Residents are contemplating who they will vote for next Tuesday at the Village of Bayville elections. Mayor Paul Rupp is not seeking re-election. Two candidates, Deputy Mayor Joe Russo and current Trustee Bob De Natale believe they have what it takes to be the next mayor.
This year there are four trustee seats open because of the untimely death of Trustee Michele Principe. Three seats will be for the traditional four-year term. One seat is for two years, the time remaining for Principe’s term. We asked the candidates a few questions to assist residents in voting when they go to the polls.
What talents can you bring to the board that current board members do not possess?
Bob De Natale: I bring the experience of having owned and successfully operated a business, which gives me clear insight into the problems facing local merchants. I bring a vision for our community, which embraces responsible, environmentally sound development, which will enhance the quality of life in the village.
Valerie Belcher: My teaching ability to nurture, care and be there for children and residents.
Patricia Farnell: I meet with a variety of people on a daily basis to help them achieve a dream whether it is buying or selling a house. They look to me for answers and help. I previously had a financial background in banking and hold a business management degree. I never give up and I’m willing to do the work.
David Wright: As a senior principal law clerk for over 20 years, I have handled literally hundreds of Article 78 proceedings involving zoning issues. I know what the court is looking for when applying the arbitrary and capricious standard of review. I will not allow anyone to skip steps in the process.
Peter Valsecchi: I bring the experience on having been on both sides as an employer and employee during my life.
What are the most important issues for Bayville?
De Natale: The threat of a cross-Sound tunnel and the issue of multiple dwellings/apartments/inns. It’s imperative that the board stop the appeal of the court’s decision to strike down the zoning changes regarding apartments.
Belcher: Zoning, the tunnel and converting the Steve’s Pier property to residential. We need to stop the plans for apartments and condos.
Farnell: The zoning changes that need to be addressed to avoid first floor apartments and condos and the Steve’s Pier property that needs closure and quickly.
Wright: The plan to convert empty storefronts into apartment buildings is dangerous and puts our village on a slippery slope to change the entire character of this town that we all love. The proposed tunnel is disastrous and must be stopped and improvement of the Steve’s Pier lot, which is long overdue.
Valsecchi: I would stop the current appeal against the Save Bayville litigation currently in the courts. Then repeal the recent code changes allowing apartments and seaside inns in the business districts. We need to work with the current owner of the Steve’s Pier property to develop the property to something that would benefit the village and continue the current work of the board and tunnel committee to stop this tunnel.
How can you unify Bayville?
De Natale: One of my strongest assets is my ability to listen and treat all people, regardless of their opinion, with respect. I will unify the village by being responsive to the needs and ideas of all residents, by helping our local businesses thrive, and by preserving the natural beauty of our community and our beaches for our children and our grandchildren.
Belcher: The residents in this town need to put personal feelings aside and work together for a better community. They need to stop the mud- slinging.
Farnell: Unifying Bayville will take some adjustments on the people who have caused the disruption, used vulgar language, name calling and propagating fake news. We are willing to listen to everyone’s questions and hope we will have the answers to keep Bayville a friendly and a wonderful place to live.
Wright: I would represent all residents and listen to the ideas of anyone coming forward. I have and will treat everyone with respect. I believe for the most part, we are unified because we all want what is best for Bayville, but we simply disagree on how to achieve that. The current committee is doing an excellent job against the tunnel. I would join and assist them in any way possible.
Valsecchi: As I did during my past two terms as a trustee, I would listen to all the residents and respect their questions and comments. I appreciate the willingness of residents to come before the mayor and board.