LeRay Officials Postpone Plan To "Move" Land Outside Evans Mills

LeRay Officials Postpone Plan To "Move" Land Outside Evans Mills

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The town of LeRay is looking to end a controversy surrounding its highway barn ---and an access road leading to it--- by potentially changing the map.

The town owns the land its highway barn is on right in the middle of the village of Evans Mills.

Now town officials want to officially make it within town boundaries so it would no longer be subject to village laws.

But the village's attorney says that's not legal.

It's a dispute that's gone on for years. The town of LeRay wants to build an access road on land off Willow Street in the village leading to a new highway barn it wants to build.

Village officials and residents don't like that idea.

Now the town wants to legally remove the land -- along with other properties the town owns -- out of the village so it can build the road.

People got a chance to weigh in at a town board public hearing Thursday night. One of them was village attorney Kathleen Bennett.

"We came tonight to really present the village's objection  to the annexation," she said.

Bennett says annexation isn't the correct legal proceeding.

"As a matter of law, it is not permissible to annex property that is already located within the town," she said.

The village and town have already gone to court over the controversy. A judge ruled the town had to follow village regulations if it builds the access road. 

Residents say annexation is the town's way of trying to get around the court ruling and removing the land would decrease sales tax revenue

"The parcels they're trying to annex have an assessed value of just over $2 million," village code enforcement officer Walter Van Tassel said, "so when you take $2 million worth of assessment from the village, that's just taking money away from them."

"As the state Supreme Court judge stated, they have no need for another road," Willow Street resident Warren Taylor said. "They have a roadway now and it's just something that Mr. Taylor would like," referring to town Supervisor Ron Taylor.

The town board decided to table a decision on pursuing annexation. 

Ron Taylor says the town's attorney will look into the village's claims that annexation isn't the proper legal proceeding.

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