North Haven Returns To In-Person Meetings

Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni presents a proclamation from the Town Board to former North Haven Trustee James Laspesa during the July 20 meeting of the North Haven Village Board honoring him for his community service. It was the panel's first in-person full meeting since Covid moved all sessions on line in early 2020. Newly-appointed Trustee Claas Abraham looks on. PETER BOODY

The North Haven Village Board last week backed away from a proposal to slap an automatic two-week stop-work order on contractors who continue to ignore the village’s weekend-ban on noisy construction work after first receiving a warning from the building inspector.

Saying contractors don’t care about the fines they might face for violating the noise code, Building Inspector George Butts asked the board in June to draft a code amendment allowing him to unilaterally order all work stopped at a construction site for two weeks whenever a first warning had been ignored.

Board members seemed to agree that such a step could be effective but, on Tuesday, July 20 — at the first in-person meeting the board has held in Village Hall since the pandemic pushed all meetings online in early 2020 — they backed off holding a vote after Mayor Jeff Sander said during a public hearing on the proposal that it “probably deserves some work.”

“My question is what’s going to constitute ‘noise’ and what exactly is allowed,” Mayor Sander said, particularly if a homeowner needs work done by a contractor or wants to do work himself on weekends.

“My recommendation is we address excessive noise by anyone,” the mayor added, calling for what sounded like a full review of the entire noise code, including possibly banning gas-powered leaf blowers and requiring quieter electric leaf blowers instead.

No one from the sparse audience at the meeting spoke on the topic, and later the board passed over a resolution that was listed on the meeting’s agenda to adopt the proposal.

Also at the long but low-key meeting, Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni, a North Haven resident, presented a town proclamation honoring former village Trustee James Laspesa for his years of community service. Mr. Laspesa did not seek reelection this year. In accepting the proclamation, he praised North Haven Clerk-Treasurer Eileen Tuohy, calling her the best he’d ever worked with.

A “contract is imminent” for the Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund (CPF) to agree to acquire the 4-acre Lovelady Powell property on Sunset Beach Road for preservation as open space, Mayor Sander reported — a goal sought by the village ever since Ms. Powell’s heirs put the property on the market after her death in February, 2020.

Also last week, the board agreed to schedule a public hearing for its next meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 17 on a proposal to impose a six-month moratorium on approving any shoreline construction projects including hard and “soft” erosion-control systems.

The moratorium will be imposed as the board, under Trustee Terie Diat’s leadership, continues to develop a new policy and set of rules to regulate shoreline protection measures. The new policy is expected to divide the village’s shoreline into multiple zones, where different rules will apply, depending on exposure to wind- and water-driven erosive forces.

Also at the July 20 session, the board accepted the bid of $4,700 from Marcello Masonry to lay a foundation at the future site of the old North Haven schoolhouse, now located at the corner of Payne Avenue and Ferry Road.

Since 2019, the Village Board under Trustee Dianne Skilbred’s leadership has been planning to move the building to the Village Hall complex and transform it into a museum where school field trips, library programs, weekend visiting hours and other educational activities can be offered. It now appears the move will finally take place by early fall.

In other business, the board appointed architect Allen Kopelson to the Planning Board to fill the seat vacated by Chris Fiore when he was elected to a seat on the Board of Trustees. The July 20 meeting was Mr. Fiore’s first following his election; it also was the first for Trustee Class Abraham, whom the board appointed to fill the remaining term of David Saskas, who resigned from the board because he was selling his North Haven home and moving from the village.

Besides Mr. Laspia and Councilman Schiavoni, only one member of the public attended the meeting, Hank Rossi of West Banks. He told the board it was “critically important” for it to support improvements in “WiFi and cell” service.

“My question to the board is are you unintentionally depriving North Haven residents” of the benefits of new technologies that rely on cellular connectivity by failing to encourage providers to provide better service there?