September 19, 2022 |
The Saratoga Town Council will hold a workshop this evening to update the public on ongoing litigation surrounding a 16-year-long property dispute that remains unresolved. A release Friday from the town clerk said council will also seek public input into the matter.
The dispute concerns ongoing negotiations between Randy Stevens, the town and the conservation district. All three entities have a stake in the dispute. Resolving the dispute has been complicated by the actions of each.
Mining on the Stevens property over the last 15 years has altered the landscape at 800 River Street. The town built a sheer steel wall to shore up the resulting cliff wall outside of court orders. And a structure owned by the conservation district south of the Stevens property was built outside its legal offset encroaching the town alley on its north side.
Various plans to remediate the hillside with contouring and drainage have been drawn over the last year. Cost estimates for at least one of the plans runs well more than $500,000 with no sureties from anyone on who will pay for the work. Possible land swaps have also been discussed in negotiations between the parties.
At the same time, the State Department of Environmental Quality has been looking into the mining work that was done on the Stevens property and may require remediation or even financial penalties. The DEQ’s findings may play a role in any resolution.
This summer, a Saratoga resident questioned the council about how much money it is willing to spend to resolve the matter, but Mayor Creed James was reluctant to discuss any details because of ongoing negotiations and litigation.
Tonight’s meeting should allow the details of different options under considered to be discussed in public for the first time. The workshop is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.
Pictured above: File photo of Saratoga Town Hall/Police Department. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.