SENECA FALLS — Should the Town Board initiate eminent domain proceedings to gain access to the Ludovico Sculpture Trail for a new sewer line?
That question will be explored at a public hearing scheduled for March 22 at the Community Center.
Eminent domain is a legal process by which a governmental entity can obtain control over privately owned land, if it can prove the public good will be served and if fair compensation is paid.
The sculpture trail is privately owned and runs for 1.7 miles along the south side of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.
The town, in following the state’s eminent domain procedure law, will conduct the hearing to inform the public and review the public use, benefits and purpose of the town’s potential acquisition of the trail by eminent domain or negotiated purchase as part of the sanitary sewer improvement project.
The town wants to install a new, larger capacity sewer line from the Kingdom Road pump station east along the Cayuga- Seneca Canal into the former village of Seneca Falls at West Bayard Street.
The larger sewer line would accept wastewater from existing businesses and residents on Route 414 in Tyre and Seneca Falls, including Seneca Meadows Landfill and the new del Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre. It would also handle waste from any new developments on Routes 414 and 318, were the county is installing sanitary sewers in Junius and Tyre.
The alternate locations of the sewer line from Kingdom Road to the town wastewater treatment plant will be presented.
The options are to run the sewer along West Bayard Street, which would involve major disruption of streets, sidewalks and driveways, or to use directional underground boring to run the line under the Ludovico Sculpture Trail to the Ovid Street bridge and then to the treatment plant, which would require eminent domain or a purchase by the town.
The public is invited to present written or oral statements or other documents on the issue.
Property owners who may wish to challenge condemnation of the trail or any other real property they have interest in, by judicial review, may do so only on the basis of issues, facts and objections raised at the public hearing.
In other action at Tuesdays Town Board meeting:
• Robert McGill of Waterloo spoke, saying although there was a tax hike for 2018, town taxes are still much lower than taxes in Waterloo, Geneva, Clyde, Lyons and Newark. He said the former village did not upgrade its infrastructure and the town must now play catchup, causing taxes to rise.
• Police Chief Stu Peenstra said two town officers won awards for driving while intoxicated enforcement for Seneca County for 2017. The officers are Ryan Camacho and Brad Clouston. They will be honored at a dinner March 22 at The Gould Hotel. He also said the department had the most DWI arrests in the county last year.
• The board voted to contribute $2,100 to Finger Lakes TV in Canandaigua. The public access television station broadcasts videos of town board meetings.
• The board voted to approve a provisional appointment of Kim Rose as a full-time real property tax services aide. She will be paid $14.82 per hour starting April 2 and must take and score at least 70 on a Civil Service test to gain a permanent appointment.
• The board also accepted the resignation of Mary Kelleher from the town Planning Board and Richard Foote from the Historical Preservation Committee. Advertisements for replacements were authorized.