Friday, November 24, 2017

Stephentown Planning Board

November 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Article 78 Proceeding Concerning Mobile Home Park Is Denied

In his decision, State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McGrath ruled that Stephentown Attorney Brian Baker had not yet exhausted all his legal remedies with the town, thus by law precluding the issuance of a preliminary or permanent injunction against the the addition of seven more mobile home sites at a park that already exists at the corner of Brown’s Road and Route 22. On May 31 of this year, the Stephentown Building Department issued a permit for the work to begin. According to the court, Mr. Baker should have brought his appeal first to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), asking that the permit be overturned. He did not. Normally, such an appeal, has to be brought within 30 days of the neighboring property owners notice of the permit. In this case, the town’s attorney, Sal Ferlazzo, admitted the town had failed to do so. Such notice has now been filed and Mr. Baker indicates he is preparing the paperwork to proceed with the action before the ZBA. In an email to The Eastwick Press, Mr. Baker says “this is a very serious situation of utter loss of local control with major consequences. All without legal knowledge or the Town government, other than the Codes Enforcement Officer’s” involvement.

The project developer, Tom Hanson tells The Eastwick Press, it was his contention all along that he has all the legal permits, including the septic approval from the Rensselaer County Health Department. He also feels he is providing a service to the town, with the creation of more lower income housing opportunities, and bemoans the legal costs being placed on the town by Mr. Baker’s actions.

One of the issues raised in the courts decision deals with the joining of the property where the current mobile homes exist, referred to as the Sykes Property, and the land where the construction is taking place, called the Sicley property. Mr. Hanson and his wife purchased both properties in June of 2006. According to what the court papers refer to as “Factual History” the Hanson’s, in August of 2014, “executed a dead to themselves joining the Sykes and Sicley properties into one deed.” The deed was recorded on September 2, of 2014. The Sicley property is now listed under the Sykes property tax map number, and the land use code was changed from vacant land to mobile home parks. In an earlier conversation, Mr. Baker told the Eastwick Press he challenged the validity of this. Mr. Hanson has stated all the actions were indeed legal and recognized by the town.

The next action will be before the ZBA, should Mr. Baker indeed file the appeal.

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