By Nathan Mayberg
WURTSBORO July 22, 2005 The Town of Mamakating Board will move to condemn the property which includes the Wurtsboro Airport in order to take over the 419 acres through eminent domain.
The move follows word that the Barone family sold the airport and the surrounding property to a New York City developer for $4.2 million, said Town of Mamakating Supervisor Charles Penna.
Penna said the town offered $4.5 million for the land. That money would have come from Federal Aviation Administration funds, a pilots association and a state grant. The family rejected that offer.
Penna said the airport and the land around it could be the towns own version of Central Park in the future. He said it could be used for recreation, swimming, entertainment and canal rides.
You have to look down the road. You have to look at tomorrow. Its for the generation after us, said the supervisor. Otherwise, it is lost forever.
A public hearing on the towns condemnation plans will be held August 23 at the town hall.
In other business, the board was approached at its Tuesday meeting by Tara Buckstad, Joseph Russo and Brian Salerno about the alleged gross negligence of Town Building Inspector David Brown. They said they have waited 15 months for a building permit from him.
They have already put thousands of dollars of work into the roof and foundation of a home on Yankee Lake Road and are now allegedly being told by him that it needs to be torn down. They said they have been unnecessarily yelled at by Brown, as well.
Buckstad said her husband, Russo, was told he would never receive a building permit. She added that Penna and Code Enforcement Officer Brian McGorman have been helpful, or else they would have instituted litigation already. On Tuesday, Penna said he would speak with Brown.
Meanwhile, the board announced its intention to pass a local law to increase fines for littering and dumping. No public hearing was announced yet, but Penna said he wants the fines to increase to $500 on the first infraction, $1,000 the second, $1,500 on the third, and up to 15 days in jail. The move was pushed by town resident Andrew Weil.
The board also raised its parkland fees from $750 to $1,000 for developers. The board recently made the fees mandatory for subdivisions or large developments. The money goes towards the towns parks and recreation department.
A semi-negotiating session preceded the vote. Councilman Nicholas Salomone Jr. called for a $2,000 fee. He said the town was in the drivers seat due to the increase of people moving into the town and a flood of building applications. He said other towns have fees between $1,500 to $2,000. He said the fee was necessary to keep taxes down.
Councilwoman Regina Saunders said the fee should only be $1,000, while Councilman John Moriarty wanted the fee to stay at $750. Councilwoman Judith Young compromised at $1,000.
In another matter, the board has not yet decided how to proceed with the controversial steep slope law. Penna said the board is taking the publics comments into consideration.
The board has not chosen on counsel to represent the planning board in the lawsuit by the Basha Kill Area Association over the proposed mushroom plant.
Town resident Tish Moore, who is fighting the mushroom plant, called for the town board to require the entire planning board and zoning board of appeals to attend seminars on the environmental review process and other board-related responsibilities.