POA Executive Board Meeting of 9/13/2021

Minutes of
Monday, September 13, 2021, Meeting
Conducted via Zoom

Board members present: Robert Dahill, Ray Seligson, Bruce Caldarone, Linda Sachs, Peggy Taylor,
Matt Barez, David Silverstone, Len Farber, Mark Law, John Grathwol, Seth Hershman

Public Hearing

Agenda Item 1. The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m.

Agenda Item 2. To receive and consider public comments and testimony concerning a proposed amendment to the Pine Orchard Association Zoning Ordinance to modify the definition of Front Yards.

Bob Dahill opened the Public Hearing stating intention.(paraphrase)  “if a fence is being constructed that is six (6) feet, installed between properties on the waterfront down to the waterfront building line, the height of the fence should be reduced from six (6) feet to three (3) feet forward of the water-front building line… the belief was that such an change in the POA ordinance would increase property value by maintaining sightline access east and west along the shoreline. It is not the intent of the Board to infringe on people’s property rights or privacy, or to tell people what they can or cannot do with their private property. It was the goal to provide guidelines to protect people’s view of the water by not blocking or partially blocking other people’s view of the water by constructing a fence.”

The floor was then open to the public for comments.

Niall Ferguson – 15 Spring Rock Road: Niall read a letter he sent to the POA (attached to the minutes).

Rich Colbert – 2 Halstead Lane: interrupted asking for a point of clarification to what Bob Dahill stated in his opening comments. Mr. Colbert pointed out that the proposed amendment (attached to the minutes), calls out not only fences, but buildings, structure fence, landscaping feature, hedge or plants. Bob Dahill agreed with Mr. Colberts’ point of clarification.

Michael & Joyce Schiavone – 61 Island View Avenue: Michael noted that most of the homes on the North side of Island View have six (6) foot high hedges and fences. However, 95% of the homes on the South side of Island view (facing long Island Sound) have no hedges and/or fences that are greater than six (6). Joyce stated that she agrees with Niall’s assessment of the proposed amendment.

David Scheer – 2 Spring Rock Road: David agreed with Niall’s assessment. David noted that since 1989, when they moved in, they spend an enormous amount of money beautifying their property next to the access point to the shoreline. He mentioned that he has endured over 15 years of litigation to preserve the ownership of their property. He then went on to state they will not change their landscaping preferences to accommodate the proposed ordinance. He feels such an ordinance will result in further litigation between the POA and property owners.

Rich Colbert – 2 Halstead Lane: Richard agreed with the comments made by David Sheer and Niall Ferguson. He feels that the proposed ordinance change is beyond the scope of the POA Board. He also stated that the amendment, by definition, would prevent homeowners from putting in a wide range of structures that are greater than three-feet high. He went on to state that the regulation was nothing more than a round-about way to resolve the existing litigation between Beachcroft and Wheeler concerning the Beachcroft intent to erect a six (6) foot privacy fence which Wheeler objects to.

Bob Dahill noted that Mr. Colbert’s comments were inappropriate given that the Beachcroft/Wheeler proceeding are in court, waiting on decision and stated that Mr. Colbert is the attorney representing Beachcroft.

Robert Buckholz – 9 Island View Avenue:  He too agreed conceptually with everything he has heard thus far. He went on to state that if this amendment is focused on fences, then is should have been drafted as such. Not in the “shotgun” manor it has been drafted. He then went on to state that this amendment is an egregious taking of landowner rights.

Roger Lowlicht – 6 Crescent Bluff Avenue: He stated that he has been in the POA for over 30-years, and takes issue with the way this amendment was presented. He posed the following question “if you are protecting waterfront views then for whom are you doing this for?” He then went on to ask if the POA has approach any waterfront homeowner to see if this was an issue. Mr. Lowlicht believes that the POA is cutting a deal with McBurney to give the POA the right to repass on a sea-walk they own. As he understands it, no one is allowed to repass on his portion of the sea walk. Hence, if the POA wants repass rights to his property, they must withdraw the amendment.

