Tags Posts tagged with "Port Jefferson Country Club"

Port Jefferson Country Club

Port Jefferson Village trustee Stan Loucks on his bid for reelection. Sketch by Kyle Horne: @kylehorneart • kylehorneart.com

If reelected, what would be your top priority during the coming term?

I want to go forward successfully with a plan to capture water — not only to give us more water at the golf course but to protect the environment.

The water now that’s running rampant, a lot of it is dumping right into the Long Island Sound. We have a large spillway that goes right alongside our golf course. All that water we’re going to try to collect, putting it in ponds on the golf course. 

The water we collect will be purified before we put it on the golf course. We’re going to have a system to sanitize the water. 

The one pond we have now is filled with turtles, fish and wildlife. I’d like nothing better than to see more water on our golf course.

How do you intend to help guide ongoing bluff stabilization efforts at East Beach and maximize the potential of the village-owned Port Jefferson Country Club?

The lower wall is basically complete. The bluff itself — except directly underneath the clubhouse — has been stabilized.

It’s all been raked out, leveled out and covered with a heavy-duty burlap. And both the east and west portions of the bluff project are fairly complete. Now we’re waiting for [the Federal Emergency Management Administration] to come through with the money to begin phase II of the bluff project — an upper wall.

Our goal at this point in time is to save that structure, our clubhouse up there now. Prior to FEMA, maybe my thoughts would be different. But that [$3.75] million we’re getting from FEMA is a game changer for the taxpayers and the village.

What is the proper role of the Board of Trustees in overseeing new developments and redevelopment of village parcels?

We’re running out of space for further development, barring, for example, uptown. Many developers have come in there and bought out a lot of the businesses.

Beyond the master plan, a lot of that development came in as a way to replace revenue lost from [the Long Island Power Authority glide path settlement]. Unfortunately, the Town of Brookhaven controls the [Industrial Development Agency] tax situation. 

When those developers come in and get a tax break, that’s not on us. That’s very unfortunate because, in the first two or three years, they pay a very small percentage of what they should be paying.

The village has probably reached its max in development. Maryhaven is kind of a foggy area for me right now. I was not involved in any of the discussions leading up to the [May 1] public hearing. I think some of the board members were a little surprised.

I have some great ideas, but I’m not so sure that, moneywise, the village can afford my great ideas. We have some major [flooding] problems with the fire department, Village Hall and all of Theatre Three. The village is built in a bowl, and as we keep developing more buildings and more blacktops, water has nowhere to go. Things are going to deteriorate and get worse downtown.

If I had a magic wand, Maryhaven would be a village possession. Village Hall, the parks department, the fire department — everything can go on that property. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I definitely would not want and would not vote for any kind of apartment complex to go in there — we have enough of that.

Would I like to see more homes in the village and more green space? Absolutely. But I think we’ve reached the point of density that we want to be at in terms of building in the village.

How can the village alleviate its parking capacity challenges while balancing the competing parking interests of residents, businesses and tourists?

The only solution I see is a parking facility — a parking garage.

It would not be a subsurface parking garage because of the water table in Port Jefferson. Where I would put it, I don’t know, but that’s the only solution I can see — a two-story, maybe three-story parking garage somewhere in the village.

We do have some vacant land that the village owns. It’s the location, the acceptance or rejection of that location and the concept. Some people don’t like parking garages, but I can’t see a solution beyond that.

Would you support resurrecting the parking committee? 

I think a parking committee should be in place. The more people you can get ideas from, the better off you are.

What is your preferred method for engaging the public?

It’s about time that we’ve got a [civic] organization that’s going to take an interest in what’s going on in our village.

I have spent eight years as a trustee, and it was always amazing to me — I’d go to a board meeting and see eight people sitting in the audience. Yet you have all these major problems — parking, flooding, code enforcement.

I come from a small village upstate where their civic association was half the village’s population. It’s a valuable organization — to get information from the people who live there.

I was very pleased the other night with that whole scenario [during the May 1 public hearing]. People were sincere, they were civil and they gave a lot of good feedback. I hope the [Port Jefferson] Civic Association stays active, and I hope they stay in the direction that they’re going in.

When they talk about zoning, I don’t think that’s negative. That’s a sincere concern. The board can listen to the public more, and it’d be nice if even the Planning Board exposed themselves more to the public. I like hearing from the public, and I think that’s important. 

What is your professional background, and how does it apply to the duties of a trustee?

My professional background is in education. A graduate of [SUNY] Cortland, I started as a phys ed teacher. At that time, I immediately started my education at Hofstra University, receiving a master’s degree in secondary school administration, then continued my education and got a master’s degree in districtwide administration.

I moved from a physical education teacher to the local athletic director. Throughout my career, I coached girls tennis, boys golf, boys basketball and varsity football. After 34 years in Plainview, I retired in 1995.

One year after the village purchased the [Port Jefferson] Country Club, I got involved in tennis, belonging to the tennis membership up at the country club. I got involved on the tennis board and became chairman, then moved over to the golf side when it became reasonably priced. I got involved with the board of governors, became president and was later appointed to the [Country Club Management Advisory Committee].

In 2013, [Mayor] Margot [Garant] asked me to run for trustee. At that point in time, I was not interested. In 2015, I did relent and ran for trustee and was elected. I was elected again in 2017, 2019 and 2021, and I’m running again now.

I am involved in the recreation and parks in the village. And, of course, the country club is my main goal. Right now, we have a lot of projects going on up there.

My entire career, my goal has been to work for people and work with students of all ages and backgrounds. My main interest right now is to continue working in pretty much the same direction I have been going in. I’m interested in serving the public, continuing what I did for 34 years [in education].

Note to our readers

We intend to interview each of the declared candidates for village office, starting with those running for trustee, then mayor. In keeping with past practice, we first interview incumbents seeking reelection, followed by nonincumbents, selected alphabetically.

File photo by Raymond Janis

Residents deserve better than one-party rule

In the May 4 edition, the editorial board highlights that the Brookhaven landfill is a major issue in this year’s Town of Brookhaven elections [“The landfill election”]. We need bold leadership to tackle Long Island’s decades-long solid waste crisis. This is an issue of economic, environmental and racial justice that we can no longer afford to ignore.

