WADDINGTON – Adjoining landowners will no longer have first option to purchase the towns surplus lands.
The town council voted Monday to rescind its Aug. 13 resolution, which designated nine parcels totaling 169 acres located along the River Road to be sold to interested adjoining landowners.
Formerly owned by the New York Power Authority, the land was obtained through eminent domain during St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project.
Portions of the land were sold to the town from NYPA in 2002 and 2007.
According to Town Attorney Benjamin Johns, the resolution did not conform to the applicable sections of the town law. Any decision regarding the land, whether it be by bid or by auction, must be reached after a referendum or public forum, he said.
Councilors Shirley Robinson, Robert Dalton, and Travis McKnight voted in favor of Mondays resolution.
Councilor David Putney, an adjoining landowner, abstained from voting.
The decision came after a letter was submitted to the town council asking to rescind its offer to adjacent landowners.
The letter, signed by over 50 residents, called the Aug. 13 resolution illegal and claimed the land appraisals, totaling $103,200, was too low. Residents threatened to initiate a petition and submit a request to the state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, asking him to conduct an investigation if the law was not rescinded.
Council members did not mention the letter before or after they passed the resolution, but Town Supervisor Mark Scott said council members have agreed to return to the Strategic Economic Development Plan in order to come up with a new plan to develop the land.
Chosen through a public participation process, the plan states that the top land uses for the River Road properties should either include residential development, campgrounds, cabins, trails, or other forms of recreational development.
Moving forward, I recommend that the Town Board do what is the best interest of the majority of the residents of Waddington and begin implementing the recommendations of the strategic plan, said Mr. Scott. This is the best way to avert any further division amongst residents and help redevelop the town collectively and cooperatively.