Saratoga County Supreme Court Judge Robert Chauvin has issued a 60-day stay in the case involving the City of Saratoga Spring’s attempt to take title of property by eminent domain on Geyser Road.
The stay prevents the City from taking title to the properties owned by the Village of Ballston Spa, the Pompay Family and the Saratoga Spring Water Company (petitioners).
The petitioners filed a lawsuit in the Albany Appellate Division court in October, seeking a review of the City’s “compliance with environmental and eminent domain procedures” according to a press release sent by attorney Karl Sleight of Harris Beach. Sleight is representing all three petitioners .
“The city’s actions have been the subject of extensive criticism as a result of the use of eminent domain and alleged violations of environmental laws. The project has also been highly criticized due to concerns over safety and design shortcomings. In September, the engineering firm MRB Group found that the proposed trail was “unsafe” as designed. The city has never responded to the criticism,” continued the statement by Sleight
In July, the Saratoga Eagle and Slack Chemical companies held a press conference and offered to donate access to their 54 acres of property as part of an alternative trail that has been named the Duplainville Woods trail.
“The city has not engaged with the companies to review the alternative,” said Sleight.
The city was seeking to take the property of the petitioners before their case could be heard by the Albany-based Appellate Division. Justice Chauvin issued a 60- day stay to allow the petitioners time to file their brief and allow that case to move forward on the Appellate Division’s court docket.
The court has also asked the petitioners to provide a progress report on the Appellate Division litigation before the 60-day stay expires on January 19, 2018 .
“We greatly appreciate Justice Chauvin’s thoughtful consideration of these very important issues and the Court’s appreciation for the gravity of the case that is currently before the Appellate Division in Albany.” Sleight continued, “We look forward to moving forward with the litigation quickly, and remain hopeful that in the interim serious consideration will be given to the Duplainville Woods alternative.
Spending taxpayer dollars on constructing the safer, Duplainville Woods alternative would seem wiser than litigating this and possibly ending up with no trail at all,” concluded Sleight.
Village of Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano did not wish to make a separate statement at this time on the ruling.
A voicemail left for Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen has not yet been returned.