Carting our garbage off of Long Island to another community is not a sustainable solution. We must reduce our waste, and this cannot only rest on individual households, but also on businesses and producers. We can incentivize waste reduction with pay-as-you-throw programs. We can also utilize the knowledge of experts like Stony Brook University’s research associate professor David Tonjes, whose work on waste management provides guidance on how we can address this crisis with innovation and ingenuity. We are capable of long-term, sustainable policy, but only if we have the political and moral courage to do so.

It is clear to me that the current Town Board are not the people to meet this moment. The past decade of one-party rule in Brookhaven includes a botched rollout of the recycling program, our roads in disrepair, and gerrymandering our council districts to bolster a weak incumbent in the 4th Council District. They have left us with a solid waste crisis, used nearly $250,000 of our taxpayer dollars to pay an EPA fine for air quality violations in 2020, and ignored the voices of the directly impacted residents of North Bellport time and again. They do not deserve to be reelected in 2023.

Outgoing Supervisor Ed Romaine [R] must be held accountable for his role in the failures of the Town Board he has led. Romaine is seeking the office of Suffolk county executive, and he must be questioned about the harm he has had a hand in creating in the Town of Brookhaven. We as voters must consider if he is fit to handle higher office, given the mismanagement of our municipal government under his leadership.

We deserve better elected officials than we currently have in our town government. The communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the landfill crisis deserve to be listened to by our representatives. There is too much at stake to accept the status quo and small-minded thinking of the current Town Board. It is time for bold solutions that meet the urgency of the moment. It is time for change.

Shoshana Hershkowitz

South Setauket

Still no funding for Port Jeff Branch electrification

Funding to pay for a number of transportation projects and pay increases for transit workers were items missing from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s [D] $229 billion budget.

There is no new funding to advance Hochul’s three favorite NYC transportation projects: the $8 billion Penn Station improvements; $7.7 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2; and $5.5 billion Brooklyn-Queens Interborough Express light rail connection. Also missing was funding to advance the $3.6 billion Long Island Rail Road Port Jefferson Branch electrification project. All Port Jefferson LIRR riders have to date is the ongoing LIRR diesel territory electrification feasibility study.

There was no additional funding to pay for upcoming 2023 NYC Transport Workers Union Local 100 contracts for LIRR and Metro-North Railroad employees. The MTA only budgeted for a 2% increase. NYC TWU president, Richard Davis, will ask for far more so his 40,000 members can keep up with inflation. Both LIRR and MNR unions, with thousands of members, will want the same.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Maryhaven: a breakdown of process

Our village process is broken. Let’s take the Maryhaven project as a recent example of what’s wrong.

This proposed development should have been brought to the Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees via the Planning Board, which is responsible for overseeing all building-related matters.

But during the recent public hearing, we learned from the developer that he’d been in discussions with the mayor, deputy mayor and village clerk for well over a year, despite the fact there was still no proposal before the Planning Board. The first time the rest of the trustees heard about the project was when it was announced by the deputy mayor at a public meeting on March 6 of this year.

It’s likely the village attorney was also aware of these talks. As previously reported in this paper, he was pressing the village to be “proactive” and change the code to rezone the property in order to clear the path for the developers, whenever they were ready to apply. To that end, he proposed the May 1 public hearing. The attorney also suggested that if the code modification wasn’t suitable to the residents as is, there would be an opportunity to make adjustments. That is not entirely accurate.

We know this from our experience with the Mather Hospital expansion. Before the project came to a public hearing, the village made several decisions, from seemingly irrelevant (at the time) code changes to the most crucial, allowing the hospital a variance for extra clearance. The latter resulted in 2 precious acres of forest being cleared.

The impression the village gave at the time was that residents would still have a chance to weigh in. But when that time came, despite nearly 70 letters protesting the clearing of the forest and all the objections raised at the hearing, it was too late.

The Planning Board’s position was that its hands were tied by all those prior decisions, and it did not have the tools to consider the objections. In other words, we should have been paying attention when Mather first announced the master plan.

So forgive us if we’re skeptical when the village attorney tells us that we’ll have an opportunity to comment on the project overall at a later date.

Ana Hozyainova, President

Holly Fils-Aime, Vice President

Port Jefferson Civic Association

Declining public revenue in Port Jeff

The spirit of New York’s Freedom Of Information Act is transparency and access. Its introduction states, “The people’s right to know the process of governmental decision-making and to review the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.”

The issue of the future tax revenue from the Port Jefferson Power Station is critically important to both the Village of Port Jefferson and the Port Jefferson School District. So, it is surprising to me that the LIPA settlement agreement is not made available on the village or school district websites. And when I asked the village that a link be included, I was told that the village attorney advised the village not to put it on the website. I would have to complete a FOIL application. I did so. It had no redactions, and nothing in the document contained any confidentiality clause. The Town of Huntington puts its Northport Power Plant LIPA agreement on its website. So what is the objection to making the Port Jefferson agreement accessible to all on our websites? Would they prefer to have the fewest taxpayers know its full terms and potential consequences?

While both the village and school district are quick to tell us how little our tax bills will rise when promoting 30-year bond proposals, their assumptions are highly suspect given the lack of any reasonable assurance that the LIPA benefit will survive beyond the glide path expiration just four years away. Both the Port Jeff and the Northport agreements state that any extensions under the same terms beyond the 2027 expirations are dependent on power needs of National Grid. With repowering off the table, and the state’s goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030, it would seem there is little likelihood of any significant extension beyond expiration. The Port Jefferson Village budget for 2023-24 reveals LIPA taxes covering 36% of property taxes while the school district budget includes LIPA representing 42%.

It’s time for the village and school district to face the elephant in the room and (1) make critical information available on their websites and (2) for any discussion of potential costs to taxpayers, include calculations that consider a potentially abandoned power plant and taxpayers having to face 60%-plus tax increases to make up the LIPA loss.

Robert J. Nicols

Port Jefferson

Time to put the brakes on spending

Port Jefferson and Belle Terre residents are facing a school district budget and bond vote Tuesday, May 16, at the Port Jefferson high school from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

It’s a rather hefty price tag being proposed: $47 million for the proposed 2023-24 budget and close to $16 million additional for a bond focused entirely on enhancements to the high school.

While district residents have been more than generous in past years in support of our schools, maybe it’s time to ask if spending over $50,000 each year to educate a student is really feasible. (That’s the amount when you divide the proposed 2023-24 budget by the 933 students in the district, as suggested by Deputy Superintendent Sean Leister as a simple approximation of the per pupil costs, at the village board meeting on May 1.)

