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Frost Ridge

August 24, 2014 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, entertainment, Le Roy, Frost Ridge, Phil Vassar.

He said it last year. Frost Ridge is a special place. Phil Vassar, a singer-songwriter with more than 10 Top 10 hits to his credit, said it again this year.

"It's very homey," Vassar said in an interview before his show Saturday night. "Everybody is so nice. You're just hanging out. We talk, even during the year, we look forward to seeing you guys come back, we talk and text each other. So it's fun. You get to hang out with your friends and play music.  There's nothing better than that. It's not like going to some venue where you just go in. It's got real character and real people. I love it."

Vassar loves it so much, he asked to come back this year.

Just a month ago, it didn't seem like Vassar's show this year would even be possible. Frost Ridge was locked down as a live music venue by a court order stemming from lawsuits filed by the Town of Le Roy and a pair of neighboring property owners.

As the lawsuits wind through the hearing process, taking longer than expected, Judge Robert C. Noonan lifted his ban on live music for a show last week and Saturday's Vassar concert.

The suits allege live music isn't allowed at the campground -- and even question the legality of the campsites themselves, while owners Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell and their lawyer contend that all of the current activities are grandfathered in, or are "prior, nonconforming uses."

Vassar takes a pretty straightforward view for the lawsuits, calling the controversy, "very silly."

"You have a lot of people who really want something and just a small number of people who don't," Vassar said. "I don't know about government, but it seems like to me it's by the people, for the people, all right. It's pretty simple. It seems like if you've got a majority who want something and it's a great thing. I don't understand it.  

"It's not like it's an every night deal," Vassar added. "It's a real special place. It's a special place to play music. You just kind of hope that everybody just kind of lets it go and has some fun. You know, people are stiff. I hate it. I hate it. I'm over it. People just need to get a life."

Through three sets of music -- the Kentucky Moonshiners, the Morgan Twins and Vassar -- several hundred music fans did have a life. And it was a party, especially with Vassar on stage making sure everybody had a good time.

The Morgan Twins are from Rochester and have appeared on such shows as The Voice and American Idol.

While Vassar was still on stage performing, a check of the sound level at Oatka Trail and Conlon Road, near the homes of plaintiffs -- the Cleere and Collins families -- found that once again, the crickets were louder than the music.

The next scheduled show at The Ridge, if it's allowed to proceed, is the Marshall Tucker Band, Sept. 6.

A fan brought in a homemade cake during the meet and greet with VIP patrons before the show.

Bottom photo: by Peggy Barringer. David, in red, and Greg, joined Vasar, along with the Morgan Twins, on stage for the show's final number, a sing-along of "Piano Man."

August 21, 2014 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

Two witnesses in a hearing related to the Frost Ridge lawsuits testified today that a key document was filed with the Town of Le Roy months before an April 8 statute of limitations date that is part of the dispute over live music at the campground.

It's all more complicated than even that convoluted sentence, however.

The hearing wasn't even completed today. Judge Robert C. Noonan was scheduled to hear a case in Rochester at 2 p.m. and with at least one more witness scheduled to be called, continued the hearing to 10:15 a.m., Tuesday.

Before adjourning, Noonan continued the stay of his temporary restraining order barring live music at Frost Ridge, which means that the Phil Vassar concert scheduled for Saturday will go on as planned.

The concert is a fundraiser for the Golisano Children's Hospital.

Vassar has said Frost Ridge is one of his favorite places to play and asked to be included in this season's line-up.

The hearing was limited to two motions under consideration by Noonan: 

  • Whether the statute of limitations for challenging a ZBA determination that nonconforming uses at Frost Ridge, contrary to current zoning law, were "grandfathered in," and,
  • Whether there is what is known as a "jurisdictional defect" in the ZBA's determination.

The key document relevant to the statute of limitations motions is the Zoning Board of Appeals minutes from its Sept. 25, 2013 meeting.

At dispute is whether the minutes were filed with the town before April 8. 

If the minutes were filed before April 8, that would mean one of both lawsuits were filed after the statutory period for challenging a zoning board's determinations.

But, did the ZBA under the circumstances of Sept. 25 have the authority to make that determination, which is something the attorney for the Cleere/Collins side of the suit is challenging.

Noonan's eventual ruling on these motions could either allow one or both lawsuits against Frost Ridge to go forward, and perhaps to trial, or determine whether one or both will be dismissed. 

