Judge rules citizen petition invalid – Stony Point residents won’t vote on sale of 273+ acres at Patriot Hills/Letchworth
Supervisor Jim Monaghan announced on WRCR AM1700 this past Thursday morning, that NYS Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner ruled on Tuesday, August 25 that our citizen’s permissive referendum petition, which contained 543 signatures from Stony Point residents requesting a vote on the sale of the 273-acre Patriot Hills Golf Club and 25 additional acres of Letchworth land and buildings was invalid due to a technical error.
The lawsuit and objections raised by Stony Point residents Margaret & William Dwyer some 40+ days after our citizen permissive referendum petition was filed was admitted by the court due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No one is disputing the total number of signatures collected, only that the individual petition pages did not indicate the number of signatures at the bottom of each of the page, as required by NYS Election Law. It is disappointing in light of the relief that has been granted in so many areas of the law and of protocol to recognize the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, that a citizen’s permissive referendum, for which signatures were collected during the most challenging days of COVID 19 in New York State, is allowed no such relief.
The judge’s ruling last Tuesday means Stony Point residents will not be able to vote on or know the terms of sale of the contract or to have the benefit of an independent appraisal, to understand the value of the property before Supervisor Monaghan sells the of the 273 acre Patriot Hills Golf Course and 25 acres of adjoining Letchworth land for $3 million dollars.
“SPACE was never against the sale of Patriot Hills Golf Course and development of the remaining 25 acres of Letchworth property. However, we strongly believe that the town taxpayers are the owners of this property, having paid close to $30M over the past 20 years. The decision by Judge Berliner ignores the petition from 543 Stony Point residents who signed the petition, demanding a vote on the sale of town-owned land and are now considered to be invalid – not because anyone is disputing that the number of signatures collected were more than sufficient, but because the petition format did not indicate the number of signatures at the bottom of each page.”
“While we recognize that the judge ruled within the limits of election law, these are the kinds of technicalities often used by politicians to eliminate potential challengers from running for elected office and, in this case, from answering key questions and preventing the Stony Point residents from understanding the terms of sale of town property BEFORE it is sold!”
George Potanovic, Jr.