FORT ANN — Although the owner of the land next door has moved a fence back and made more room for access to the West Fort Ann Cemetery, the attorney for those who are suing him said this week the lawsuit will continue.
Attorney William Nikas, who is representing people who own plots or have relatives buried in the cemetery, said the lawsuit against Moose Hill Camping Resport and owner Edward Paradis is still active.
“He has not resolved the issues,” Nikas said. “We are going ahead with the case.”
Supervisor Richard Moore said the town has had the cemetery property re-surveyed since the new fence went up.
“The survey has been received showing the current location of the fence, after its latest movement, in relationship to what the Planning Board approved as the outer boundary of the cemetery,” Moore said, noting a copy of the survey was sent to Nikas.
“If you examine the survey, you can see the boundary that was required by the town and APA permits. You will also see the boundary representing where he moved the fence. I would estimate that his new fence line represents only half the area of where it should be,” Nikas said. “I have scheduled (Paradis’) deposition toward the third week of June.
“We are proceeding with the litigation to seek a court order to have him put the fence on the line he agreed to in order to get his permits,” Nikas said. “I am at a complete loss to understand why he feels he is not bound to honor the very boundary he agreed to as a condition of his doing business. Perhaps after the deposition, I’ll have an answer.”
Moore said he agrees with Nikas’ assessment.
Attorney Mark Rehm, who represents Paradis, said the campground owner feels the recent move of the fence should satisfy the public’s concerns.
“The current configuration takes into account the concerns that were raised to Mr. Paradis and provides for access to all portions of the cemetery,” he said.
The town has taken control of the cemetery as an “abandoned cemetery,” according to state law, because no one is selling plots or officially maintaining it any longer.
The town has had help from Washington County Alternative Sentencing in caring for the cemetery, which looks far better than it did in the past. The town highway department laid crushed stone on the access road, and with the fence moved, cars can now turn around without going on the grass.
Nikas, acting on a pro bono basis, has filed suit in state Supreme Court in Washington County against Moose Hillock on behalf of 35 people who either have relatives buried in Brown’s Cemetery or own plots there. He is also representing the Fort Ann American Legion, and Town Attorney Jeffrey Meyer is involved in the suit, representing the town.