Press-Republican

July 9, 2014

Residents create petition for Frontier Town

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — NORTH HUDSON — Resident Sindy Brazee presented the Town of North Hudson with a petition Monday that would compel a public vote on the town’s pending purchase of Frontier Town.

Brazee said Tuesday that she and others collected 43 signatures — 18 more than required — for a voter referendum on the proposed $60,000 purchase of the defunct theme park by the town.

“The residents of North Hudson have gotten up a petition to put the Frontier Town land to a vote," she said. “A lot of people worked behind the scenes, gathering signatures.”

LEGAL GUIDANCE 

The state law on petitioning for a voter referendum requires 5 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election in that municipality to sign.

North Hudson Supervisor Ronald Moore said copies of the petition were sent to County Attorney Daniel Manning III and Town Attorney John Silvestri of Schroon Lake to get their guidance on how to proceed.

He told the Press-Republican on Tuesday that he hoped to have something to present to the North Hudson Town Council when it meets next.

“We’ll try to find our way through this puzzle.”

COUNTER OFFER

The sale of Frontier Town by Essex County to North Hudson is on hold anyway, as Keeseville resident George Moore has filed an Article 78 suit against the county and town to halt the proceeding and have the courts award ownership to him.

He bought the property for $49,500 in the county tax sale April 30. But the County Board of Supervisors later rejected his bid and voted to sell it to North Hudson for $60,000 instead.

Supervisor Moore said the town needed it for recreational trails to link to the new public lands in the Essex Chain of Lakes acquired from Finch, Pruyn & Co. (now Finch Paper) by the Nature Conservancy and sold to the state.

The Keeseville businessman then made a counteroffer, upping his bid to $65,000, but that was also rejected.

The county made a settlement offer two weeks ago to sell it to him but retain two-thirds of the largest of four parcels and get easements and rights-of-way for multi-use trails through it.

Yet another counteroffer by George Moore would grant the access but take title to the entire parcel; that is still under negotiation.

PETITIONER'S LAWSUIT

A hearing in State Supreme Court of Essex County on the litigation is scheduled for Aug. 8.

The county took possession of Frontier Town after former owner North Hudson Associates LLC and its predecessor, Panther Mountain Water Park Inc., failed since 2007 to pay taxes on it.

Brazee has a lawsuit of her own against the county, seeking to have another former Frontier Town property, at 4050 Blue Ridge Road, awarded to her under the right of adverse possession.

She said she has lived in a cabin there since 2003 under an agreement with the former owners to give her the property.

No date has been set for a hearing on that suit.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com