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Why did family push boathouse case so far?

October 1, 2015
Lake Placid News

To the editor:

As one of the neighbors involved in the illegal boathouse case, I read with interest your recent article on the last chapter in this five-year saga.

Watching the demolition of the boathouses was tragic. What an enormous squandering of resources: From the lost hours of labor by the men who worked to build them, to the pile of debris now in the landfill, to the collective hundreds of dollars spent to litigate the case, there has been little gain. In a community where many are needy, it has been an embarrassment to be involved in a preposterous case over boathouses and the far-fetched idea that the local government has no say in shoreline development.

I shudder to think what Placid Lake would look like if attorney James Brooks' argument had gone untested, and how quickly the shoreline would be overbuilt. While my husband and I had never been involved in litigation before, we could not stand by and watch rampant development and illegal behavior prevail.

We would like to offer praise to the town, Supervisor Roby Politi and their steadfast resolve to fight the threat posed by this case. The victory was achieved through the hard work and talents of town Attorney Ron Briggs and Prof. Michael Hutter. We were also fortunate to have the superb legal assistance of our attorney John Privitera, with whom we fought the good fight. Our neighbors, Dr. and Mrs Richard Moccia, joined us in the long battle.

Thanks as well to the Shore Owners Association for filing an amicus brief in support of the town's legal action, an unprecedented act against one of its own members.

Justice was finally served when the appellate court in Albany unanimously overturned Judge Richard Meyer's decision in the case.

In the landmark ruling, the court wrote that "the record contains abundant support for the finding that the offending structures were built in a persistent and 'calculated' effort to circumvent and defy the Town's authority and efforts to enforce its zoning laws and procedures as such, the 'drastic' remedy of demolition is justifiable."

Only one question remains: Why would a family with long ties to the community engage in such illegal proceedings? To what gain?

Ellen McMillen

Lake Placid



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