Village of Le Roy will plow privately owned street that is subject of litigation
CORRECTION: We're not going to change the headline because it would break the link to the story, but Filmore Street is not a subject in the resident's lawsuit over the duplex's constructed in the area.
Village of Le Roy trustees held an emergency meeting Saturday morning and voted to plow a portion of Filmore Street that is privately owned.
The section of street
is the subject of a lawsuit filed by residents in Presidential Acres against the village after the village paved the street at a cost of $48,000.
The street is owned by local businessman Pete McQuillen.
There are residential units -- also the subject of a lawsuit -- along the street and trustees said they decided that while the legal wrangling winds through the process, those residents deserve to have their street plowed.
It's a public safety issue, they said.
"My only reason for making this motion is, all you lawyers, someday you will work this all out, but the people living there should not be caught in the middle," said Trustee Jim Bonacquisti. "Those people who live in that section should expect the street to get plowed, no matter who it is. This will all get taken care of, maybe years from now, but for somebody who lives there today, we need to take care of them. Whether you think it's an emergency, somebody who lives in the village expects their streets to be plowed."
Attorneys Amy Kendall and Alan Knauf, who are representing the Presidential Acres residents in the lawsuits, attended Saturday's meeting and argued against the the village plowing the street, as did David Boyce, one of the residents who is a party in the suit.
Knauf said he's been involved in cases like this before and NYS law, as well as the state Constitution clearly state that government money cannot be expended on maintaining private property, except in an emergency.
"I deal with this all the time," Knauf said. "In law, we have to make judgement calls, but there's no emergency today. What's the emergency? There is none."
It's the owner of the street, not the village taxpayers who should be paying for the street getting plowed in snow storms, Knauf said.
"If I had ice on my driveway and my wife comes down the steps of the back porch and might slip, I don't think that's an emergency situation where I could cal the fire department to come and clear my driveway," Knauf said. "That's my responsibility as a property owner."
Mayor Greg Rogers said the emergency meeting was called because the board failed Wednesday night to come out of executive session and take a public vote on the decision.
The action was taken, he said, based on the advice of the village attorney to ensure the safety of residents off Filmore is taken into consideration.
Under terms of the resolution instructing DPW to plow the street, workers must maintain an account of the cost of plowing that section of street.