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January 10, 2012 - 5:19pm

Town of Le Roy named as defendent in lawsuit by new town supervisor

posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

The Town of Le Roy Planning Board has been named in a lawsuit that attempts to block construction of a senior housing development off Robbins Road.

One of the plaintiff's in the suit, Stephen Barbeau, is the newly elected town supervisor.

The owner of the planned development, Le Roy resident Pete McQuillen, thinks Le Roy residents should know that Barbeau is using town resources to fight a battle against a project that has already been approved.

"I don’t think it’s right that after the boards that have been elected or appointed have done their due diligence and made recommendations and passed resolutions that it should be fought again by the new town supervisor," McQuillen said.

The Batavian left phone messages for Barbeau on Wednesday of last week and again this afternoon. He has not returned our calls.

While it is the town's planning board that is being sued -- along with the Village of Le Roy and McQuillen -- as supervisor, Barbeau would normally be expected to have oversight over the expenditures related to a lawsuit and consult with the attorney.

In this case, McQuillen claimed, the town and village boards will need to hire outside council to represent them and the town's funds will come out of the budget Barbeau helps write and approve.

"The taxpayers shouldn't have to spend money defending a project that the town and village have already approved," McQuillen said.

The project is known as Robbins Nest Drive and is located east of Robbins Road and south of Filmore Street on the south side of the village. It will feature 26 single-family homes on 13.1 acres, walking trails and a community garden.

The single-story units will be sold to people 55 and older, with an expected asking price of from $130,000 to $160,000 each.

"There will be no maintenance outside the units," McQuillen said. "The concept is you can sell your 3,000 sq. ft. or 4,000 sq. ft. home after your children are gone and make a lateral move. It's for people who no longer want to mow lawns or shovel snow."

Among the approvals McQuillen sought was changing the zoning for the property from R-1 (single family residential) to PUD (planned unit development).

The change allows McQuillen to build smaller lots and establish a homeowners' association. Buyers will own their homes but not the lots.

The lawsuit alleges that the town and village boards didn't follow state law in granting approvals for the project.

From McQuillen's point of view, Barbeau and his co-plaintiff David S. Boyce just simply want to block all development on the property.

Barbeau and Boyce own residences on Filmore Street and the development is adjacent to their back yards.

He said that he think's that one of Barbeau's concerns is that McQuillen will use the PUD to bring in trailers or mobile homes, but McQuillen said that's not going to happen. First, because that's not what the village approved, and second, it's not what he wants.

"He doesn't want to see his property value go down and I don't blame him," said McQuillen. "But I live on Robbins Road. I'm never going to build those things."

Lorie Longhany
Lorie Longhany's picture
Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: May 2 2008 - 10:33pm

This community has needed this development for our senior's. Many LeRoyans have moved out of town to Bergen's Hidden Meadows or out of the area all together. Many others try to stay in homes they are no longer able to maintain. It also opens up homes to young families which will keep the community vibrant.. Sort of a way of recycling citizens.

Pete McQuillen is a business person with the utmost of integrity. All of his business ventures have benefited this community.

So if this project has passed county planning, town planning and the village board, representational government has spoken. It is just a shame that tax payer money will now be squandered in lawyer fees and even more of a shame that it's at the hands of the new town supervisor.

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: May 2 2008 - 9:36am


Lorie Longhany
Lorie Longhany's picture
Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: May 2 2008 - 10:33pm

I will also add to my comment above. Pete McQuillen's entrepreneurial ventures over the years have added much needed jobs to the LeRoy community and Robbin's Nest is sure to do the same.

Just take a drive out East Main Rd and peak at the corner of Circular Hill Rd where The Finishing Line and G's are located. Two locally owned businesses that have created many jobs. Great ice cream in the summer as well.. Where do you ever see a convenient store that isn't a chain?

When Pete starts a business, he does it right and it adds value to a community that desperately needs it.

Kyle Couchman
Kyle Couchman's picture
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 25 2009 - 8:54am

Personally I think the choice is simple Stephen needs to decide if he wants to be Town Supervisor or continue with the lawsuit. Doing both will do nothing for him except bring him so much scrutiny that he wont be able to effectively do his job. Or will allow Pete to get the lawsuit thrown out over conflict of interest.

I sense there will be much drama before this is done, and its not gonna be very good for Stephen.

John Roach
John Roach's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am

Did Barbeau tell the people he was going to sue them before the election? This does not sound like something that he just came up with.

bud prevost
bud prevost's picture
Last seen: 9 months 6 days ago
Joined: Jan 11 2009 - 9:12pm

I agree with Lorie, this is a valuable project, and it sounds like Pete did everything properly to get approved. I also can see the objections from the Fillmore Ave residents.
Pete and Judy are hard working, upstanding members of our community, and it is a shame that lawyers are the answer to a question that shouldn't have been asked.

Lorie Longhany
Lorie Longhany's picture
Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: May 2 2008 - 10:33pm

No, John he did not put any of that in his mailers and ads.

We were however hearing rumors, hearsay, second hand gossip that his major purpose for running was to stop Pete McQuillen.

Now I think LeRoy voters have a bit of buyers remorse at least from the people I'm hearing from. No one wants their elected Town Supervisor filing a lawsuit against the town he was voted in to protect and defend.

What I find particularly distasteful is he is supposed to represent the will of the people, not the will of a couple people on Wilson St.. Everyone I talk to wants this project to move forward. The village board voted in favor and so did the planning board. If he's so worried about $150,000 patio homes in his backyard, what must he think of the rest of the community of mostly modest middle class homes? Sounds like a gated community should be next on the planning board's agenda so Steve can live out of sight of the rest of us.

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: May 2 2008 - 9:36am

Take this with all of the grain of salt of someone who does not live in said town speaking about a town issue, but, it seems like ethically he has two choices, resign or take his name off of the lawsuit. I don't think that it's fundamentally moral to run a government entity, business or non-profit organization and be part of a lawsuit against it.

Kyle Couchman
Kyle Couchman's picture
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 25 2009 - 8:54am

Lol Daniel.....ive heard that somewhere before ;) It seems the logical choice to me as well. Howard clarified it too on another story stating that the lawsuit was filed on Dec 12 or 13th which is a month or so after he was elected. Pretty convenient and suspect timing as far as his intentions go. My question is what can the people of Leroy do if he decides to gut things out and not resign. Will they persue removal?

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