Kevin Duchemin, 44, a lifelong Sag Harbor Village resident, took his seat for the first time on the village board on Tuesday night, and smoothly picked up the job of regulating life in the historic old community.
Even if his votes involved nothing seemingly more controversial than keeping chickens and emptying swimming pools.
But neither of those things is without controversy in Sag Harbor. The village only started to allow people to keep chickens in residential neighborhoods a year ago, and his vote Tuesday night — the board voted 5-0 for the proposal — changed the way the chicken limit is calculated, from 6 per 20,000 square feet of property to one per 3,500 square feet. No more than 18 chickens are allowed on any single property, no matter how large it is.
The other change, which also passed unanimously, bans people from draining their swimming pools directly into the street. It is important because the village’s master plan dealing with pollution caused by runoff strictly limits the amount of water that can be dumped into local bays and creeks, a particular problem because of the hilly terrain in Sag Harbor.
Duchemin also joined with the rest of the village board in keeping open a complicated technical resolution specifying when a certificate of appropriateness is required for improvements made within a historic district.
The board held a public hearing on the resolution which drew no comment, but — on the advice of Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. — unanimously decided to hold the resolution open, agreeing that many in the village may not be aware of the consequences of the measure. It requires such a certificate for any change to a structure within the historic district that needs to get site plan approval under the zoning code.