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Where the South Main sidewalk ends: Council to weigh in on dispute over removal

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Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 9:51 am

GENEVA — It may not seem like a big deal, but to two city homeowners it is, and on Wednesday a dispute over 250 feet of sidewalk that was removed from in front of a South Main Street home will be before City Council.

The sidewalk in front of the home of Willard and Sharon Best at 859 S. Main St. fell into disrepair, and the Bests asked the city to remove it rather than make repairs. The city agreed and the sidewalk was removed in 2011.

But Daniel and Monika McGowan of 9 One Mile Point objected, claiming the sidewalk was used by neighbors, those staying at Geneva on the Lake and other visitors.

He filed a notice of claim against the city, saying the removal was improper, benefited one homeowner and was not approved by the city’s Historic Districts Commission.

The Commission later recommended the sidewalk be replaced.

Later, Daniel McGowan offered to pay $1,000 toward replacement of the sidewalk and drop his notice of claim.

In a Sept. 4 email to City Manager Matt Horn, McGowan said he withdrew his claim against the city, which he said should allow Council to discuss the sidewalk issue openly and not in executive session as pending litigation.

He said his withdrawal should also allow Council to either accept or decline his $1,000 offer toward the replacement of the sidewalk before the end of October.

Horn put the matter on Wednesday’s agenda for discussion. In a briefing to Council, he said a formal vote on the matter is requested for direction.

“Staff evaluated the sidewalk and determined that due to its location at a dead end street, it offered little value to the transportation network. As such, the removal was authorized,’’ Horn wrote.

Horn noted the McGowan complaint and his assertion that he and others used the sidewalk regularly.

“The owners of the property abutting the right of way maintains their request not to redevelop the sidewalk,’’ Horn said.

He informed the Council of McGowan’s $1,000 offer toward the estimated replacement cost of $4,500 and said if Council directs staff to replace the sidewalk, construction would take place in 2013 and money would have to be reallocated in the 2013 budget to pay for the work.

In another old business item, Council will be asked to continue its discussion from the Sept. 5 meeting on the city’s funding of certain economic development projects.

The Sept. 5 discussion centered around the city’s $25,000 contribution to the Finger Lakes Wine and Music Festival in the city’s Lakefront Park in August. Concerns were raised about whether that was a proper use of city money.

In other agenda items, Council will:

• APPOINTMENTS: Consider a recommendation to appoint Teresa Angelo of Maxwell Avenue to a three-year term on the Geneva Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors, succeeding Peter D’Amico.

Council also will be asked to consider the appointment of seven people to the new Public Art Committee.

The seven recommended after an application process are Victor Pultinas, Kimberly Kelsey, Andrew Hintenach III, Beryel Cox, Kirin Makker, Sophie Elkin and Kathryn Vaughn.

• SELL PROPERTY: Be asked to approve the sale of city-owned property at 185 North St. to adjacent property owners Guy and Patricia Sindoni and Robert Sarratori for $200.

The city acquired the property through tax foreclosure in 2011. A “derelict’’ house on the site was demolished this year and the property advertised for sale. It will be split equally among the two neighbors, if Council approves by a supermajority vote of the nine-member Council.

• HALLOWEEN: Consider a motion to establish 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 as the official time for trick or treating in the city.

The city will urge city residents wishing to welcome trick-or-treaters to leave their porch lights on during these times.

• EXECUTIVE SESSION: Be asked to approve an executive session under the state’s Open Meetings Law section 105f, which allows closed-door discussion of the “medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation.’’

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