Watertown mayor blasts councilmember’s call for special meeting on golf club

wwny Watertown mayor blasts councilmember’s call for special meeting on golf club

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s something that has been going on for years and years at Thompson Park - parking for the Watertown Golf Club spilling over onto city park land.

Now that issue has come up in a legal battle and it’s one that City Councilmember Cody Horbacz says needs to be solved right now.

“We need to show the public we are taking this seriously and that nobody gets special favors,” said Horbacz.

Developer Mike Lundy, the majority share holder of the golf club, has already told the city he is willing to build a new parking area with 80 to 100 spaces pending city approval. It’s part of an agreement he reached with Watertown City Manager Rick Finn with a deadline of July 30.

But Horbacz wants golfers to follow the rules, now maybe park on the street. Horbacz has called for a special meeting Tuesday.

“It’s an easy simple reasonable fix, that they stop parking on our property,” he said.

Horbacz wants to post signs or build a fence, but Watertown Mayor Joe Butler doesn’t think a special meeting is necessary. He says the issues of land encroachment are on track to be settled. Butler say Horbacz, who is running for mayor, is playing politics.

“It’s a power play trying to flex muscle to exhibit leadership a few weeks before a primary. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Butler.

Meanwhile, developer PJ Simao, who owns rival Ives Hill Country Club and who who filed a lawsuit against the city, says he doesn’t think council has taken enough action.

In a new document, a former share owner of the golf club claims that for years the parking area that’s being argued about was reserved for the exclusive use of the golf course and the city enforced it by policing it.

“I think we have got a really strong case on our side. I think the big question - does the judge feel this is something new and does it go hand and hand with what we are actually arguing, which is the illegality of the 2000 and the 2006 lease,” said Simao.

Council is expected to vote Tuesday about whether or not to take more steps to resolve the parking issues.

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