Frost Ridge and the campground's owners Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell are being sued by the Town of Le Roy and Frost Ridge neighbors, the families of Cleere and Collins (who are related to the original Frost Ridge owners). Cleere/Collins is also suing the ZBA.

First to testify was Town Clerk Patricia Canfield.

There is much about when the minutes were first publicly available that Canfield can't remember.

She testified that as standard and permissible procedure, the ZBA minutes are kept in a file in the office of Jeff Steinbrenner, zoning and code enforcement officer for the Town of Le Roy.

She couldn't recall with certainty when she first had reason to retrieve the Sept. 25 minutes from the file, but said they were requested more than once through various Freedom of Information Requests, including requests by Marny Cleere.

Canfield said Cleere filed more than five FOIL requests, but not more than 10, and she couldn't remember if the one requesting ZBA minutes came in 2013 or 2014.

She couldn't remember if any of the other FOIL requests for the minutes came in 2013.

Under questioning from Noonan, Canfield said most FOIL requests are written, though she accepts verbal requests. Written requests are kept on file, she said, but there was no indication that any written FOIL requests were in court today.

As for the ZBA hearing itself, Canfield testified that if there was a public notice published of a meeting to discuss Frost Ridge's non-conforming use, she would have known about it, and she said she was unaware of any such publication.

David Roach, the Frost Ridge attorney, also called Steinbrenner as an "adverse witness."

Steinbrenner was also questioned by attorney Karl Essler, representing the ZBA.

Under questioning from Essler, Steinbrenner said that once the minutes from a meeting were approved at a subsequent meeting, he would place those minutes in his file.

He agreed that the Sept. 25 minutes were approved by the ZBA board at its Oct. 22 meeting and that he probably filed the minutes that night or the next morning.

As for the meaning of the minutes, Steinbrenner danced around the issue, often skirting direct questions.

He said he didn't recall live music being discussed as a prior nonconforming use at the Sept. 25 meeting.

Roach and Steinbrenner wrangled over the course of several questions whether an e-mail Steinbrenner sent to Frost Ridge in August 2013 was meant to put them on notice that a long list of alleged zoning violations included live music.

Mindy Zoghlin, attorney for Cleere Collins, when cross-examining Steinbrenner, read off a list of alleged zoning violations related to roadways and the placement and setbacks of campsites. 

While never explicitly stated, the clear implication of the line of questioning is an attempt by the plaintiff's side to establish that the ZBA ruling, if valid, was limited to land use issues and the ZBA didn't at all consider, nor was it asked to consider, whether live music is grandfathered in.

"When we first started with Frost Ridge about this, we saw two aspects to it," Steinbrenner said. "There was a need for special use permit for the campsites and one for concerts. At the time, we decided to go after the campground sites at Frost Ridge and the go after the concerts once they were up to compliance and in code."

Steinbrenner's August e-mail twice uses the word "etc." when referring to the alleged zoning violations.

When Roach would ask in various ways whether "etc." includes live music, Steinbrenner repeatedly deflected the question by staying he was merely forwarding what Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau had said was discussed at a prior town board meeting (which Steinbrenner didn't attend).

Under questioning from Roach, Steinbrenner admitted that he had verbally told David and Greg that live music shows were a possible zoning violation.

The third and final person to testify today was Debra Jackett, chairwoman of the ZBA.

Jackett testified that the board approved its minutes from the Sept. 25 meeting at its Oct. 22 meeting and that Steinbrenner received a copy of the minutes at that time, and she considered them filed with the town at that time.

Zoghlin asked several questions related to public notification of hearings and filing of notices and Jackett answered each time that it wasn't the board's job to deal with notices and outside communications.

"Our only job is to show up at meetings and make decisions," she said.

Over the repeated objections of Roach (each overruled by Noonan), Zoghlin kept asking about what happened at a ZBA meeting in 1998. 

Jackett was a member of the board in 1998, when the ZBA issued a determination that Frost Ridge was grandfathered in as a campground, even though it was an agriculture/residential area.

The meeting was 16 years ago, Jackett said, and she couldn't remember specifics about the meeting, but Zoghlin persisted.

"If you're going to ask me what I said 16 years ago, I'm going to tell you, I don't recall," Jackett said at one point.

Roach objected to the line of questioning because it's his contention that what happened at the meeting in 1998 isn't material to the plaintiff's motion that the ZBA decision of 2013 suffers from a "jurisdictional defect."

Another ZBA board member is expected to testify Tuesday. Noonan's ruling on the motions will come some time later.

