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Found maps seen as possible money saver in airport land purchases

Officials: Engineering documents show easements
2014-03-18T19:00:00Z Found maps seen as possible money saver in airport land purchases Glens Falls Post-Star

They aren’t the “million dollar map” of Warren County airport easements that has been the subject of years of searches, but two Queensbury at-large supervisors have located two engineering maps of the airport that they believe show the easements that are in question.

The engineers’ maps show aviation easements to the northeast of the airport’s shorter, backup runway, in an area where the county has agreed to spend more than $1 million for new easements and property to remove obstructions such as trees.

Those purchases have become controversial because the county bought easements in this area when the airport was built in 1943, but the map that details them has been lost for decades.

Queensbury at-large supervisors Mark Westcott and Doug Beaty told attendees at a meeting Monday night that they had located two maps that were produced by engineers, including one by C & S Engineering, the firm the county has had do nearly $2 million worth of work at the airport over the past 10 years, that shows the easement lines.

When finding the maps, Westcott said he and those working with him contacted C & S Engineering to find out what its documentation was for the easement lines.

The C & S engineer indicated that his company’s map was based on a 1991 map produced by now-defunct local engineering firm Rist-Frost Associates.

“If they say that (on the map), they had to have documentation,” Beaty said. “We have a clear pattern and trail that shows easement rights.”

That would seem to be enough to take the issue to court to try and enforce the original easement, Westcott and Beaty said. The county attorney was authorized to take the issue to court in 2005, but no litigation was filed.

The supervisors said they planned to share the maps with the county attorney and administrator this week.

Westcott said the county’s first and likely most inexpensive option should be to try to enforce the initial easement. If that does not work, then new easements — instead of more expensive outright land purchases — should be pursued, and if landowners won’t agree to easements, they can be pursued through eminent domain, Beaty said.

Another option is shortening the runway to do away with the need to remove obstructions.

The “million dollar map” has been dubbed such because the county Board of Supervisors has approved $1.036 million worth of property purchases and easements to replace the easement that was purchased in 1943 but can’t be detailed because of the lost map.

The county would be responsible for 5 percent of the tab, with the remaining funds coming from the Federal Aviation Administration and New York state.

Forty-five or so people attended the meeting at Crandall Public Library, the first of a series of “town hall” meetings that Westcott and Beaty said they plan in the coming months. Among them was Republican congressional candidate Elise Stefanik, who is running for the 21st District House of Representatives seat.

Most of the attendees seemed in favor of the two supervisors’ proposal to go to court to try to enforce the 1943 easement before shelling out money to buy new easements and property.

Kevin Geraghty, the chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said the information Westcott and Beaty discussed Monday night will be reviewed, but it was unclear to him whether it was new.

But he said County Attorney Martin Auffredou has discussed possible litigation with experts on the issue, who have indicated the county probably wouldn’t prevail in court without the original property map filed with the easement.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. scottycc31
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    scottycc31 - March 19, 2014 7:54 pm
    To anyone who is interested, I did some research today and found out that there is a special unit within the FBI that handles gov't corruption on local/state and federal levels.

    It's called, Public Corruption Task Force based in Omaha. Of course you can also contact Albany's FBI Headquarters.

    The Omaha Task Force # (402) 493-8688. Their e mail is: Omaha@ic.fbi.gov

    The only possibility here, is if enough people call and/or e mail. I would assume if they got enough responses, that maybe at least they would "request" various information/documents/proceedings on this entire airport mess before they would open up a case/investigation.

    Again, I really think it will depend on how many responses/tips they receive.
  2. something is wrong
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    something is wrong - March 19, 2014 7:12 pm
    Enough already, let the board plunder the taxpayers money, lengthen the runway to wherever and just maybe they will get what they want, a space shuttle landing.
  3. summit99
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    summit99 - March 19, 2014 2:22 pm
    Westcott and Beaty are the only 2 supervisors that do any thing besides sit on their butts and vote to spend money. Its a lot easier for them to collect their paycheck by raising their hand and voting to waste money than it is to do homework. Most of these people need to be challenged in an election and be voted out. If any of them ran their personal money like they waste County money, they would be at Social Services collecting because they would be broke and homeless.

