MILTON – John Privitera, an attorney representing developers Thomas and Bruce Boghosian, demanded Wednesday that the Milton Town Board “remove and reprimand” Planning Board member James Staulters.
Privitera, speaking in the public comment portion of the Town Board meeting, alleged that Staulters had committed “a breach of the public trust” and “defamation” at a September Planning Board meeting, by making “false” statements about a Boghosian brothers’ development at Geyser Road and Greenfield Avenue.
Privitera said Staulters had trespassed on private property, and falsely claimed that dumpsters on the development site contained “hazardous waste.” The lawyer said the Planning Board member’s statements were “designed to impair an approved project,” and are “impairing the ability to market the property,” while “most towns are rolling out the red carpet” for developers.
Supervisor Dan Lewza declined to comment on this situation after the meeting. As people milled about the room, Thomas Boghosian was talking angrily about the matter to Councilman Bruce Couture, but declined to comment to this reporter. Couture said: “I agree. If he’s [Staulters] guilty of that, he’s got to go.”
Reached at home after the meeting, Staulters defended his conduct. He said “I observed a lot of automotive waste on the site” of an approved but not yet constructed 20-apartment complex, specifically “hundreds of rubber tires” that had been loaded into dumpsters. He said he thought the tires had in the past been dumped into an abandoned foundation on the property, where automotive work had been done. “My concern is maybe there’s something else there” that should be investigated, he said. He said he saw no “No trespassing” signs and said “nothing slanderous. … All I brought up is what I saw.”
At a June Town Board meeting attended by the Boghosians, Privitera brought up concerns about the same development, and denounced Heritage Springs Sewer Works.
In other business, Lewza paid tribute to Deputy Highway Superintendent Jeff Manning, who died on Oct. 29. The board appointed Spencer Hart to replace Manning, on the recommendation of Highway Superintendent David Forbes. Keith Mabb was appointed as a full-time mechanic.
Benjamin Potter, James Reagan, Suzanne Canell, Ryan Isachsen and Scott MacFarland were appointed to the Ethics Board. Meg Stevens was appointed as a Planning Board alternate member.
During the public comment period, Stevens, a Democrat, congratulated GOP Councilwoman Barbara Kerr on positive publicity she brought to the town while campaigning with Republican congressional candidate Elise Stefanik, who won an open seat in Tuesday’s election. That included a New York Times photo of Kerr and Stefanik in Ballston Spa.
The board held a public hearing on the preliminary budget, which differs little from the tentative 2015 budget released last month. The tax rate would stay the same as this year’s.
Most of the discussion was about plans to expand the children’s summer camp to a full-day program, although details including the exact higher fee to be charged have not yet been decided. There was widespread support for expanding the program, although Kerr expressed concerns about potential costs and details such as procedures to take shelter in the event of a thunderstorm.
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