August 10, 2014 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Jam at the Ridge, Frost Ridge.

To say Blackberry Smoke rocked the house Saturday night at Frost Ridge might be misconstrued.

There are no reports of windows rattling in the homes of Frost Ridge neighbors.

In fact, a deputy assigned to monitor the decibel levels at Conlon Road and Oatka Trail Road said the noise level never went much above 60 decibels, well below the threshold of 100 set by Judge Robert C. Noonan when he issued an order a few days ago allowing the concert to take place.

The fact is, at the corner of Conlon and Oatka Trail, through most of Blackberry Smoke's set, the crickets were louder than the music.

Blackberry Smoke is billed as an up-and-coming, soon-to-be-big-stars Southern rock/outlaw country band, and if fame is measured by only a few hundred die-hard, rambunctious fans, Blackberry Smoke has already hit the big time.

They did rock the house and the fans raised the roof.

The band is Charlie Starr (lead vocals, guitar), Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards).

A five-piece combo can make a lot of noise, and inside the Frost Ridge amphitheater at stage level, the band seemed no less loud than their show in the same venue a year ago.

A sound engineer familiar with the venue predicted before the show that the hill between Frost Ridge and the homes of Cleere and Collins (the two plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against Frost Ridge) would absorb all of the treble and mid-range of the music, while bass tones would bend some and carry over the hill.

The crickets, he said, would be louder.

That certainly seemed to be the case.

In their lawsuit against Frost Ridge, the Cleeres have claimed that they can't sit outside their home on concert nights, the noise is so loud, and that when they try to go inside and close the windows, the walls shake because of the noise.

The Town of Le Roy is pursuing a parallel suit against Frost Ridge.

Both suits allege that live music at Frost Ridge violates local zoning laws, even though the campgrounds owners, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell, received a previous ruling from the Zoning Board of Appeals that the use is an allowable, prior nonconforming use (grandfathered in).

While the Town of Le Roy is not suing the ZBA, the town board does not agree with that ruling, or does not find it valid. The Cleeres and Collins suit names the ZBA as a co-defendant. 

Delays in the process have prevented a hearing on whether the ZBA decision was filed with the town clerk prior to April 6. That hearing will be held Aug. 21. If it's determined that ZBA decision was filed prior to April 6, it could invalidate the the lawsuits against Frost Ridge on statute of limitations grounds.

Because of the delay of the hearing and the financial toll to Frost Ridge with five previous shows cancelled by court order, Noonan lifted the restraining order for the Blackberry Smoke concert, but barred alcohol sales.

The next scheduled show is at The Ridge NY is Phil Vassar and the Morgan Twins, Aug. 23.

The slide show below also includes photos of Chris Weaver Band, one of Saturday's opening acts.

AUDIO: A recording taken during the concert last night at the corner of Conlon and Oatka Trail (mp3).

A seat front-and-center for the Blackberry Smoke set was auctioned off and $375 was raised for the Le Roy Fire Department. 

The decibel reader employed by a deputy to monitor noise levels at Conlon and Oatka Trail roads.

August 5, 2014 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

The owners of Frost Ridge Campground have been told Judge Robert C. Noonan has lifted his court order barring live, amplified music at the campground, at least for this weekend.

The band Blackberry Smoke headlines Sunday Saturday.

At a hearing last week, David Roach, attorney for Frost Ridge, told Noonan that if the order wasn't lifted in time for this weekend's show, Frost Ridge was facing insolvency. 

David Luetticke-Archbell, co-owner of Frost Ridge, called The Batavian a short time ago to share the news. We're still awaiting a copy of the order.

Frost Ridge will still be barred by the original court order from selling alcohol, but that doesn't mean patrons can't bring their own beverages.

The temporary suspension of the temporary order baring amplified music at Frost Ridge comes as court proceedings in a pair of civil suits against the campground have bogged down.

Two neighboring residents, the Cleere and Collins families, along with the Town of Le Roy, are suing David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell alleging that the campground as a whole and live music and alcohol sales in particular, are not permitted under current zoning.

David and Greg contend that those uses are grandfathered in by the property's prior zoning and they have two Zoning Board of Appeals rulings that support such a claim.

The Cleere and Collins' suits challenge the ZBA's 2013 determination, and here's where the case has bogged down: If it's proven that the ZBA's 2013 determination was filed with the town clerk more than 30 days before Cleere and Collins filed their suit, it could mean their complaint could be thrown out of court. Attorneys and the court have been unable so far to hold a hearing on that point

Since the hearing can't be scheduled now until the end of the month, Roach sought for his clients, permission from the court for the concert this weekend.