Perhaps this is the time to put the brakes on this spending and take a hard look at the future of the high school and consider alternatives.

Charles G. Backfish

Port Jefferson

We need to say ‘no’ to the school bond

Port Jefferson School District residents will be asked May 16 to approve an almost $16 million bond entirely for the benefit of the high school building. The more crucial question to be asked is: “Why are we considering this enormous expenditure when our high school student population is still dwindling?”

According to the school district’s own numbers — found on the district website or online (Long Range Planning Study, Port Jefferson Union Free School District 2021-22) — our enrollment numbers are declining precipitously. On page 18 of the report, our high school’s total enrollment grades 9-12 by 2031 will be a mere 233 students. Divide that number by the four grades in the school and your average graduating class size by 2031 would be only 58 students.

Port Jefferson high school’s small size cannot be compared to that of a prestigious private high school. Even most of the top private schools like Choate, Phillips and Exeter keep their total high school enrollment over 800 students. Most parents want a high school atmosphere that is academically, athletically and socially rich for their children — a true preparation for college. A high school with less than 240 students can’t realistically provide that.

Our high school is presently functioning with the classroom configurations it has had for decades. Before we invest many millions to move art, tech ed and music to the main building to create team and trainer rooms, let’s first focus on what we do if the high school population keeps dwindling, as the district study projects. 

Perhaps we could maintain a strong pre-K through 8th grade school system here and investigate tuitioning out our high school students to Three Village and/or Mount Sinai. This solution has been used successfully by many small school districts. Other larger local districts are facing declining enrollments as well, undoubtedly because of the high home prices and high taxes presenting an obstacle to young families seeking to move to this area. Given that reality, neighboring school districts would welcome our high school students.

Right now, we need to say “no” to the school bond. Before we spend almost $16 million on the high school building, we must find a solution to this ongoing decline in enrollment. To keep ignoring this serious issue is unfair to our already stressed-out taxpayers — and equally unfair to our future high school students.

Gail Sternberg

Port Jefferson

Experience matters

Kathianne Snaden is running for mayor and Stan Loucks is running for reelection as a trustee for the Village of Port Jefferson. They have worked together on the village board for four years. 

Kathianne has shown to be tireless and dedicated to the betterment of every facet of our village. She has opened the doors to the internal workings of government by live streaming the board meetings, originating the Port eReport and the practice of responding to every and all questions from everyone. As the liaison to the Code Enforcement Bureau, she is totally committed to improving public safety and was responsible for increasing the presence of the Suffolk County Police Department. Kathianne is also our liaison to the Port Jefferson School District. This is an important relationship that was absent and created by Kathianne. 

Stan Loucks has been devoting his retirement years to the Village of Port Jefferson. Prior to his election to the village board in 2015, he was on the tennis board, the board of governors, the greens committee and the Port Jefferson Country Club management advisory committee for a total of 20 years, including chair. Stan has been the liaison to the parks and recreation departments, deputy mayor and liaison to the country club. 

He is a hands-on person who will always be directly involved in any issue related to his duties. He has been directly responsible for numerous projects and improvements such as renovation of the golf course; building a new maintenance facility, driving range, fitness center, membership office; upgrading village parks; initiating relationships with our schools and much more. 

Kathianne was TBR News Media Person of the Year in 2019, and Stan was Person of the Year in 2021. Seems like they would be the team that we would want to represent our village.

Experience, knowledge, integrity, dedication and hard working are qualities that we need.

Jim White

Port Jefferson

Editor’s note: The writer is a former Port Jefferson Village trustee.

WRITE TO US … AND KEEP IT LOCAL

We welcome your letters, especially those responding to our local coverage, replying to other letter writers’ comments and speaking mainly to local themes. Letters should be no longer than 400 words and may be edited for length, libel, style, good taste and uncivil language. They will also be published on our website. We do not publish anonymous letters. Please include an address and phone number for confirmation.

Email letters to: [email protected]

or mail them to TBR News Media, P.O. Box 707, Setauket, NY 11733

File photo by Raymond Janis

Support Healthy School Meals for All bill

Every child deserves to be fed, and in a nation as wealthy as ours, no child should go hungry. The April 20 editorial [“Food before football: Long Island’s uphill battle against childhood hunger”] correctly identifies the crisis of child hunger, and how our government is failing to adequately address the issue. There is a legislative answer to this crisis in New York, and it is the Healthy School Meals for All bill. Our state Legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul [D] must pass it this year.

The bill ends the policy of means testing, and establishes permanent funding for every child to receive breakfast and lunch at school at no cost. This saves struggling families money on their grocery bills, and eliminates the stigma that may prevent children from utilizing the current program. The cost in New York would be less than 0.01% of the state budget, with $200 million of state dollars supplementing the federal assistance provided to New York. It is estimated that this will provide an additional 726,000 students in New York state access to two meals a day. Currently, one in seven of New York’s children are food insecure, and this disproportionately impacts students of color. 

Children are more than just a test score. If a child is hungry, it is difficult for them to learn, to play and to grow. The Healthy School Meals for All legislation addresses the needs of the whole child, and is economic justice for New York’s children and families. 

This bill is supported by many organizations across the state. Suffolk Progressives, the group I founded, is a proud supporter of the bill, and I encourage others to join the call to reduce child hunger by asking their lawmakers to sign on. I urge constituents to reach out to state Sens. Anthony Palumbo [R-New Suffolk], Dean Murray [R-East Patchogue] and Mario Mattera [R-St. James], and Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio [R-Riverhead], who are not currently listed as co-sponsors of the bill. 

Childhood hunger is not a partisan issue, and all of Long Island’s lawmakers should get behind this legislation. The Legislature must pass Healthy School Meals for All, and Hochul must sign it into law in the 2023 legislative session. New York’s children are depending on it.

Shoshana Hershkowitz

South Setauket

Let’s patronize our local restaurants

Why not patronize your neighborhood restaurants during Long Island Restaurant Week April 23-30 with a wide variety of both two-course lunch and three-course dinner specials all year long.

My wife and I don’t mind occasionally paying a little more to help our favorite restaurants survive. Don’t forget your cook and server. We try to tip 20 to 25 percent against the total bill including taxes. If it is an odd amount, we round up to the next dollar. If we can afford to eat out, we can afford an extra dollar tip. When ordering take out, we always leave a dollar or two for the waiter or cook. It is appreciated. 

