TUPPER LAKE - Village officials are looking for a compromise that would pave the part of Amell Lane that's already developed but require the developer, who is also the town supervisor, to be responsible for future extensions of the road.
Village trustees agreed with a plan proposed by village Mayor Paul Maroun at a Monday night board meeting to send the issue to the planning board.
Maroun wants the planning board to draw up an agreement that would include the village paying to fix the road up to village standards. But he also wants the planning board to require, in writing, that developer Roger Amell be responsible for building any extension of the road up to village standards.
Tupper Lake village Mayor Paul Maroun, left, and town Supervisor Roger Amell at a recent meeting
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
"That's what a planning board's for: to plan for the future," Maroun said.
Amell Lane residents complained last year to village officials that services like mail trucks, garbage trucks and school buses won't drive on the rutted road. It's a private road off Cedar Street in the Junction neighborhood and, because it's unpaved and doesn't have proper drainage, doesn't fit village street standards.
The cost for bringing the current road up to standards ranges from $10,550 to $27,378, according to estimates village Department of Public Works Superintendent Mike Sparks gave board members.
The $10,550 estimate was just to put 2 inches of blacktop on the top of the road. Sparks told the board he doesn't recommend that option because it would make the road too high for people to get out of their driveways.
Instead, he recommended that the road be dug out first, then overlaid with 6 inches of crusher run, 3 inches of binder and 1.5 inches of blacktop. That option is where he got the higher estimate from.
He also suggested that the village could put in the crusher run and binder now and then blacktop later, which would cost around $19,248.
Trustee Tom Snyder said he'd like to see Amell contribute to the cost of improving the current road.
"This is his problem, too," Snyder said.
Snyder argued, before Maroun proposed the compromise, that he doesn't think the village's taxpayers should be responsible for bringing the road up to village regulations because Amell was supposed to do it before giving the road to the village.
"Yes, there's five people paying taxes down there. I feel bad for them," Snyder said. "But when we take this and we add it to the general fund, then that is people uptown paying for it, people on Broad Street paying for it, people over there paying Roger's obligation. I mean, he was supposed to do this."
Snyder said he knows the village board has taken roads from other developers in the past without requiring them to bring their roads up to standard, but he called that wrong.
Trustee Rick Donah blamed the lack of progress on the issue in the past on political disagreements between the village and town boards.
"We need to compromise," Donah said. "We need to work together to fix some of the problems in the community. And just doing nothing and saying it's that guy's ... problem, is not the way, in my opinion, that we move forward."
He argued that there aren't any other options.
"The situation now is such that if we don't work something out ... it's going to stay in the same condition that it's in," Donah said.
Snyder said the people who live on Amell Lane have in their deeds a stipulation that requires Amell to do the work on the road himself. He said they should go after Amell for not following through on the deal.
"Those five people have options that they've chose not to take. That's not my fault, not the rest of the taxpayers' fault," Snyder said. "If you bought something and you were promised something, it's your responsibility to get it."
Donah said he's not familiar with that, but he does know that one young family that used to live on Amell Lane has since moved to Saratoga because they were frustrated with the situation.
Maroun argued that area is one of the only places left in the village that can still be developed.
Snyder and Trustees Leon LeBlanc and Chip Perham were on the board that rejected putting money toward the project in April 2011. Donah and Maroun joined the board at the end of 2011.
Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.