August 1, 2014 - 6:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, Frost Ridge, ridge ny.

Press release:

The Ridge NY (formally Frost Ridge Campground) is hosting its first Community Fun Day on Saturday, Aug. 2, from noon to 10 p.m.

It's FREE!

There will be activities for all ages with the following events scheduled:

  • Noon until 3 p.m. -- NAZCAR -- Decorate a racing car made from cardboard and see who wins the big race
  • 3 to 5:30 p.m. -- Slippery Slope -- Big fun on the 300-foot-long slippery slide. All ages love this event. Bring your swimsuit and a towel.
  • 6 p.m. -- Dinner. Bring a dish to pass. Hamburgers and hot dogs available, too.
  • 7 p.m. -- Open Air Dancing. Dance until the stars come out!
  • 9:30 p.m. -- Nighttime Glow Stick Wagon Rides

Come out and have some fun with your neighbors and friends!

August 1, 2014 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

Frost Ridge Campground is on the brink of insolvency, the attorney for Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell told Judge Robert C. Noonan during a court hearing today.

He's seeking at least temporary relief from the ban on live shows at the campground in Le Roy.

Today's hearing was held so attorney Mindy Zoghlin, representing the people suing Frost Ridge over live music shows at the campground, could make a motion to re-argue one of the issues under consideration by Noonan.

Attorney David Roach, representing Frost Ridge, would have liked today's appearance to have been a hearing on his motion to dismiss the lawsuits against his clients.

Roach was hoping there would be testimony today on when the Zoning Board of Appeals filed minutes from its September 2013 meeting where it determined Frost Ridge was in compliance with Town of Le Roy zoning law.

Roach tried to make the case during the hearing that Noonan needs to revisit sooner rather than later his temporary order barring live music and alcohol service at Frost Ridge.

Noonan wanted the attorneys to focus on coming up with a time for a hearing on the ZBA filing.

After attorneys met privately and then met with Noonan in his chambers, it was determined that the hearing will be at 9 a.m., Aug. 21.

In the meantime, Noonan agreed to let Roach draft an order that would temporarily lift the temporary restraining order and allow Frost Ridge to hold a live music concert Aug. 9.

That's the date Blackberry Smoke, one of the more popular acts to perform at Frost Ridge each year, is scheduled to return.

In open court, Zoghlin tried to suggest to Noonan that allowing any shows prior to resolution of the ZBA filing status isn't necessary because Noonan has already ordered that if Frost Ridge prevails in the lawsuit, they are entitled to nearly a quarter of a million dollars in restitution.

Of course, even a quarter of a million dollars somewhere down the road won't necessarily help a shuttered business reopen, which is why Roach is pushing for some mechanism to allow the bands to play on.

"The reality they are not facing is where the preliminary injunction effectuates the relief the town is seeking and (in previous cases) courts are loathe to allow preliminary injunctions to provide ultimate relief," Roach said during the hearing.

The big hold up in the case is getting either the ZBA's clerk or the town's code enforcement officer, or both, to testify as to a general time frame of when minutes from the ZBA's meeting in September 2013 were filed.

The town clerk has provided an affidavit attesting to the fact that the minutes were filed, she just couldn't remember when.

If the filing date is proven to be any time before April 8 (even if the exact date is not established), then Roach's motion to dismiss the lawsuits filed by the Town of Le Roy and the Cleere and Collins families could potentially be granted by Noonan.

Under New York law, people who wish to challenge a board's decision have 30 days to file such a challenge. The clock starts ticking when a written, public document memorializing the decision is filed with the jurisdiction's clerk.

Noonan ordered more than two weeks ago that a hearing on the ZBA minutes should be held immediately.

The hearing still hasn't taken place, in part because Noonan's court has been busy, which Noonan admitted, but Noonan also laid much of the blame on the shoulders of the attorneys for not agreeing on a time.

Roach expressed a great deal of confidence that either the town clerk, the ZBA clerk or the code enforcement officer for the Town of Le Roy, should be able to testify that the minutes were filed well before April 8, and probably in 2013.

The threat of losing that motion is apparently what prompted Zoghlin's motion today to invalidate the ZBA's determination favoring Frost Ridge all together.

Zoghlin's motion is for a "jurisdictional defect." In essence, she's arguing that because there is no formal document memorializing the ZBA's decision, and no formal process that Frost Ridge followed requesting a ZBA ruling, the ZBA had no authority to make its determination.