The restaurant industry employees include hosts, bartenders, waiters, bus boys, cooks, cashiers, parking valets, wholesale food sellers, distributors and linen suppliers. There are also construction contractors who renovate or build new restaurants.

Our local entrepreneurs work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment especially to students during the summer. If we don’t patronize our local restaurants, they don’t eat either. Why travel into Manhattan when there are so many great neighborhood restaurants in Centereach, Cold Spring Harbor, Commack, Huntington, Mount Sinai, Northport, Port Jefferson, Selden, Smithtown and Stony Brook?

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Maria’s No Mow May campaign

Sadly, Maria Hoffman passed away in 2022. She was someone who was involved in everything and anything that touched our community — historical preservation, open space protection and environmental issues.

There was no issue too large, or too small, that Maria wasn’t part of — and always achieved with a smile on her face.

Her involvement was done with a quiet style and grace, and while her voice was soft and light, her influence was great.

Anyone who enjoys West Meadow Beach, the Setauket to Port Jefferson Station Greenway, the cultural, historical and art institutions in the area — they all need to give special thanks to Maria’s legacy.

Maria was an avid beekeeper.

She loved her bees and maintained a number of hives.

Her eyes sparkled whenever she spoke about bees — she marveled at their unique abilities and intelligence.

And she was deeply concerned about the declining bee populations across the country.

To honor the legacy of Maria and to protect the bee, butterfly and bird populations, the Three Village Community Trust is kicking off its 1st annual Maria’s No Mow May campaign.

No Mow May is an international movement that first was popularized by Plantlife, an organization based in Salisbury, England. The simple goal of No Mow May is to allow grass to grow during the month of May, creating an important spring habitat for early season pollinators. No Mow May is really easy — do nothing!

Don’t apply any fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides or pesticides.

While community residents might not want to leave their entire lawn unmown for the month of May, just allowing a small area to be part of No Mow May will make a difference to the environment.

You’re likely to see yard signs saying “ join Maria’s No Mow May campaign throughout the community.

Join the Three Village Community Trust, your friends and neighbors in Maria’s No Mow May. Just like Maria — bee special!

Herb Mones

President, Three Village Community Trust

Eliminating bail reduces recidivism

A recent letter by Jim Soviero [“Dem Albany County DA Soares criticizes bail reform,” April 6] essentially reprints a New York Post op-ed piece by Albany County DA David Soares deriding bail reform. Soviero takes great pains to emphasize Soares’ political affiliation (Democratic) and race (Black).

As I’m sure Soviero would agree, even Democrats can be wrong sometimes. And regardless of Soares’ race, neither he, nor Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, nor even Soviero himself are better equipped to decide what’s best for New York’s African-American community than that community itself. Polling shows that the overwhelming majority of Blacks support policies reducing incarceration. If bail reform is as terrible for the African-American community as Soviero’s crocodile tears seem to suggest, there’s a simple remedy — they can vote out of office their representatives who voted for it. That’s not about to happen. Instead, the voices most stridently denouncing reform are those exploiting the politics of fear and division.

If just jailing people made our streets and communities safer, the United States should be the safest country in the world. After all, we lead the world in incarceration, both absolutely and per capita.

As far as the cherry-picked statistics Soares relies on and Soviero repeats to denounce reform, they’re all wet. A study released this March by John Jay College, the preeminent criminal justice school in the state, shows that the 2020 bail reform law has actually reduced the likelihood of someone getting rearrested. “Fundamentally, we found that eliminating bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies reduced recidivism in New York City, while there was no clear effect in either direction for cases remaining bail eligible,” said Michael Rempel, director of John Jay College’s Data Collaborative for Justice.

All of this obscures the fact that the purpose of bail is for one thing only — to restrain those judged to be a flight risk. It is not to lock up people, sometimes for weeks or months in horrible conditions, who are legally innocent. Unless we are willing to drop the presumption of innocence from our legal system entirely. 

I’m sure that Soviero would agree with me that the recently indicted former president is legally entitled to the presumption of innocence. So why is it that he, who is rich and powerful, is entitled to this, but someone who is poor and powerless is not? I don’t know what to call that, but I certainly wouldn’t call it justice.

David Friedman 

St. James

Editor’s note: We are publishing this letter because it responds to an earlier letter. In the future, we ask that letters mainly speak to local issues.

Local residents toast George Washington’s visit

This past Saturday local residents gathered on the corner of Bayview Avenue, East Setauket, and Route 25A to commemorate the 233rd year of our first president George Washington’s visit to Setauket on April 22, 1790. Several in attendance read excerpts about Washington and his life, including a poem written by ChatGPT on Washington’s trip to the Roe Tavern in Setauket.

As many know, Washington came to Setauket during the first year of his presidency to meet with Capt. Austin Roe who ran a small tavern on what is now Route 25A near East Setauket Pond Park. Though the president’s diary was sparse about the true intentions for his five-day trip to Long Island, many believe it was to thank those who had been part of the Culper Spy Ring that was founded in Setauket and critical to Washington’s success against the British troops and mercenaries encamped in New York City.

This is the second year that local resident Rick McDowell and his brother Ken organized the gathering. They are already planning next year’s commemoration for another rousing cheer to our first president and to the Setauket spies who helped him win the War of Independence from Britain.

George Hoffman

Setauket

May 1 public hearing on Maryhaven is urgent

It’s concerning that a Village of Port Jefferson public hearing on changes to zoning for the Maryhaven Center of Hope property is still scheduled for May 1.

Especially since the follow-up work session on April 25 raised more questions than answers — even for some of the trustees. Further, from what we understand, the Board of Trustees has not even received a formal request from the developers, and the Building Department has no record of any application. So why the rush?

The village attorney argues that having the zoning hearing now allows the village to be proactive when the developers are ready to apply. But this remedy seems more preemptive than proactive because the residents don’t yet have enough information to make an informed decision.

Not only were we not included in any of the prior discussions, but it does not appear that a full due diligence was conducted.

It might be too late to call for the hearing to be postponed. But it’s not too late to request that no binding decisions on Maryhaven be made until residents have a chance to review the facts and, perhaps, propose other options for the property.

In order to get answers, we urge you to come to the public hearing at Village Hall on Monday, May 1, at 6 p.m.

