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County seeks restitution for removing debris, barn along right-of-way in Town of Pavilion

By Mike Pettinella


Genesee County will be seeking at least $7,800 from a Batavia man in connection with a code enforcement dispute involving property that he was leasing in the Town of Pavilion.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens today informed The Batavian that he made several attempts – unsuccessfully -- to contact Justin Hofert and have him remove items and debris from the county right-of-way on property off Transit and East Bethany Le Roy roads.

“After no response from Mr. Hofert, the county removed the items at our costs and we will be seeking restitution from Mr. Hofert for these costs,” Hens said. “We’re still assembling final costs from dumpster expenses; we have $7,800 in labor and equipment thus far.”

The dispute, which had been going on for more than three months, centers upon a lease agreement between Hofert and an elderly East Bethany woman who owned the property just outside the Town of Stafford border.

Hens said problems arose when it was discovered that a county-owned abandoned right-of-way (formerly County Road 2) was part of the property being leased.

“County Road 2 was relocated many years ago, but the county has maintained the drainage from the older section as well as the new drainage along County Road 2,” he said.

The woman entered into a lease agreement with Hofert, who owns neighboring land, Hens said, inadvertently including the county-owned parcel in the deal. Previously, the county also had informed the woman that her barn on the property was encroaching on the abandoned right-of-way.

Hens said that Hofert proceeded to place many items and debris on the property and in the barn, prompting complaints to Town of Pavilion officials, who, in turn, notified the county of the code violations.

“Most of the junk is on county-owned property so technically speaking, the county would be the one in violation of the property maintenance code,” Hens said.

Working with the county attorney, Hens eventually was able to get the woman’s approval to remove the junk from the property.

“As much of Mr. Hofert’s debris was in and around the barn -- which was also built partly on the right-of-way without authorization -- the county obtained an affidavit from (the woman) to demolish and remove the barn as well, and that has been done,” Hens said. “Aside from seeking restitution from Mr. Hofert, the matter is settled.”

Aerial photo above shows the right-of-way property in dispute (shaded in red) and the barn that was on that parcel along East Bethany Le Roy Road in the Town of Pavilion.

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