Roach said there's no written law and no case law that support's Zoghlin's position, also for a motion to re-argue a point from a previous hearing to be successful, the point must have been argued in the first place. Roach said that since Zoghlin (and she disagrees with Roach on this) didn't raise the "jurisdictional defect" argument the first time around, she doesn't get to re-argue it now.

"If the court did not have that jurisdictional defect argument advanced before it in response to my motion to dismiss, there's nothing for the court to have overlooked or misapprehended," Roach said. "The court of appeals has ruled that you cannot bring a new argument to a motion to re-argue."

If Noonan grants the order being drafted by Roach to allow live music at Frost Ridge between now and the hearing on the motion to dismiss the lawsuits, Roach said there will be reasonable restrictions attached. For example, there would be a limit on the decibel levels of the show.

"Frost Ridge, and I want to make this perfectly clear, Frost Ridge did not and does not presently have any intent of causing an unreasonable noise disturbance to its neighbors," Roach said.

July 11, 2014 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, land use, Frost Ridge.

Judge Rorbert C. Noonan wants more information before he decides whether to dismiss one or both of the lawsuits against Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy.

In a written decision this afternoon, Noonan held off making a decision on the motion to dismiss the suits as well as on the motion to lift the temporary injunction against amplified music at Frost Ridge.

He's ordered a hearing as soon as possible on the assertion by attorney David Roach that the statute of limitations has expired for challenging the Zoning Board of Appeal's determination in the Fall of 2013.

"While Frost Ridge and the ZBA submitted that such minutes were filed with the Town Clerk 'within a matter of days' after the October 22, 2013 meeting," Noonan wrote, "the Town Clerk submits that she 'cannot pinpoint the date (the clerk of the ZBA) delivered the minutes of the Sept. 25, 2013 meeting to her," and that they are customarily filed only 'sporadically.' Therefore, on the existing record, Frost Ridge and the ZBA have failed to carry their burden of proof on the issue."

The ZBA clerk is currently involved with medical issues, Roach told Noonan during today's hearing, and is therefore unavailable to provide an affidavit on when she filed the minutes.

She is expected to be available in a week, he said.

Frost Ridge is fighting twin lawsuits: One filed by the Cleere and Collins families, who own adjoining property, and one filed by the Town of Le Roy asserting Frost Ridge not only is barred by the zoning ordinance from hosting amplified music concerts, but has grown beyond what was grandfathered in when the current zoning ordinance was adopted.

Under NYS law, any party challenging the ZBA's determination would have 30 days from the time the decision is filed to legally seek to overturn the decision. If it can be proved by the defendants that minutes were filed with the Town Clerk in the Fall of 2013, that would be much more than 30 days and could therefore provide grounds for the lawsuit by Cleere/Collins to be dismissed.

What happens with the Town of Le Roy's lawsuit against Frost Ridge is a little more complicated.

"Nor will the Town's action be dismissed for failure to join the ZBA as a defendant," Noonan wrote. "Although the ZBA may wish to intervene in this case, it is not a necessary party to the Town's action to enforce its zoning laws; and, it is questionable whether the Town is collaterally estopped by the ZBA's determination."

Noonan's ruling seems to back the assertion by the defense that the ZBA made a valid determination that land use at Frost Ridge in 2013 was a legal, preexisting, nonconforming use.

"Thus," he writes, "contrary to the Town's contention, the minutes of the meeting permitting the noncomforming use are sufficient for a proper determination."

No date for a follow-up hearing has been released yet.

July 11, 2014 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

The owners of Frost Ridge are expecting to find out this afternoon whether their 2014 concert series will be held at the campground this year, or whether they must continue to hunt for alternative venues.

This morning, attorney David Roach asked Judge Robert C. Noonan to vacate his preliminary injunction of May 24 that barred amplified music and alcohol service while a pair of lawsuits are pending against Frost Ridge.

Roach based his motion on the fact that the Le Roy's Zoning Board of Appeals wasn't represented at May's hearing and now that the ZBA is represented in the case, new information has been presented to Noonan that shows the ZBA determined that Frost Ridge was being operated in 2013 within the bounds of its status of a nonconforming, preexisting use.

At the May hearing, Town of Le Roy attorney Reid Whiting said the ZBA declined to be represented in the suit (ZBA members didn't even know about the suit at the time) and he presented what's known as a "verified answer" by Supervisor Steve Barbeau that stated the ZBA determination was invalid.