    Who with money has a hold on these people? Who stands to benefit from this total lack of fiscal responsibility?
  4. scottycc31
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    scottycc31 - March 19, 2014 11:24 am
    Kudos to Westcott and Beaty for rolling up their sleeves and digging their heels in to continue the effort in finding these lost easements. I highly doubt the other supervisors did as much searching.....they probably did just the bare minimum (if that) before they decided ditch the search effort and wanted to purchase land instead. After all, it's "only" tax-payer's $$$.

    This Attorney has to go too. He is way too passive (or lazy) to me in several of his past and current responses. I really believe Rich-Air has little Black Book for his secret payroll. He's a business man and if he operated his business the way the county has/is doing.....he'd be bankrupt in record time. I think he's laughing his _ _ _ (you know what) off on how stupid, thoughtless and reckless $$$ is being spent on this concrete playground.

    It may be too late to halt this expansion, but it's not too late for an investigation to this entire mess.....and get some real answers to how this expansion past.
  5. summit99
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    summit99 - March 19, 2014 12:52 am
    Auffredou only knows a few words, like I don't want to do anything except get paid 6 figures to give useless legal opinions? Lots of legal "experts" have said things wouldn't prevail in court. Anyone remember OJ? We pay him to look out for Warren Ct, not sit on his butt at meetings and give other people's opinions. Get to court and earn your salary.

    and what is it with Geraghty? He clearly doesn't like it when anyone goes against what he wants. If this is not new information, why was it not disclosed before?

    If the Post Star wants an other Pulitzer they should start digging really deep into why some people are so intent on spending so much money on this airport that no one except a few rich aircraft owners and the Board of supervisiors wants. I strongly doubt that anyone else in this County wants, needs or for that matter cares about spending a dime on this private playground.

  6. theMaven
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    theMaven - March 18, 2014 9:16 pm
    "But he said County Attorney Martin Auffredou has discussed possible litigation with experts on the issue, who have indicated the county probably wouldn’t prevail in court without the original property map filed with the easement."

    So he just gives up?

    What does "probably" mean, is that a new legal term I am not familiar with?

    Did they cast bones and conjure up spirits to come up with this doubletalkdivination?

    What would it cost us to try to litigate?

    Is there ANY downside to litigation?

    What is the God awful rush to spend this million, someone have a vision of impending aerodoom?

    Why not litigate first, make nice second?

    What is the Country Attorney getting paid for, to wimp out every time there is a tough case?

    If so, he has earned a hefty raise.

    If the 2 supervisors could get this far, what if Warren County had competent investigators, like in the State Police or attorney generals office investigating?

    Perhaps all the real criminals are not in jail, what a shame!
  7. sasquatch
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    sasquatch - March 18, 2014 9:06 pm
    It's encouraging that this recent discovery has happened. I didn't think there was such a possiblity. The maps were a pervasive issue. The missing maps. Like the missing link. Ask Darwin, He'll tell you. And as for the airport, well, the airport is a nice thing, but it ain't Albany Intenational. But it's here. For little planes. Even Albany International doesn't serve wide-body planes (like ones that have two aisles). Except if they don't have a load of passengers aboard. Like maybe Air Force One. Or maybe an Airbus 330 with a load of horses owned by an Arab shiek, going to Saratoga Springs. Guess what. Yes, it can LAND at Albany. Welcome.
  8. robzzyzx
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    robzzyzx - March 18, 2014 8:56 pm
    Go for it, Warren County government is completely inept, how does an entity buy a right like an easement then lose the paperwork (um, Washington County couldn't find their paperwork for the recent sale of the Warren/Washington County landfill closing, but then it's government efficiency, so what were you expecting?)


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