Saturday, March 17, 2012

DANC ~ Cape Vincent ~ Eminent Domain

Recently there has been a controversy over an audit of the water districts in Cape Vincent. There was some confusion regarding the (DANC) Development Authority of the North Country’s water usage allocation to the town of Cape Vincent, but reportedly that issue has been cleared up.
Link here to read story.

The Development Authority of the North country’s Western Jefferson Regional Water Line A 22-mile, $5 million pipeline project serving six town districts and four villages between Cape Vincent and the Village of Glen Park.
This line is installed in the former railroad corridor, and DANC has easements from all of the affected property owners. In the beginning, DANC had difficulties obtaining the necessary easements . Consequently, they were prepared to use eminent domain.

This Watertown Times article gives details of the story
August 2, 1996
Author: Roger G. Smith Times Staff Writer

While the agency handling the regional water line is trying to avoid using eminent domain, several Jefferson County legislators adamantly opposed to taking property are probing landowner disputes.
Several legislators want to be sure some Cape Vincent property owners that the Development Authority of the North Country is trying to appease are being treated right.
"They do feel it's being pushed on them," said Legislator Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, whose neighbor is among those involved. "I wouldn't want to shove this down anybody's throat."  

He and Legislator Jennie M. Adsit, R-Watertown, are among several who hate the idea of eminent domain - where government can take or use private property for public benefit - and might oppose a procedural vote Tuesday in response.

At least two more legislators are against granting the change, though there still doesn't appear to be enough opposition brewing to defeat it. The project to bring badly needed water to Chaumont, Dexter and Brownville could be stalled if the issue drags.

"I don't really want to stop the project," Mrs. Adsit said. "I want to satisfy myself. We are interested in what they (landowners) have to say."

But DANC feels the same way about eminent domain.

"We simply want to avoid that as a matter of policy," said Robert S. Juravich, DANC's executive director. "We're working very hard to accommodate all concerns."
DANC needs county Legislature approval so it can change the list of properties the Cape Vincent-to-Glen Park waterline will pass through. Changing the property list would allow an alternate route that it hopes will please a few people living on Cape Vincent's Branche Road.
"If we can keep these people happy by doing that, we should do that," said Legislature Chairman Paul J. Warneck, R-Hounsfield.

Even if the Legislature denied the procedural change, DANC could use the land if it wanted to because the former Board of Supervisors gave it that power last year. The vote was based on DANC's judicious use of it when building the regional landfill in Rodman.
Mrs. Adsit and Legislator Neil F. Parks, R-Rutland, plan to speak with residents before approving the procedure change. Mr. Aubertine already has and said the situation can be resolved without force.

He is helping to mediate the dispute so eminent domain is never broached, echoing what Mrs. Adsit said she also wants. Mr. Aubertine said he would object to DANC's request if residents aren't taken care of.

"It's crazy to go that far," he said, because the property owners have reasonable concerns about access and construction methods and should not have their land taken until they're satisfied.
While Mrs. Adsit voted to let the new list go to a vote on the Legislature floor, she might withdraw her support if the landowners can make their case to her. Mr. Parks doesn't see himself approving anything to do with eminent domain.

Legislator James D. St. Croix, D-Watertown, also is so opposed to eminent domain that he would vote against anything to do with it. That includes the risk of holding up the project, which broke ground in June. DANC should find any way besides taking land to satisfy property owners, he said.

 Purchased from the archives of the  Watertown Daily Times


Anonymous said...

Darrell Aubertine the hypocrite!

In the meantime he works in secret against the majority of the citizens while he is corrupted by wind leases, and lying about it.

Then, he sends a letter to the corrupted town board me members saying it is alright to have conflicts and vote, that the should not allow public referendum on the issue and that perhaps they should just change the guiding principles.

You can't tell me what I can do with my land, but I can do anything I want to destroy your property values and country lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Even after all we have been through in this town, I still find myself amazed that some among us were so willing and prepared to trash the town in a pervasive way - completely disregarding the great majority of their fellow citizens. It depresses me and still astonisheses me.

Anonymous said...

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy road...

Anonymous said...

K, the important message in this WDT piece is that the objections from the Branche Rd residents was all about construction and access. It wasn't about water use and a water district formation. Maybe there big issue was to ensure that people from New Jersey wouldn't be biking and hiking along the rail right-of-way.