Ana Hozyainova, President

Kathleen McLane, Outreach Officer

Port Jefferson Civic Association

No interest in changing Port Jeff Country Club to a public course

This is an open letter to the editor, to the members of the Port Jefferson Country Club and to the residents of the Village of Port Jefferson.

It has been brought to my attention by several members of the country club that inaccurate messaging is being shared around the course — that as part of my Port Jefferson mayoral campaign platform, I intend to convert the country club to a public municipal golf course, and make golf at the country club free for all residents. At first, I thought it was a joke. Because nothing could be further from the truth. Then when more people started asking me if it were true, I knew I had to address this publicly.

I have no interest or intent in changing the country club to a public course. I hope those who consider voting for me see through this political ruse and know I would never be so reckless or fiscally irresponsible. It will remain a private municipal course, as it always has been from the day Mayor Harold Sheprow acquired it, and as it was established when the decision to buy it was voted upon favorably in 1978 by the residents of Port Jefferson.

I will always support making the club and its restaurant facilities a welcoming and inclusive environment for all residents. Giving memberships away for free does not enter into that equation.

If PJCC members or village residents have questions and would like to personally discuss this or any information that has the appearance of being contrary to what I stand for — see my website www.sheprowformayor.com under the “platform” tab — I can be reached by email at [email protected].

Lauren Sheprow, Trustee

Village of Port Jefferson

Editor’s note: The writer is the daughter of former Port Jefferson Mayor Harold Sheprow.

PJCA president Ana Hozyainova, center. Photo by Raymond Janis

The general meeting of the Port Jefferson Civic Association on April 12 was briefly delayed due to a lack of chairs as over three dozen people filled the Meeting Room at the Port Jefferson Free Library.

The body approached an array of local issues, from the East Beach bluff to flooding to green space preservation, among others. With village elections along the horizon and plenty of business on the local agenda, the civic has quickly emerged as a forum for the many interests and stakeholders of the community.

East Beach bluff

Former Village of Port Jefferson Mayor Mike Lee made a presentation on historical and environmental developments at East Beach, which has eroded considerably in recent years, now endangering the Port Jefferson Country Club restaurant and catering facility from falling off the cliff.

During his administration, Lee said an engineer had advised him that a problem with the jetty system at Mount Sinai Harbor was contributing to the erosion, placing village officials in a difficult bind.

“The village was aware of [the jetty problem], but it’s not our property that we can work on,” Lee said. “We don’t have anything to do with the inlet,” which the Town of Brookhaven maintains.

Given how coastal erosion spans across municipal boundaries, Lee suggested bluff stabilization would not yield a long-term resolution. “Stabilizing, it’s going to be a never-ending battle,” the former mayor said.

Ray Calabrese, a former Brookhaven Town councilman and Port Jefferson Planning Board member, conveyed to the body engineering advice he received in the 1970s.

“Leave that bluff alone,” he said. “Nature is doing its thing. It’s replenishing that beach. Frustrate it, and you lose the beach.” He concluded, “Don’t build near bluffs.”

Civic president Ana Hozyainova noted that among other reasons, PJCA was formed to offer residents a louder voice in decision-making over the bluff.

“One of the animating reasons why we got together as a civic association was the bluff and the fact that we didn’t have a vote and a public discussion about what needs to be done with it,” she said.

Flooding

Lee also touched upon ongoing flooding concerns within Port Jefferson, which was originally called Drowned Meadow due to the phenomenon. Though stormwater infrastructure installed decades ago may have been satisfactory for its time, Lee said, the flood load has increased considerably, aggravating these historic challenges.

“We have an inadequate stormwater system,” he said. “When it was built, it was adequate for then, but we have just too much to deal with. It just floods and backs up, and the bad part about it is that it invades the sanitary system.”

PJCA member Michael Mart expressed alarm over the long-term prospects of the Port Jefferson Fire Department’s fire station on Maple Place, which in a recent climate resilience meeting was noted for heightened risk of flooding. [For more on this village meeting, see story, “As Port Jeff braces for heightened flooding,” The Port Times Record, April 13.]

“My question is this: Does the fire department or the village have the right of eminent domain for properties that we desperately need?” Mart said. “If we do have that, aren’t we obligated for the long run to pursue that as far as we can?”

Land use

Much discussion centered on potential code changes to protect trees, preserve open space and limit clearing of woodlands. With a village public hearing scheduled for May 1 on the future development of the Maryhaven property, the body discussed whether new development is environmentally optimal.

Civic vice president Holly Fils-Aime tied the issues of flooding and land development, stating that additional paved surfaces could exacerbate concerns over stormwater runoff.

“Everybody is seeing the flooding — the roads become rivers — and it actually ends up in the harbor,” Fils-Aime said. “None of this is really filtered in any way, and the more development we have obviously adds more stress on all of these systems.”

Citing a 2016 report from the New York State Comptroller’s Office, the vice president added that preserving existing green spaces and creating new ones serves a wide array of fruitful purposes.

The report mentions open spaces can protect water quality, protect biodiversity and promote outdoor recreation, among other public benefits.

“My real worry is that the more development we have, the less our village is going to be viable in terms of drinking water,” Fils-Aime said.

PJCA will meet next on Wednesday, May 10, at 7 p.m. in the Port Jefferson Free Library. Candidates for village offices have been invited to present to the body.

By Ana Hozyainova

We are pleased to announce that the Port Jefferson Civic Association is fully formed and welcomes all village residents.

PJCA was founded to protect and represent residents’ voices in all village matters. Working together, we can identify and amplify concerns that would otherwise get overlooked and help ensure they are brought to the attention of our village representatives.

For example, the board of trustees without any prior notice or public debate voted March 20 to extend terms from two to four years starting in June 2023. The civic association does not have a position on the decision, but believes that term changes are significant and should be debated.

As a civic association, we can pinpoint an issue before it escalates to a crisis and encourage preemptive action. If we had had an active civic association in 2020, perhaps we could have avoided issuing a $10 million bond as the solution to the East Beach bluff predicament. While the erosion needed to be addressed, it was not an excuse for action without debate. The issuance of the bond took many residents by surprise. And although some funds have already been spent, it is not a done deal. Continuing discussions at Village Hall indicate there are other, more cost-effective alternatives still to be explored.

Going forward, the hope is that the civic association can collaborate with local officials to identify solutions that are sustainable, effective and in the best interests of village residents.