Today, Roach filed an amended verified answer (the answer is in response to the lawsuit by the Cleere and Collins families) from the ZBA itself that states that live music and food service are grandfathered in at the campground.

On the basis of that change, Roach argued that Noonan's injunction was granted without the proper factual information and should therefore be vacated.

"It is no longer clear -- as the court preliminary held -- that my clients have committed a zoning violation," Roach said. "With the ZBA's amended verified answer, the weight of the evidence has shifted such that it is now clear my clients are in compliance with the zoning code as a prior, nonconforming use."

Mindy Zoghlin, attorney for the Cleeres and Collins, argued that the ZBA's minutes don't help Frost Ridge.

"The ZBA minutes say they were asked to review the need for a special-use permit," Zoghlin said. "Dave outlined the history of the campground, and just the campground, as established prior to the zoning law being passed. After his presentation, the ZBA board discussed the issue of the campground, and just the campground and whether it is grandfathered in. It's not clear from the minutes what they're talking about."

Zoghlin said her clients have no issue with the existence of the campground or music at the campground. They are against it being used as a live music venue.

"We're not challenging the decision that the campground is a preexisting use," Zoghlin said. "That's a mischaracterization of the argument and a misunderstanding of what the court ruled the first time around. What we're saying is they can't legally expand the campground unless they go to the ZBA and apply for and receive a special-use permit for expansion."

Whiting made only a brief statement to Noonan and said the defendant's reliance on the ZBA determinations are puzzling to him because he thinks the ZBA rulings produce very unfavorable results for Frost Ridge.

"In 1998, the ZBA ruled clearly there can be no expansion of any structure and can be no change in use whatsoever. On both measures, the campground has aggressively and significantly sought to expand both uses and structures on the campground."

Roach countered later that the ZBA's positions clear that in 2013 they knew what was going on at Frost Ridge and that based on testimony and personal knowledge of board members, the use in 2013 (which included concerts and food service) was grandfathered in.

Noonan could decide, Roach suggested, to kick the issue back to the ZBA to hold a hearing and define exactly what it meant by campground and what it considers to be a prior, nonconforming use.

Both lawsuits -- the one filed by Cleere and Collins and the one filed by the town -- against Frost Ridge should be dismissed, Roach said, because the statute of limitation (in this case, 30 days) long ago expired for challenging the ZBA decision.

Zoghlin told Noonan that the defendants have failed to provide proof of when the determination was filed with the Town Clerk, and without that proof, there is no evidence that the statute of limitations has expired.  

She also said the record is incomplete because for the 2013 determination, there was no application filed by Frost Ridge for a decision.

"There's no forms filled out," she said. "There's nothing in writing."

Roach said Frost Ridge owners Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell relied on the ZBA's 2013 determination to go ahead and book concerts for the summer of 2014. They could potentially be out of tens of thousands of dollars if the preliminary injunction isn't lifted.

Noonan said he will issue a written decision at 3 p.m. today.

July 7, 2014 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

Don't let the crime scene tape mislead you. Officials are not calling their search for the cause of Saturday morning's fire at 8005 North Road, Le Roy, a criminal investigation.

But arson hasn't been ruled out, either.

Nothing's been ruled out.  

Today, investigators from the Sheriff's Office, Emergency Services and the State of New York, were going over every inch of rubble looking for signs and clues. Le Roy FD's ladder truck was brought in at one point so investigators could obtain aerial photos of the site. The property's owners, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell came to their house to explain to investigators what was where.

Jim Bouton, an emergency management coordinator and fire investigator with the county, said officials may be ready to discuss theories and findings soon.

Previously:

Greg, David and their children lost all of their personal belongings in the fire. A site for community donations has been set up. Click here to access the site.

This thermostat is on a shed about 100 feet from the west side of the house. Radiant heat turned it into a curly fry.

July 6, 2014 - 12:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

While David Luetticke-Archbell chatted with one of the many well-wishers who stopped in his shop at Frost Ridge Campground on Saturday afternoon, he looked out the window and up the hill that traditionally has been a ski slope, but was on this sunny summer day a slip-and-slide.

Children and adults hollered as another slider managed to make it down the hill in a well-worn groove in the middle of the slide and flew over the hump at the end of the run. 

David smiled.

"I always say, 'this is a fun place,' " David said. "This is what it's all about. I look out and I see people having fun and it takes kind of some of the sting out of it. We lost some stuff, but this is why we're here, so we can have fun. We'll continue on. At least I plan to."

