Three Are Seeking Two Seats In North Haven Village


Three candidates—one incumbent and two first-time challengers—are running for two open trustee seats on the North Haven Village Board. Each term is two years.

Incumbent Jeff Sander is seeking a fourth term, running on the North Haven Party line with architect Arthur James Laspesa, while Mary Whelan, an attorney, is running solo under the Daffodil Party banner. Trustee Russell J. “Jim” Smyth Jr. has opted not to run again.

The election is this Tuesday, June 18, and registered voters can cast their ballots between noon and 9 p.m. at Village Hall on Ferry Road.

Board members have opted not to immediately fill the seat vacated by former Mayor Laura Nolan, a North Haven Party member who resigned in late April for personal reasons. Instead, the board expects to appoint a new mayor sometime after July 1, and that person will complete the remainder of Ms. Nolan’s term, which expires in June 2014.

Jeff SanderMr. Sander, 71, a three-term veteran of the board, is a full-time village resident of 14 years. He retired as an executive with Lucent Technologies and IBM, and holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business from New York University. He is also involved with the East End Classic Boat Society and a member of the Sag Harbor Yacht Club.

“I think I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping the village a good place to live and would like to continue to do that,” he said.

Finding a way to thin the village’s large deer population and residents’ concerns about tick-borne diseases remains a priority. A committee formed by the village to address the issue is drafting some recommendations to be presented to the board within the next month and reviewed with residents by the end of summer, he said.

Continuing work on drafting a set of regulations for docks is another issue. The village has had a moratorium on new dock construction since 2011, while the board has been studying their effects on the waterways and underwater wildlife. Preserving as much land as possible and “regulating what does get built in North Haven in a fair and equitable manner, so that the village continues to have a lot of beauty,” is another goal that Mr. Sander plans to pursue.

Arthur James LaspesaMr. Laspesa, 65, has served on the North Haven Village Planning Board since 1987, and as its chairman since 1992, but is taking his first stab at a political race this year.

A resident of North Haven Shores who has lived in the village since 1985, Mr. Laspesa—who is best known as Jim—is an architect for A. James Laspesa Architect in Sag Harbor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the New York Institute of Technology and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 1977. He is also on the board of directors and vice commodore for the Sag Harbor Yacht Club, and sits on the board of the Cormaria Retreat House.

“I’ve reluctantly stayed out of politics my whole life,” he said. “This is my first step. It’s a little nerve-racking.”

Mr. Laspesa said he was always interested in running, but was finally encouraged to do so when Ms. Nolan asked him to enter the race.

Preserving open space by teaming up with Nature Conservancy-type organizations and protecting the peninsula village’s shorelines and bluffs are his main platform, he said. Mr. Laspesa added that he would like to consider revetments and similar structures.

The village’s large deer population is one issue that Mr. Laspesa said he does not want to get involved in. Instead, he said residents should try to plant indigenous vegetation that deer do not like to eat.

Mary WhelanMs. Whelan, 56, another newcomer to the political scene, said she has entered this year’s race to give voters an alternative option to the ruling North Haven Party.

An attorney with her own practice in Sag Harbor, Ms. Whelan is also the co-owner of a marine construction business, D.J. Whelan Corp, also known as Whelan Marine, which she started with her husband, David, 30 years ago. They live in Bay Haven, and Ms. Whelan has been a village resident for nearly three decades.

Her law degree is from the Hofstra Law School, and she also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southampton College. She is a founding member of the Breakwater Yacht Club Community Sailing Center and also involved with her homeowners’ association.

She named her Daffodil Party after a flower that she said is symbolic of the village because the deer will not eat it and it returns every year.

“I thought that it was time to have a new voice for the community,” she said of her decision to run. “It’s great the job people have done, but it’s been the same. The North Haven Party has been ingrained in North Haven Village for a long time.”

Shortly after submitting her nominating petition, she said, the North Haven Party challenged it, saying some of her signatures were on its petition as well. Her petition was ultimately upheld by the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

“As much as the deer population is an issue, the more serious problem is the ticks that North Haven seems to be really infested with,” Ms. Whelan said, noting that she would like to work on a solution.

Cutting down on traffic backups in the summer and reducing noise from lawnmowers, weed whackers and leaf blowers through stricter enforcement are other goals of Ms. Whelan.

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