Stacy & Patrick Ruwe – 19 Waterside Road: She was unaware that this action was taking place and only found out about it through neighbors. Ms. Ruwe is totally against this action and feels that Bob Dahill should resign because of the way he framed the amendment. Stacy feels the POA has engineered this conflict between the waterfront property owners and the rest of the POA.

Paul and Barbara Saggese – 1 Crescent Bluff Avenue: Paul posed two questions to Bob Dahill, 1) When you stated that you are not trying to tell waterfront residences what they can and cannot do with their private property, this proposed regulation is exactly that, how do you believe it is not? 2) Why after 120 years his amendment is suddenly being presented. It appears this is nothing more than a deal with McBurney to achieve a desired end.     

Bob Dahill reminded the attendees that a special hearing is not a question-and-answer session with the board, However, Mr.  Saggeses’s questions are noted as part of the public record.

Mr. Dahill then closed the public comment portion of the discussion and asked the POA Board to allow for a change to the agenda to move item E “To consider and if appropriate, approve a proposed amendment to the Pine Orchard Association Zoning Ordinance to modify the definition of Front Yards as is on file with the TOWN Clerk”. David Silverstone proposed that the agenda be amended as stated, Mark Law seconded, and the verbal vote was taken which was unanimous.

Bob Dahill spoke first stating that the amendment was not an attempt to sneak anything by the association or any individual or tell people what to do with their property. He further stated that he had no discussions with the McBurny’s relative to this issue at which point Roger Lowlich use an expletive stating his disagreement with that statement.

(Board) Seth Hershman – 27 Yowago Ave.: Stated he is new to Pine Orchard and feel the POA should not do this.

(Board) Mark Law – 246 Pine Orchard Road: He feels we should move to a vote.

(Non-board comment) Diane Capasso – 2 Elizabeth Street: She asked Bob Dahill what was the impetus for bringing the amendment forward now? Bob Dahill stated the issue arose out of an issue on Ozone Road concerning a fence that partially blocked the view of Long Island Sound for a resident. There had been other discussions about people who wanted to put up fences.

(Board) David Silverstone – 13 Island View Avenue: wanted to thank everyone, but felt the motion should be withdrawn.

(Board) John Grathwol – 54 Spring Rock Road: proposed a motion to table the discussion. No one wants this to go through.

Bob Dahill – He suggested that the amendment could be modified to extend the six (6) foot high fence restriction to the building line. He went on to say that it appears that residents are interpreting the proposed amendment as a restriction on what residents can do on their property, which is not the case. He proposed that the Board table this discussion to a future time and asked for a proposal as such.

Bruce Caldarone put forth a motion to table the discussion to a future date. Matt Barez second that motion. Seth Hershman put forth a motion to withdraw the tabling motion presented by Bruce Caldarone, that was seconded by Matt Barez. David Silverstone then stated that the motion should be defeated and terminated immediately. He put that into the form of a motion which was seconded by Mark Law. A vote was taken Bob Dahill abstained, all other members of the board voted to withdraw the amendment. The proposed amendment was withdrawn, and the motion was defeated.  

Bob Dahill requested a motion to adjourn the Public Hearing portion of the Board Meeting. Linda Sachs so moved, that was seconded by Peg Taylor. There was no discussion, and a vote was taken by voice, all stated yes, The Public Hearing was ended.

POA Special Board Meeting

Bob Dahill thanked all and reconvened the POA Special Board Meeting.

Agenda Item 1. Call to order at 7:57PM

Agenda Item 2. Approved the minutes: from July 12th, 2021, Board Meeting. Bob Dahill asked for a motion to accept the minutes as published. Len Farber so moved, seconded by David Silverstone, no discussion, voice vote was taken, and all stated yes. The minutes are approved as posted.  

Agenda Item 3, Treasurer’s report: was presented by Linda Sachs. Linda stated that over the past three months, there had been little change in expenses, taxes are 95% collected. The current balances were noted and published (report attached herein). Bruce Caldarone asked if any funds were paid out related to shoreline maintenance. Linda Sachs reported none yet.