Besides the upper wall at Port Jefferson Country Club, PJCA will focus on the overdevelopment of the village. The latter is particularly alarming given the steep slopes, inefficient storm drainage and rising sea levels that make Port Jefferson vulnerable to flooding. That is why a strong focus on preserving open spaces is important. Open space has been proven to mitigate flooding and help purify water to maintain our aquifer — both of which, ultimately, save tax dollars.

 As a community, we will continue to face many issues of urgency and importance. We are committed to working with village officials and residents to find solutions that prioritize both the well-being of the villagers and the sustainability of our environment.

We call on all residents to join us in these important conversations. The PJCA meets at the Port Jefferson Free Library, every second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be April 12 at 7:30 p.m. For more details, email [email protected].

Ana Hozyainova is president of the Port Jefferson Civic Association.

Trustee Lauren Sheprow, above, is a declared candidate for Port Jefferson Village mayor. Photo courtesy Sheprow

The candidate pool for this year’s mayoral election in the Village of Port Jefferson just doubled in size, with trustee Lauren Sheprow now entering the race.

Seven-term incumbent Mayor Margot Garant announced her retirement from the village government in February and has since secured the Democratic Party’s nomination for Town of Brookhaven supervisor. To fill the open seat, Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden was first to announce her candidacy. Sheprow is now the second.

In an exclusive interview, Sheprow confirmed her candidacy, stating that she has canvassed village residents who have expressed general interest in a new direction for village government.

“They would like to see a turn of the page for their village,” Sheprow said. “As I contemplated that, and as I had a perspective on how the government runs over the past eight or nine months as a trustee, I started recognizing opportunities for a new vision.”

If elected, she would be the second member of her family to occupy the office, her father Hal having served six terms as mayor from 1977 to 1991.

Sheprow joined the Port Jefferson Board of Trustees in July, unseating four-term incumbent trustee Bruce Miller. Before entering the board, she had spent 16 years as the chief media relations officer at Stony Brook University and before that four years as the public relations director at Mather Hospital.

Sheprow suggested her experiences within the SBU and Mather administrations directly apply to that of the village. “They have very similar departments as the village has, only on a larger scale,” the trustee said. “I think I can bring a lot of that experience to our village to help it run more efficiently and effectively.”

Since entering the board, Sheprow has taken on several assignments, serving as the village’s communications commissioner and as trustee liaison for both recreation and the food and beverage lessee at Port Jefferson Country Club. 

For Sheprow, expanding use of the country club’s restaurant and catering facility would remain a priority. She said village organizations such as the Parks & Recreation Advisory Council and the Social/Hospitality Task Force are working to “help guide the lessee to create a more engaging membership experience,” adding, “I’ve seen some developments in that area, and as the season comes upon us, we’ll see the outcomes of that work.”

Sheprow and Snaden are currently the only two declared candidates for mayor. Incumbent trustee Stan Loucks and former village clerk Bob Juliano are both running for trustee.

Election Day will take place Tuesday, June 20.

File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, Feb. 21, to discuss parking, youth services at the Village Center and emergency repairs at Port Jefferson Country Club.

Parking

At the request of parking administrator Kevin Wood, the board passed a resolution to set the same managed parking rates and daily times as last season, effective March 15. The board also approved 24/7 metering of the Perry Street resident lot at $0.50 per hour, effective April 1, with payment exceptions for village residents and Perry Street permits.

Country club

Mayor Margot Garant reported on a wellhead at the country club in need of replacement, saying that a recommendation was submitted last year to remove the turbine from the well for inspection. 

“Apparently, if some basic maintenance had been done on the wellhead last year, it would have prevented the complete failure,” she said. “There’s a rubber gasket that sits on top of the pump, and the rubber gasket was completely blown, so it burned out the steel shaft below it,” adding “the whole wellhead has to be replaced.”

The mayor reported that the Farmingdale-based American Well & Pump Co. has “the significant component on their shelf available for us.” At a cost of $47,130, the board voted to approve the request, with the money taken from the PJCC fund.

Trustee Stan Loucks said that the cost to repair the wellhead “went from $10,000 to this number [$47,130] because of the lack of attention last year.”

Reports

Garant reported on an ongoing negotiation between the village and the village-based nonprofit Long Island Foundation for Education & Sports. This organization offers youth programs and rents a room in the Village Center. 

Garant said LIFFES currently requests a continued rental rate of $35 per hour, reduced from the $42 per hour pre-pandemic rate. Village treasurer Denise Mordente said the village receives roughly $31,000 in annual rent from the nonprofit. 

“If they were to leave because they could not afford it, there’s not another vendor looking to come in there, to my understanding,” Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden said. “Additionally, it’s a service to our residents and our families that is absolutely necessary for some.”

Garant added that the partnership with the foundation was not motivated by profit but rather by providing a needed service for residents. 

“It’s a win-win because the building is dormant during these shoulder hours — there’s nothing happening,” Garant said. “We’re servicing our residents. It’s a great program for the kids. And it’s a solid revenue line that we didn’t have before.”

Contemplating whether to comply with the request, board members agreed to schedule a meeting with LIFFES executives to work toward agreeable terms for both parties.

Snaden reported on a recent meeting with the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District. The BID agreed to contribute to spring season flowers and beautification and up to 50% on discounted LED lights for next winter.

The deputy mayor concluded her report by discussing progress with the planning board, as “Conifer II is ready to submit plans for the upcoming March meeting,” she said. “We should hopefully start seeing movement there.”

Loucks gave an update on the upcoming season at PJCC. “Today, we have 396 members, and we broke $1.3 million today,” he said. “A soft opening is going to be March 24. The hard opening is March 31.”

Trustee Rebecca Kassay reported on a recent meeting with Town of Brookhaven officials regarding the draft plans for a redesigned marina parking lot near the harbor. 

“We pointed out the entrance across from Barnum, where we’ve had multiple deaths in the village,” she said, adding, “The conversation came around to, ‘Do we really need that to be open at all?’”

Responding to this suggestion, Kassay said the town would consult with the Melville-based Nelson+Pope engineering firm to determine whether the lot could be reconfigured without an entrance or exit at Barnum.

The board voted to schedule a budget work session for March 20 at 3 p.m. The next meeting of the village board will take place Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m.

