Village Board of Trustees Special Meeting May 31, 2008

The Village Board of Trustees met on Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 9:00am.
Trustee Shaw was absent.
The main purpose of this special meeting was for the Trustees to discuss Local Law #4, relating to Lakes and Ponds.

Mayor Stebbins opened the meeting by announcing that Chiu Yin Hempel has resigned as Chairman and member of the Village Board of Architectural Review. Chiu Yin submitted her resignation because it was discovered that her UK Citizenship disqualifies her from serving in either elected or appointed positions as per Village Law.
The Mayor went on to acknowledge Chiu Yin’s many talents, specifically her objective standards and impartiality in reviewing applications as well as her organizational and administrative skills in running the Board of Architectural Review.

Trustee Darby reported that the Village has completed financial statements for the fiscal year 2007 and copies are available for review in the Village Office.

The Trustees opened their discussion of Local Law # 4, relating to Lakes and Ponds, with a review of Planning Board Attorney Mike Donnelly’s comments on the proposed legislation. In his comments, Mr. Donnelly suggests that further clarity is needed in terms of grandfathering structures. In its current form, the law suggests that only permanent structures will be grandfathered. Further, it suggests a prospective method for grandfathering in that the inventory of permanent structures will not be taken until after the law has been passed. Mr. Donnelly suggested that the law needs to identify a clear distinction between permanent and nonpermanent structures and then decide to what degree grandfathering should apply. In addition, he commented that under the current version of the proposed law a resident could erect a permanent structure between now and the inventory date (June 30, 2008) and that this structure, whether legal or not, would then be grandfathered.
Trustee Hansen commented that the current wording eliminates certain rights for dock owners, as some floating docks will be forced into non-compliance when the law is passed. In its current form, the proposed law does not provide for the repair and maintenance of these docks, but rather suggests that as they fall into disrepair the docks should be replaced with new docks that do comply with the law. Trustee Hansen suggested that rather than forcing these property owners to replace the docks over time, they should be grandfathered. He further commented that an inventory of all docks, both permanent and non-permanent, should be compiled before the law is passed.
Trustee Darby commented that in his opinion, non-permanent docks should not be grandfathered.
Mr. Donnelly commented that the portion of the law pertaining to rebuilding and grandfathering permanent structures that were standing prior to 1987 is confusing in light of the proposed June 30, 2008 grandfathering date. In an effort to both clarify and simplify the legislation, he suggested that the Board make the date of enactment and the grandfathering date synonymous.
Lake Law Revision Panel Chair Jock McKinnon commented that the 1987 date was included in the proposed legislation because it is a part of the legislation currently in place. The Panel’s intent was for the Board to complete an inventory of current permanent structures by June 30, 2008. Structures that were standing prior to 1987 but are no longer standing may be rebuilt if they are identified within a specified time period (suggested 1 year) and the property owner presents the Building Inspector with proof of their prior existence. Should the property owner fail to report the structure prior to the determined cut-off date or present the B.I. with proper proof of prior existence the structure cannot be rebuilt.
Once again, Trustee Hansen suggested that a current inventory be compiled after which the 1987 date will become irrelevant.
Mr. Donnelly questioned the need to compile a new inventory when there is already an existing inventory from 1991. He further commented that the Village Building Inspector should not be the individual who evaluates proposed rebuilding projects as it is not his job to make fact based determinations on pre-existing structures. Rather, Mr. Donnelly suggested that the Board of Trustees evaluate these projects.
Grandfathering of non-permanent structures was then discussed.
Trustee Hansen inquired whether the intent of the law was to grandfather all existing docks and then phase out those that are noncompliant by not allowing the dock owners to replace them. Jock McKinnon responded that it was the panel’s intent to phase out noncompliant docks in this manner. Trustee Hansen commented that he does not agree with this and that all existing docks should be permanently grandfathered while newly constructed docks should be required to comply.
After some further discussion, the Board agreed with Trustee Hansen’s comments and redrafted a portion of the law to reflect them.
Trustee Darby commented that it was his goal to approve and pass a law that day which would allow the Village Boat Club to move forward with their application.
Trustee Hansen suggested that the Board should approve the Boat Club’s application immediately subject to the passing of the law and then take the necessary steps to create and legislate a good law. Trustee Darby responded that this suggestion would not work, as under the current law, the Boat Club’s proposal is not legal. The new law must be in place before the Boat Club can proceed.
Trustee Hanson pondered whether or not the law should be expanded to include limiting the number of boats that can be attached to docks.
A discussion on moorings and whether or not they should be restricted to sailboats ensued.
Next the Board briefly discussed the Panel’s intent with regard to the use of approved fertilizers and the ban on use of designated chemicals. It was determined that the Environmental Committee should play a definitive role in assembling these lists.
Trustee Hansen commented that he is in favor of both the amended Local Law #4 and the Village Boat club application, but would like to review a clean version of the law before casting his vote. He then inquired of Mr. Donnelly whether or not the amendments required the Board to put the law up for public hearing again. Mr. Donnelly responded that in his view the changes were immaterial and that it would be the Board’s decision whether or not to put the legislation up for another public hearing. Trustee Hansen commented that as the legislation directly effects some property owners, it was his opinion that they should be notified and given the chance to respond in a Public Hearing. With that, he reiterated his desire to see a clean copy of the law before casting his vote and then left the meeting for a prior engagement.
Trustee Darby commented that his main goal was to accommodate the Village Boat Club and that he felt the Board should move forward and vote on the legislation.
Trustee Worthy responded that since some of the amendments will have a direct impact on property owners, the Board risked angering the public if they moved forward and voted without notifying them and giving them the opportunity to express concerns.
After further discussion the Board decided in favor a new public hearing on June 23, to be directly followed by a vote.

The Mayor reported that Princeton Hydro, the firm under consideration by the Village for Lake Management, has submitted a proposed contract for $48,600. He requested Board consent to refer the contract to Jim Roemer, Village Attorney, and move forward with negotiations. The Board was in agreement that the Mayor should move forward.

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