Agenda Item 4. Committee Reports: By-Laws no update. Nominating – no update. Municipal/Community LiaisonSeth Hershman stated that it’s important that POA residents lock their cars and access doors to their homes due to the high number of break-ins by youth in the area.  Waterfront maintenance & AccessRay Seligson suggested they identify several town residents to work with their committee to identify issues and help select contractors who can do the work of repair. David Silverstone suggested that the POA hire a structural engineer to assess the current access points and make recommendations to upkeep/repair. Bob Dahill asked that Ray Seligson and David Silverstone form a committee to come up with recommendations to which David Silverstone volunteered. John Grathwol supported a phased approach and Linda Sachs agreed but stated that in the near-term, the Island View access point needs to be kept safe and accessible. Building MaintenanceJohn Grathwol deferred to the Office Manager for an update. Peter Robinson stated that the parking lot will be repaired on Sept 23rd. The toilet pipe to the street needs to be cleaned out, not flushing. Deadbolt on garage access door needs to be replaced. We are having branches removed from the tree out front – there are a few widow-makers that need to come down. Two remote security cameras were installed, the window in the office was repaired. Linda Sachs asked if anything can be done to improve the visibility on Pine Orchard Road at the intersection of Pine Orchard Road and Totoket Road. Bob Dahill mentioned that the POA in the past has identified this intersection as an issue to the town Public Works and highway department, but no action was taken. It was suggested that the POA Board investigate installing a traffic mirror at that location. Bruce Caldarone offered to bring this issue up with the state again, particularly in light of additional infrastructure funds that may be available. Matt Barez suggested that the Potato post on the southwest intersection of Pine Orchard Road and Blackstone be removed because it limits visibility down Pine Orchard Road, Bob Dahill outlined the historical significance of the Potato Posts and felt its removal would  be a disservice to the history of Pine Orchard.  Zoning – no report. Tax CollectionLen Farber deferred to Peter Robinson who reported 95% collected with $2,800 outstanding for 13 residences.

Agenda Item 5 Old Business:  Peter Robinson reaffirmed that the POA parking log work is scheduled to start on Thursday the 23rd.

Agenda Item 6 New Business:  Bob Dahill stated that Long Range Planning – has been addressed and is an action item for Ray Seligson and David Silverstone.  Transfer of Historical Documents to the Blackstone Library: Bob Dahill presented the proposed plan to transfer a set of pre-1960 POA logs to the Blackstone Library for preservation and public reference. Mr. Dahill asked for a motion from the board to transfer the POA historical documents. Ray Seligson so moved and was seconded by Len Farber. There was no discussion when called for. A verbal vote was taken and all approved. The motion was passed. Saving Account funds accessBob Dahill asked for open access to $3,000 from saving for pending expenditures. The Board felt that the current budget process should cover all pending expenses on the waterfront and turned down the request. CT Irrigation for Triangle Park: Bob Dahill asked for permission to spend $1,800 for an irrigation system for the gardens. The funds are budgeted, no need for vote or a motion. Bob Dahill mentioned that there are no 100th anniversary books available and would like to order 25 replacement books for $625. It was suggested that the PDF be made available and offer a physical book for sale for $25.

Agenda Item 7 Officer Manager’s ReportPeter Robinson – All has been thus reported. A copy of the Office Manager’s report went out as an email attachment to the Board and is attached to the minutes.      

Agenda Item 8 Adjournment: Bob Dahill asked for a motion to Adjourn, Linda Sachs so moved, the motion was second by David Silverstone, no discussion and verbal vote was taken, and all voted to adjourn. The meeting ended at 8:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Robinson on behalf of
Margaret Haering, POA Clerk

Future Meetings – Monday, November 01, 2021, Monday, January 03, 2022, Monday, March 07, 2022, & Monday, May 02, 2022,

All future meetings will be held at 7:00 PM at the Pine Orchard Association office, 180 Pine Orchard Rd.