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Rocky Mountain Road suit gets the green light in North Collins

At a special meeting of the North Collins Town Board held July 2, Town Attorney Richard Schaus informed the board that the court had ruled in a preliminary hearing that the town, while never having abandoned the lower section of Rocky Mountain Road, did, in fact, abandon the middle section of the long-closed seasonal road.

The ruling clears the way for the plaintiffs in the case to continue legal action against both the town and the county for attempting to reopen the road in 2011.

The action stems from Highway Superintendent David Winter seeking to reestablish the road using tons of millings produced when Erie County reconstructed a portion of New Oregon Road. Trees and brush were also removed to allow the fill to be trucked in. Adjacent property owners who believed the road to have been legally abandoned by the town making it their unencumbered property, won an injunction stopping the work and have sued seeking restitution and remedial action on the site. The new ruling by Judge Nemoyer opens the path to the suit’s continuance.

The board also approved designating a parcel of town land near the Senior Center as the site for a stand-alone Eden-North Collins Food Pantry building. The declaration was necessary so the pantry could pursue grant funding for its erection. Once completed the building will be turned over to the town and leased for a nominal amount. Additionally the pantry will be responsible for utilities and maintenance on the building. The pantry serves five municipalities in the area and is currently housed at Holy Spirit Church not far away.

But the real reason for this special meeting was to approve six-months worth of Board minutes which have been tabled over that time. Supervisor Rose Seege has been at odds with Town Clerk Margaret Orrange over the clerks meeting minutes. Seege says the clerk adds items to the minutes including the abstract, and selectively records some comments while ignoring others. Seege has taken to bringing a recorder to meetings and came prepared with a thick stack of corrections for the meetings in question in hopes of gaining board approval of final versions. Orrange has stated that the minutes are the Clerk’s responsibility. She also has said she is not a stenographer and if the board wants a full transcript of meetings it should hire one.

Councilman George LoBianco offered up a motion that he hoped would end the dispute, namely that minutes now will only consist of Resolutions, visitors and the abstract. A proviso was added that additional information could be recorded if the topic were deemed important to matters at hand.

The board will meet again in regular session on July 17.

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