Mayor Margot Garant analyzes coastal engineering drawings during a public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Port Jefferson Village Hall. Photo by Raymond Janis

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees convened Tuesday, Jan. 17. The board tackled a range of subjects from upcoming coastal engineering projects to a rideshare service and school district facilities.

A proposed westerly wall

Mayor Margot Garant reported a development to the coastal engineering plans at the East Beach bluff, where erosion threatens the village-owned Port Jefferson Country Club’s clubhouse facility.

With $3.75 million in federal funds secured for an upland wall to protect the building [See story, “Schumer secures funds for upper wall at PJCC …” The Port Times Record, Jan. 12], the mayor announced her team is exploring ways to finalize its upland plans.

A proposed “westerly wall,” originally pitched as an add-on extension to the upper wall to accommodate racket sports, is now recommended as a possible erosion mitigation strategy. Huntington Station-based engineering firm GEI Consultants “did confirm that they definitely feel we need to do both the main wall and the extension wall,” Garant said.

The village board put the upper wall projects to bid in October, announcing the cost projections the following month. The upper wall bid came back at approximately $3.3 million, with the combined upper wall and westerly wall project costing roughly $4.5 million.

Considering which option is most suitable for the village, Garant outlined why she favors constructing the westerly wall: “I believe that putting that second wall in there, now unequivocally, if somebody else is paying 75% of that cost, I think the westerly wall should go in,” she said.

Forecasting how to organize the racket sports facilities once the westerly wall is complete, Garant suggested it will be a problematic decision-making calculus regarding which racket sports to prioritize.

“We may be wanting to install more than three pickleball courts because the demand is so high and trying to get maybe an instructional court, and maybe just have the two [tennis] courts in the back,” she said. “We have to figure out when, how, where, timing, materials, cost. It’s complicated.”

She added, “The good news is we’re going to be building a wall. I think that saves a major resource for this community. I think it allows us to reinstate a racket ball campus. And I think it gives us a reasonable timeline to come up with an alternate plan, god forbid in 20 years, we need to have something different in place.”

Ridesharing service

Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden and Kevin Wood, director of economic development, parking administrator and communications committee head, jointly presented on a rideshare project. 

The benefits of the plan, as Snaden explained, are threefold: to offer residents easy access to downtown Port Jefferson, provide a safe means of return travel to their homes and ease traffic congestion.

“I think we have something that’s really going to work for the residents of Port Jefferson,” the deputy mayor said, adding that the goal is “to get them downtown, to save parking for the tourists and others, and to come down, have a nice evening and get home safely.”

Wood worked out how the village would implement such a rideshare program. “The plan that you have in front of you would be to combine world-class, Uber-like software with a black car service to be exclusively used and designed for Port Jefferson residents,” he said.

Offering a rough sketch of his vision, Wood said the service would operate Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The village government would administer the software, which would be geofenced for Port Jefferson, meaning requests outside the 11777 zip code could not be possible. “If somebody wanted to go to Smith Haven Mall, they can’t,” Wood said. 

He proposed that rides could start at $5 per person and $12.50 for groups of three to seven people. These figures could be subject to change as the village would adjust the software and set its rates based on the community’s needs.

“The beautiful part about this is that if we find that $5 is literally not enough money or too much money, I think we have some leeway there and could change this stuff on a dime,” Wood said. “We can change things on demand. We can make new group rates. We could do special event rates.”

Village attorney Brian Egan inquired whether this program could create centralized drop-off locations for riders, preventing clutter of village roads and safety hazards from stopped vehicles. Responding, Wood said the village could train drivers to drop off and pick up riders to minimize these risks.

Garant put her support behind the effort, saying this will benefit residents who wish to access their downtown amid its busy season. “We all, I’ll speak for myself, feel we’re getting snowed out in the middle of the summertime,” the mayor said. “You can’t get down here, so I think this is going to be something that I’m really excited about.”

Reports

Egan updated the board on the ongoing negotiations with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The village is attempting to reclassify the Port Jefferson Clean Solid Waste Landfill as a transfer station, enabling the continued procedure of branch and leaf pickup services. [See story, “Garbage grief: PJ Village and DEC clash over landfill permit,” The Port Times Record, Dec. 1].

“I do think we have — at least with the DEC senior administrative staff — a very receptive ear,” he said. Referring to the permit dispute with DEC, he added, “I think we’ll have a cooperative resolution to it, and I am cautiously optimistic.”

Trustee Lauren Sheprow used her report to discuss a forthcoming capital bond at Port Jefferson School District. “The school district is looking at floating another bond in May,” she said.

Citing an article in Newsday, Sheprow said approximately 80% of federal COVID-19 relief funds have yet to be spent by public schools statewide. “$14 billion has not been used yet,” she said. “There’s $14 billion issued to New York State in COVID relief,” adding that the heating and ventilation systems proposed by PJSD may qualify under COVID relief conditions.

Sheprow added she might pitch her ideas to the school board during its upcoming meeting Tuesday, Jan. 24. She encouraged her fellow board members to attend.

Snaden reported on a meeting with the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District and the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce. This year’s iteration of the Port Jefferson Ice Festival, hosted by the BID on Jan. 28 and 29, will feature 27 ice sculptures at various storefronts and other locations throughout Port Jeff.

Trustee Stan Loucks reported on winter projects at PJCC. He said 188 members have already signed up for this year as of the time of this meeting. Trustee Rebecca Kassay was absent and did not deliver a report by proxy.

The board of trustees will meet again Monday, Feb. 6, with a scheduled public hearing to amend the village code concerning dogs and other animals.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently secured $3.75 million for a proposed upland wall at Port Jefferson Country Club. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees kicked off the new year Tuesday, Jan. 3, with business and general meetings covering public expenditures, code changes and public safety.

East Beach bluff

Mayor Margot Garant announced that the village received $3.75 million for a proposed upper wall at Port Jefferson Country Club. The funds were made available through the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant program, facilitated by the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The clubhouse facility at PJCC lies atop the East Beach bluff, which has rapidly eroded in recent years. Now the clubhouse is dangerously close to the bluff’s edge. [See story, “On the edge: Port Jeff Village weighs the fate of country club,” The Port Times Record, April 7.]

In an email from Schumer’s office, the senator outlined his reasons for supporting this coastal engineering project.

