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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, May 27, 2010
Court favors town in Cade challenge
By Saranac Hale Spencer
NEW SCOTLAND A recent lawsuit challenging plans for a large-scale residential development has been granted in part, but mostly dismissed in a decision that favored the town.
In December, William Cade, a lawyer who lives on Hilton Road near the old Tall Timbers golf course, filed an Article 78 lawsuit, which allows citizens to challenge government. Plans have been underway since 2005 to build a 169-house development on the site of the old golf course.
Earlier that month, the town’s zoning board had given permission for the developer, Garrison Properties, to build a water tower that is roughly twice the height allowed by the town’s zoning code. Cade challenged that decision in his suit as well as several other, largely procedural, points throughout the course of the planning process.
Judge Roger McDonough writing for the Supreme Court, the lowest of the state’s three-tiered system granted that “the determinations of the Zoning Board of Appeals are hereby vacated and annulled.” But, he wrote, “The petition is otherwise dismissed.”
Peter Lynch, the lawyer representing Cade, said yesterday that he intends to appeal the decision.
“It’s their right to appeal,” Jeffrey Baker, the lawyer for the zoning and planning boards, said yesterday. He was satisfied with the outcome of the suit since it “validated substantive actions that the town did,” he said.
At a zoning board meeting the previous evening, he told the board, “I think the decision is wrong factually and legally,” although it favors the town in that it requires only that the zoning board “go back and do it right” with regard to the variance for the water tower. That night, the board set a public hearing for June 22 to start the process again.
“We fully intend to have the planning board decision set aside,” Lynch said of the appeal.
The development, called Kensington Woods, would have its entrance and exit on Hilton Road, a short street that runs between Krumkill Road and Route 85A in the northeast part of town.
On June 25, Krumkill Road will close to through traffic because of a weak point near the Norman’s Kill. The town is unsure of how it will fix the road, how much the project will cost, or when it will be completed. Initial estimates for the cost ranged from $3 million to $9 million, which would require waiting for aid. The town is currently exploring other options.
Edie Abrams, who lives on Route 85A, asked the town board last night if the developer should be required to do another environmental impact statement because the conditions of the area have changed. Her question would be referred to the town attorney, Michael Mackey, Supervisor Thomas Dolin told her.