COLTON - Although the Colton Town Council voted this week to rescind a local law that had permitted ATV usage over a 2.95 mile stretch in the hamlet, the decision was not a unanimous one.
Councilman Ronald Robert voted against the measure, citing the potential economic impact of the opens road as one of his reasons for supporting a local law that was adopted by the town board earlier this year.
The majority of the town wants the roads to be opened up to connect the trail heads. It would generate all kinds of amounts of money for the economy, especially for the two villages, he said. We cant afford not to have this kind of thing. We have to have the whole pie. My interest is to have the whole pie. Im for anything that will help Colton and thats what this trail system will do.
Its because of whats coming out in the paper, and I think its been distorted, the facts of why it has to be rescinded, and for that reason I am saying no. I believe in taking the lawsuit on, knowing what I know today.
Despite the vote on Wednesday evening, town officials still said they were optimistic that a new local law will eventually be put in place. This would possibly come in February or March, after the county brings in State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) professionals to assess the environmental impact.
The town board opted to rescind the local law after an Article 78 challenge was filed by six local residents. The lack of a SEQR review prior to the adoption of the law and the inclusion of a portion of state Route 56 for ATV usage reportedly created legal issues for defending the local law in court.
The law had been adopted in August, and the legal challenge was filed in October.
Town Supervisor Dennis B. Bulger had said at Wednesdays town board meeting that Colton is seeking to adopt a model law that could be adopted by other municipalities.
What the town is in the process of doing, because the county has intervened as well, the county attorney is working with the town attorney. They have met and have gone through the whole packet, and its their joint recommendation that we go ahead and rescind the present law rather than seeing it through to the Article 78 and redo it, Mr. Bulger said.
At this time, the county also will be bringing on board some professional people in the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review Act) and the environmental impact area to take a look at that whole area one more time. At that point, when they have that completed or prior to it, the town will then go through the procedure again of coming up with a town law to open up those same roads.
A big part of what they found in their review is, its more of a procedural type of thing than anything else at this point. But they are looking at that, they are working on that. Theyll redo the environmental area.
Mr. Bulger added that there was always a chance that the law would not pass a legal challenge, especially with details regarding open road use on Route 56.
I think it was understood from day one that the town law would have to be rescinded if the state did not open up Route 56. We were told that the town needed to pass the law first, open up our roads before the state could open up theirs, he said.