David and his partner Greg moved to Le Roy from San Diego in 2008 to purchase Frost Ridge and run it as a place where people could have fun.

They've built a successful business by offering personal service, great events and even live music.

It's all been jeopardized by the lawsuits of two neighboring couples and the Town of Le Roy. The suits aim to put the Luetticke-Archbells out of business.

In the stress of it all, Greg has had two heart attacks.

Then last night, they lost their home to fire. It was a home to David and Greg and their three children and dog Sadie. It contained, David said, everything that was important to them.

News of the disaster has spread among Frost Ridge supporters quickly. They've rallied to offer David and Greg both moral and monetary support.

"People have come from everywhere, even people I barely even know, have come to say we support you, we're praying for you," David said. "I've been handed two envelopes with cash in them. I have no idea who it came from, and they don't want me to know, and I'm sure there's more I don't know about."

Stacy Ward, a Frost Ridge employee, was standing nearby and said, "yes, there's more."

David, at that point, didn't know that campers had passed the hat that morning and collected $1,300 and already went shopping to buy clothing for David, Greg and their children.

He also didn't know at that point about a donation Web site that has been set up for them. So far, it's raised more than $1,600 in cash donations.

Even with the donations of money, clothing and toys David knew about this morning, he was still having a hard time taking it all in -- especially on only an hour's sleep.

"It's surreal," he said. "I'm not used to these kind of things. I don't know what to say. It's a very humbling experience."

Ernie Campoli, a seasonal camper at Frost Ridge, organized the fundraiser Saturday morning and said everybody felt it was the right thing to do.

"They're going through a tough time," Campoli said. "The town is messing with them. They just lost everything in their house, so we wanted to do something nice for them. They do nice things for everybody in the campground. We just want to show our appreciation and help out where we could."

When we spoke this afternoon, Greg was still at Strong hospital, but "screaming to get out," David said. David expected to check him out of the hospital in the afternoon. He seems to be doing well after being taken in for observation the night before because he was shaking so much after coming home to the fire just after 12:30 a.m.

Sadie is still missing.

Jim Bouton, with Genesee County Emergency Services, was at the house this morning, digging through the rubble, looking for any clues that might reveal how the fire started.

No cause has been found yet and the investigation could take days or longer.

Deborah Buchanan holds a 1960s era photo of the house. Her husband, Mark, joined the investigators in the rubble for a time pointing out the floor plan. His grandfather bought the farm the house was on in the 1940s and Mark lived in the house from 1949 to 1976, when he got married. He and his wife live in a house just a couple hundred yards to the west. The farm was originally owned by Fritz Conlon. It was a dairy farm until the 1960s and then a crop farm. Mark proudly pointed to the chimney and noted that it was still standing. His grandfather, a master mason, built it, he said. "It's not going to burn the house down. It was built right," he said.

July 5, 2014 - 5:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

As he stood just 100 yards from his home destroyed by an early morning fire, David Luetticke-Archbell wanted a picture made -- one that would bring in all of the scene filled with dozens and dozens of volunteer firefighters.

"I want our daughters to see this so they know that so many people came to help us," Luetticke-Archbell.

No lens offers a wide enough angle to bring it all in, but Luetticke-Archbell said he was "blown away" that so many would take their time to help others in need.

The fire may have destroyed every personal belonging of David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell, who moved to Le Roy in 2008 to purchase Frost Ridge Campground on Conlon Road.

"When we move out here, we scaled down to only what we could fit in our RV and we came and there were very few personal effects, just the things that actually had meaning because they came from a parent or a grandparent or something," David said. "There's nothing left. I keep telling the kids that it's going to be OK because we still have each other, but there's nothing else left. It's going to have to be enough."

David and Greg are parents to an 11-year-old boy and two 7-year-old girls. 

They also had a family dog, Sadie, who is missing.

David and Greg had been at the campground all day for Fourth of July and spent the evening enjoying a campfire with friends.

As they returned home at about 12:30 a.m., David said he could see the glow of a fire. He thought somebody's barn might be on fire. As they got closer he saw the fire trucks and it still didn't sink in.

"I thought, 'I hope nobody got hurt,' " David said.

Then it struck him.

"There is our home with fire on it and it’s everything that we ever had," David said. "And it’s not there anymore and I don’t know what to say."

As they pulled up, Greg rushed to the front door. He wanted to find Sadie. A Le Roy police officer stopped him from going into the burning building.

