Town of Hammond, land owner in dispute over three hundredths of acre

Hammond Town Hall
Hammond Town Hall(WWNY)
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 5:07 PM EST
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(Editor’s note: this story was updated on Friday, February 24, to correct the acreage involved. It is three-hundredths of an acre, not three-tenths, as we originally reported. It was our mistake, for which we apologize.)

TOWN OF HAMMOND, New York (WWNY) - A dispute in the town of Hammond centers on three-hundredths of an acre. The town says eminent domain is cheaper than litigation, but the property owner believes the town should buy the whole parcel.

In 2022, the Hammond Town Hall was built and town officials moved into their new offices.

Unbeknownst to town leaders at the time, the hall had been built over three-hundredths of an acre, a few feet, belonging to Rickie Bass who lives behind the town hall.

Bass was just as surprised.

“I was, yes. They built two feet on me and built another four-foot overhang,” he said.

According to town officials, the engineer in charge of the project did not do a new survey of the property before building and relied on an older survey.

To fix this issue, town officials offered to buy the sliver of land from Bass, but he wanted the town to buy his entire property instead.

The town board saw no use for the property as a whole.

“If we were to make use of the property, it would probably be a parking lot, a park space, something like that. We have no reason to build anything new. We just built a new building and it’s very sufficient,” said Hammond Town Supervisor Ron Bertram.

Not seeing this as a viable option, the town board ultimately decided that the best course of action was to declare eminent domain on the property the town hall had crossed.

Now, Bass and his son are trying to get neighbors on their side to convince the town not to use eminent domain and to either pay for the entire lot or fix their mistake.

“Better than half the foundation is over the property line. So we’re looking to get this resolved. However, the town of Hammond is using taxpayers’ money to try to resolve it and they want to spend more money on eminent domain rather than trying to settle this and fix their own mistakes,” said Ricky Bass, property owner’s son.

The town board will have a public hearing on March 8 to discuss eminent domain of the Bass property.