The North Haven Village Board last week scheduled a hearing on a not-yet-released proposal to limit rentals to one within any two-week period for its next meeting in Village Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10.
Mayor Jeff Sander has talked for months of seeking better control of short-term, illegal rentals in the residential community by limiting all rentals to once every two weeks.
Rejecting calls for stricter rules, such as a minimum rental period or requiring landlords to live at the property, he has said the two-week restriction would cut down on the disruption caused by tenants frequently moving in and out of neighborhoods.
The village’s regulations currently impose no time limit on rentals. The rules only restrict them to single individuals and their families and require an “occupancy permit” for rentals between May 1 to September 30.
The village’s attorney, Scott Middleton, was not present and was still working on a draft of the proposal when the board gathered for its monthly meeting on Thursday, February 13, so details and the exact language of the proposal were not available then.
In a 3-0 vote at the session, the board agreed to submit a legal notice to The Sag Harbor Express advertising the hearing date. The notice will include the text of the proposal.
Mayor Sander and Trustees Dianne Skilbred and James Laspesa were present; Trustees James Davis and David Saskas were absent.
It has been common knowledge that there have been a number of rentals in North Haven for events and other short-term purposes besides single-family use, and that many rentals occur with no permits.
At the January meeting of the board, resident Meg Farrell noted that Larry Baum, a director of the private North Haven Manor Association, where she lives, lists a waterfront property he owns on Mashomack Drive for rent on the Airbnb website but has no permit on file for it.
Mayor Sander told her — as he has at previous meetings — that the village was working on establishing mechanisms for enforcing its codes, including possibly hiring a code enforcement officer. He mentioned that concept again on February 13 when the discussion turned to drafting the coming fiscal year’s budget.
Two important items that will require funding decisions during the budget process, Clerk-Treasurer Eileen Tuohy noted, are the costs of hiring a code enforcement officer and the cost of continuing a 4-poster program to kill ticks on deer.
Under state law, the budget must be presented to the public at a hearing by April 15 and adopted by May 1, Ms. Tuohy reported, promising to work with Deputy Clerk Ed Deyermond to submit a draft budget to the board by March 10. The board agreed to meet at noon the same day, March 10, for a work session to review the proposal, at which time the board should be able to set a public hearing on it for April 14.
Mr. Sander has said he would like to see the village add a code enforcement officer to its staff in order to issue summonses for violations and to handle enforcement cases, which would be processed in the Southampton Town Justice Court.
He also has raised doubts about the cost-effectiveness of the village’s 4-Poster program, which has been complicated by a new state requirement for sponsors to obtain permission from all neighbors within 750 feet of any 4-poster installation. The mayor has said he believes continuing to cull the deer herd may be the best way to reduce the local tick population.
The 4-Poster devices apply permethrine to the heads and necks of deer as they feed on cracked corn. The village started with 12 units in 2015 and increased its inventory to 18 during the 2019 season, budgeting $120,000 for the project in the current year. While there is no data to support it, anecdotal evidence suggests the devices have been effective. The mayor has said deer culled during the late fall have come in with few ticks and that personnel picking up roadkill deer carcasses have been finding few ticks.
Also at the February 13 meeting, the board:
• Heard the mayor report he’d asked Ms. Tuohy to “develop a contract” with the environmental consulting firm Nelson, Pope and Voorhis to replace the Woods Hole Research Center, which chose not to continue advising the village as it develops a policy on regulating shore-hardening structures. The board voted, 3-0, to accept the center’s resignation.
• Heard the mayor suggest that the installation of nitrogen-reducing, “innovative/alternative” septic systems should be mandated for waterfront properties, with a percentage of Community Preservation Fund revenues from the sale of waterfront properties held in escrow to fund the septic upgrades. He said he would bring up the idea at a meeting of the East End Mayors and Supervisors Association.
• Agreed to rent a 36-inch-wide document scanner for $695.
• Accepted what Ms. Tuohy described as a favorable audit report.
• Approved the request of the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon to conduct the foot-race portion of its annual event in North Haven on Sunday, September 13.
• Set a public hearing on the renewal of the village’s 10-year franchise agreement with Suffolk Cable of Shelter Island, a subsidiary of Altice, for its meeting on March 10 at 5:30 p.m.
• Voted, 3-0, to set the fee at $250 to obtain a permit to allow soliciting in the village under a law that was the subject of a public hearing in April 2019. The village proposed it after bans on soliciting were found to be unconstitutional. The mayor noted that private homeowner associations, in which nearly three-quarters of North Haven’s homes are located, may prohibit peddling and soliciting on their private roads and that homeowners can post signs forbidding soliciting on their properties.
• Agreed to have the village attorney look into the mayor’s suggestion that the village might sell a small surplus property owned by the village on Short Road off Cove Road to an adjacent property owner to allow the property owner more room to build a house. Trustee Laspesa noted the property is “too remote” to be included in any greenbelt or preserve. Some of it is underwater “half the time,” the mayor said.