"An officer said 'no you can't, it's too dangerous,'" David said. "He was right because about that time the front of the house – it exploded. I mean you would have thought there was a bomb in there or something. I mean you ... look at this. There’s nothing left. There’s like a frame."

While the house burned, Greg began to shake uncontrollably. He was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital for observation. Greg recently suffered a pair of heart attacks.

It's been a stressful few months for the campground owners. They are being sued by neighbors David and Marny Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins as well as the Town of Le Roy. The suits allege violations of the town's zoning laws over both the very existence of the campground (which as founded by Marny and Betsy's family in the 1960s) and live music concerts held at Frost Ridge. Judge Robert C. Noonan granted a temporary injunction to the town barring amplified music at Frost Ridge pending a final decision on the lawsuits.

Le Roy Fire Chief Tom Wood was the first on scene and he said the back porch of the residence at 8005 North Road was completed engulfed in flames.

Firefighters entered the structure to pitch an offensive battle against the flames, but when a ceiling collapsed on them, they had to retreat.

An explosion inside the residence knocked down a firefighter who was outside the building. He wasn't injured in the blast.

From that point, the fire fight was defensive and crews did manage to knock the fire down before it did heavy damage to the front of the house.

"Our biggest problem here was water," Wood said. "We've got three different counties worth of tankers here shuttling water."

In all, 12 fire departments responded to the scene.

Wood said it may be possible or the David and Greg to recover some belongings from the front of the structure, but in all likelihood, it will need to be torn down.

The house was built in 1806 and David said the beams of the house are cut tree trucks that still have bark on them in places.

Frost Ridge has a history of supporting the Le Roy Fire Department.

"It definitely hits home with us," Wood said. "These guys have been great to us. They run a Fun Day for us. With everything else that's going on there, they certainly didn't need this."

UPDATE 11:26 a.m.: The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The investigation is being conducted by Deputy Frank Bordonaro, the Le Roy Fire Department and Genesee County Emergency Management. 

Assisting at the scene were Alexander, Brockport, City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Byron, Caledonia, Churchville, Cuylerville, Darien, Elba, Mount Morris, Mumford, Oakfield, Perry, Scottsville, Stafford, South Byron, Pavilion and York. Mercy EMS also responded to the scene. Inmates from Wyoming Correctional Facility were also bussed in to help.

(Initial Post)

David Luetticke-Archbell receives a hug from a neighbor.

June 27, 2014 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

Once again, about two dozen supporters of Frost Ridge turned out Thursday evening at the Town of Le Roy board meeting to protest the town's ongoing litigation against the six-decade-old campground on Conlon Road.

Supervisor Steve Barbeau made it clear at the start of the meeting that he wasn't going to allow the kind of free-for-all debate that took place during the meeting two weeks ago.

He asked each speaker to speak one at a time and only cover topics not already raised and addressed.

About six people spoke -- a veteran who said the ban on concerts was an insult to those who fought and died for freedom; a resident who suggested the town was passing up an opportunity to put a $2 surcharge on concert tickets sold and generate a little revenue; one person who wanted to know how much the lawsuit that most in the town don't support is costing taxpayers; and a resident in the Gulf Road area who complained about toxins from a proposed facility at the old town dump being allowed while music in the community isn't allowed.

After those who wanted to speak spoke, Barbeau answered a couple of the questions and offered this summary of the town's position:

"For the town board it is not, has not, and will not be an issue of revenue, such as adding taxes, or making money off of whatever Frost Ridge chose to do or not. It isn't an issue of anything to do with any noise. It is isn't an issue of anything to do with really anything other than is this a permitted use, and by this, I mean a concert venue, whether it's for veterans or it's for anything."

At this point, Barbeau was interrupted by a couple of people, and then he went on:

"For the town the only issue is, is this a permissible use, accessory use or special use within the Town of Le Roy in an R and A zone. The Town of Le Roy's position is not only is it not a permitted use, accessory or special use in an R and A zone, it is not permitted in any zone in any district in the Town of Le Roy."

June 17, 2014 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, music, entertainment, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

Press release:

Due to logistical issues in moving this concert to the Genesee County Fairgrounds, this event has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11th, 2014. If you already have tickets, they are still valid.  

If you have already purchased camping, please come camp with us this weekend for FREE and come back during the weekend of Oct. 11th, 2014 to get the full Jam At The Ridge Experience. More details about the activities for this weekend will be posted on our Web site TheRidgeNY.com as well as our Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us keep the music alive at The Ridge NY.

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