ELIZABETHTOWN — A 132-acre woodlot that was once part of the Frontier Town theme-park property will soon belong to the Town of North Hudson.
The County Board of Supervisors had previously tabled the requested transfer of title to woodlands on the east side of Route 9 to North Hudson.
But Supervisor Ronald Moore (R-North Hudson) moved Monday to reopen the resolution and hold a vote.
A request from the Town of Essex for another tax-sale lot didn't fare as well and was turned down by lawmakers.
The Essex County Soil and Water Conservation Service did a report on the North Hudson parcel that some supervisors requested, Moore said.
He said North Hudson wants it for its trail system, for activities such as hiking, snowmobiling and horseback riding.
He said the wooded lot has nothing to do with the other Frontier Town properties that are in the county tax auction, scheduled for April 30.
Those properties contain buildings and are the nucleus of the defunct theme park. Frontier Town closed after the 1998 season.
Moore said his town would pay the taxes, which are about $17,000 with penalties and interest, $11,000 without.
“Part of our economic future in Essex County is in recreation and tourism,” outgoing Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey (D-Minerva) said. “Mr. Moore has really stepped up to the plate on this one.”
Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) said he realizes the board has long ago set a precedent of turning certain tax-sale properties over to towns that ask for them.
“We’ve looked at these (transfers) for public health and safety, municipal benefit or redevelopment,” Politi said. “Consider a new precedent: a reverser-clause type of agreement.
“A modification of this resolution (would) say in the event the county should authorize transfer of any property to a township in lieu of taxes or a tax sale, it should be further agreed that should said township subsequently resell the property that Essex County shall be compensated for one-third of the sale proceeds.”
He said the county should consider it a business deal.
The Politi amendment passed unanimously, as did Moore’s request for the parcel.
Essex County Treasurer Michael Diskin told the Board of Supervisors that Frontier Town is considered defunct, but they should still be cautious since they’ve agreed to let owners buy back their properties up to 14 days before the tax sale.
“There’s potential that an owner could come back and ask for that property back. You should be aware of that.”
County Attorney Daniel Manning III said the transfer to North Hudson wouldn’t officially occur until the 14-day deadline before the tax auction had passed, so they would be covered.
LOT FOR WATER PROJECT
Although North Hudson got its woodlands, the Town of Essex wasn’t as fortunate with a request for a lot to be used for a water-treatment plant.
Outgoing Supervisor Sharon Boisen (I-Essex) asked for a small parcel, just under an acre in size in the hamlet of Essex, for the upcoming water project in her town.
“The Town of Essex has exhausted all options. We are under order of the (State) Department of Health to find a new water source.”
She said it’s located just one parcel away from what will be the town's water tower site and would revert back to the county if not used for the water plant. It was previously owned by Mark Estes.
Boisen said that back taxes on the parcel are $41,000 with interest and penalties, and the Town of Essex had offered to pay the taxes.
Because Boisen is leaving office today, Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said he wanted to wait for the new supervisor.
“I don’t think it’s something we need to do in the 11th hour,” Scozzafava said.
A move by Scozzafava to table the request was defeated, but the transfer failed by weighted vote, 1,034 yes to 1,887 no.
Opposed were Scozzafava and Supervisors Charles Harrington (R-Crown Point), David Blades (R-Lewis), Roby Politi (R-North Elba), Michael Marnell (R-Schroon), Daniel Connell (D-Westport).
Supervisors Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro), Randy Preston (I-Wilmington) and George Canon (R-Newcomb) were absent.
Scozzafava said they should hear what Essex Supervisor-elect Edward Gardner says about the request when he takes office.
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