR exemption on their property taxes, he said. “The strategy is to develop a plan to do it ourselves beginning in the 2020-2021 fiscal year,” Mr. Sander said. Meanwhile, the program will continue this year.

According to a worksheet prepared by Village Clerk-Treasurer Eileen Tuohy late last fall, the option for charging a flat rate for leaf pick-up, divided equally among all 367 benefitting properties on public roads, would have been $129.43.

Based on assessed value, the special tax rate would have been slightly more than 7 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, or from $24.32 to $583.89 for properties ranging in assessed value from about $340,000 to $8 million, with one property to be charged $2,780. Based on property square footage, the special tax rate would have been one-tenth of a cent per thousand, ranging from $28.07 for $143.50 for most properties in the village, but with one property to be charged $3,320

Seaplanes, Floating Homes

The new seaplane restriction adopted Tuesday was drafted in response to complaints last summer about seaplane landings on the beach in front of one particular house North Haven Manor. The problems were “isolate to a couple of incidents,” Mayor Sander said, but the problem “could be significant in the future” because of the popularity of air travel between New York and the Sag Harbor area.

“This is about landing on the beach and in the channel area,” he added, noting that Sag Harbor used to have a problem with seaplane landings and takeoffs just north of Havens Beach and the communities to the east of it until it “worked out a deal” to have seaplanes drop off passengers at a float beyond the breakwater, where they can be met by private launches or a water taxi service.

The new local law allows waterfront property owners to obtain a village permit to allow seaplanes to tie up at their private docks. For all other activity, Sag Harbor village’s waterways rules for its harbor management areas apply.

A response to complaints last summer about a vessel where people were living near the southeast shoreline of the village, adjacent to the Sag Harbor channel and mooring field, the new law barring people from using the vessels as homes exempts “as permitted in the Harbor Mooring Area as shown on the [Sag Harbor] waterways chart.” In that area, Sag Harbor’s rules apply and are enforced by the Sag Harbor harbormaster.

New Board Appointment

The board named Christian Duryea to the Planning Board on Tuesday. He replaces Gregory Churchill, who resigned from the panel but accepted appointment as an alternate member.

The board agreed to hire Summerhill Landscaping for care of the village hall property, the traffic circle and bed opposite it and the village entryway signs at a cost of $8,106.87. It also agreed to rent a 36-inch-wide scanner for one week to digitize plans too large for the village’s own scanner at a cost of $695.

The board agreed to hold a 219-2020 fiscal year budget workshop immediately after the next regular monthly Village Board meeting, which the board agreed to change from March 19 to March 12 at 5 p.m. It tentatively agreed to hold a public hearing on the budget proposal on April 2 at p.m. and expects to adopt the budget at its April 16 meeting.

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