“This money will fund efforts to stabilize the crumbling East Beach bluff, where village recreation facilities are currently threatened due to the chronic erosion,” he said. “I worked to secure funding as soon as Mayor Garant reached out to me, and I am glad that with her partnership, we have obtained this funding — not only to preserve village assets but to ensure public safety and protect residents’ pocketbooks.” 

Garant said the federal funds would support the construction of an upland wall between the clubhouse and the bluff, potentially shielding the building from further coastal erosion at East Beach. 

“That money will help us save that building and restore the facilities as they preexisted up there,” she said. “We definitely have to recognize Senator Schumer’s action,” adding, “We have put that project out to bid. We have our letter of non-jurisdiction from the [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation], so we are ready to go on that project.”

Gap property

The former Gap property, located on Arden Place in Lower Port, was recently acquired by new ownership. Garant reported that plans for that property are still preliminary with the zoning and planning departments but hinted at the potential for mixed-used use of the space.

The new owner “is looking at a wet space on the first floor — sort of a food court concept that we had all kind of discussed,” she said. “And then possibly a second and third level, and perhaps a boutique hotel, which we welcome.” Devoting the space to apartments may also be on the table, Garant added.

Parking revenue

At the request of the director of economic development, parking administrator and communications committee head Kevin Wood, the board voted to evenly split the managed parking revenue generated during the 26th annual Charles Dickens Festival between the village and the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council.

“This will bring us back into the black and help the arts council survive,” Garant said.

Country club manager

The board additionally approved the hire of Thomas Natola as general manager of the Port Jefferson Country Club at an annual salary of $139,000. Stan Loucks, trustee liaison to the country club, said Natola comes highly recommended by previous employers.

“Nobody had anything negative to say about Tom,” Loucks said. “Everything was positive.”

Public hearings

The board also held two public hearings during the general meeting. The first hearing dealt with a proposed change establishing Station Street, a one-way street between the Port Jefferson Crossing apartments and the train station. The amendment includes multiple provisions, preventing left turns onto the corridor as well as parking, stopping and standing.

Following a public hearing, the board approved the amendment unanimously. To read how Station Street received its name, see story, “Democracy and tech intersect to name Station Street in uptown Port Jeff,” The Port Times Record, Dec. 22.

The second hearing gave residents a chance to weigh in on a proposed $800,000 grant application through the Restore New York Communities Initiative, offering financial assistance to Conifer Realty. The funds would help Conifer demolish blighted buildings, clearing the way for its proposed Conifer II redevelopment at the Main and Perry streets intersection. Following the public hearing, the board approved the application unanimously.

Public safety

Fred Leute, chief of code enforcement, discussed the busy work of his department last month. Leute said code enforcement officers responded promptly on two occasions to resolve emergencies. For these efforts, the village board acknowledged multiple code officers, who were awarded proclamations and given a standing ovation from those in attendance.

To view this public commendation and to watch the trustee reports, see video below.

Graphic from the Port Jefferson Village website

The Village of Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees met on Monday, Dec. 12, to review several important matters.

Mayor Margot Garant provided some key updates on the status of the stabilization projects at the East Beach bluff. At the toe of the bluff, the lower sea wall has already been installed along with its concrete cap. Construction will continue for several more months.

“That work will continue through the spring,” Garant said. “At some point, they will stop working during the severe winter, and in the springtime they will start to stabilize the bluff and plant and revegetate everything.”

At the upland, the village-owned Port Jefferson Country Club’s clubhouse facility hangs dangerously close to the bluff’s edge. In an exchange during the public comments, Garant stated the board is still exploring its upland options.

“We still don’t have enough information to decide to build [an upper wall], to put it out to the public [for referendum] or to decide to abandon [the clubhouse] and retreat,” she said. “We have decided to wait and let the phase I project be completed. … Right now, we are at a standstill with any major expenditures or advancements on phase II.”

Garant also gave an update on the status of the Port Jefferson Village Clean Solid Waste Landfill, a small kettle hole the village uses for branch and leaf pickup services. Though the village’s permit with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was set to expire on Dec. 11, the mayor said the agency would temporarily allow the village to continue its current use of the site.

“It looks like our paperwork was submitted in a timely manner to allow us to continue operations until we either have a renewed permit or we are redefined as a transfer station and not a landfill,” she said. For more on this intergovernmental permit dispute, see story, “Garbage grief: PJ Village and DEC clash over landfill permit.

Garant thanked New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) for his decades of representing the Port Jefferson community. Englebright will leave office at the end of the month after narrowly losing last month to Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) during the midterm election.

The mayor recognized Englebright’s lasting impact, noting “the many, many things that he’s accomplished for this community, locally and also regionally, and the stewardship he has taken in terms of environmental preservation and saving a lot of our history.”

Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden reported on some of the ongoing work within the Port Jefferson Planning Board regarding a proposed development by Conifer Realty located at the intersection of Main and Perry streets. This project, colloquially known as “Conifer II,” comes as Conifer’s Port Jefferson Crossing Apartments nears its grand opening.

Conifer II “is going to take the rest of the blighted block up there and turn it into a beautiful new building,” Snaden said. “We’ve been working very, very hard to make sure that the aesthetic of that building is in compliance with the whole plan, the master plan up there, with the current building that’s there, and everything works together and looks nice.”

The deputy mayor also announced an innovation concerning parking enforcement. An automatic license plate reader, or ALPR, attached to a code enforcement vehicle will soon replace parking enforcement operations. Snaden said the ALPR would assist the code department in generating overtime parking tickets on Main, with plans to move this technology into the metered parking lots.

“How that will affect you guys, the residents, is that there will be no parking stickers next year,” Snaden said. “You will go online and register the exact same way that you do. The only difference is that you will not be mailed an actual sticker. You will just be registered in the system by your license plate.”

Trustee Stan Loucks began his report by thanking the parks department staff, attributing much of the success of the village’s 26th annual Charles Dickens Festival to their efforts.

“The Dickens Festival turned out to be super successful, and I think a lot of it is due to the parks department and the hard work that they put in,” he said.

Trustee Lauren Sheprow, the village’s communications commissioner, reported on the recent formation of a communications team following an internal communications audit she conducted earlier this year. Kevin Wood heads the team, along with his duties as the village’s director of economic development and parking administrator. 

Sheprow referred to this as “a historic occasion” for the village government. “There are some hurdles and challenges there, no doubt, but I think that this group is up to the task to come together as a team,” she said.

The village board will reconvene Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 5 p.m.