By RON LINEMAN
This article is in response to the letter "Trustee makes it tough in Forestville" (July 27) where the writer attempts to set the record straight about a remark that I made during a recent Forestville Board meeting.
After reviewing the CD that I made of the meeting I stand by the statement that the village had to spend almost $5,000 defending the illegal activity on the Bentzoni property. I'm talking about the culverts that were placed in Tupper Creek by the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers without a permit. Whether Robin Bentzoni wants to own up to it or not she was part of the original problem.
As the owner of 1 Mixer Road, she allowed the club to place a trail on her property which includes the creek. In her letter she claimed the entire bridge was in the town of Hanover. This is not true. The club did get off course, the original plan was to stay on the writer's property but things went wrong and part of the bridge ended up in Hanover. At the time the lawsuit was filed the writer and her husband owned both properties, 1 Mixer Road and 3 Mixer Road.
So again, my statement about the village spending money defending the illegal bridge is correct.
The writer claimed that in the end, the bridge was deemed acceptable to be there. This is simply not true. At the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing, the club agreed to remove the culverts and to restore full flow to Tupper Creek. It is true that the club did receive a permit for the bridge - after almost four years - but if the ZBA hearing would have run its full course, I don't think the board would have accepted the information on the permit application and I'm being polite about the application.
I'd like to make it clear that I don't have a personal vendetta against the writer. I think that was her way of trying to gain public support. I was not picking on her that night. I merely wanted to point out to the taxpayers how their money has been squandered in the past so I described three different situations and the writer's situation just happened to be one of them. My primary goal that night was to make the beginning of a case for dissolving the village.
Also in her article she said that I was the reason that the village spent $5,000 was to have the property surveyed. This statement does not show good sense at all. Her husband received a letter from the code enforcement officer in August 2006 - four months before the lawsuit. In this letter he was informed that the bridge was in violation. He was also asked to provide all documentation regarding the construction of the structure with maps and plans. If these maps would have been provided there would have been no need for the village to spend the $2,600 on the survey. I would be more then willing to supply a copy of that letter so the couple could refresh their memories.
The $5,000 figure that Robin quoted was another thing she had wrong, it was $2,600.
From day one I was concerned about the safety of my wife and the horses because of those culverts being in the creek. After talking with the state about the situation they informed me that the area was a flood plain. Now my concern escalates! Still, my wife and I were the only ones concerned about safety so she approached the village board on two different occasions and requested that they see to it that the villages "Flood Damage Prevention" law was enforced. Both times the mayor said the matter was in the hands of the lawyer. Personally, I think it was his way of not dealing with the problem. After all it was a time span of 14 months that the village did absolutely nothing about the dangerous situation so the lawsuit was filed.
People don't understand that Tupper Creek, tame most of the time, it can turn violent in a hurry. I witnessed on two different occasions this innocent creek turn into a small raging river. While no damage was done on those two occasions it would not have taken much more rain to change things.
Back in 1940 this same creek tore out a bridge on Pearl Street and almost took two lives, according to the Dunkirk Evening Observer from Tuesday, June 11, 1940. That's why I wasn't two surprised that, before the snowmobile club got around to removing the two culverts, we got flooded out. There was a lot of rainfall at that time and Tupper was high which brought down a high volume of sticks and small trees which plugged the culverts.
While I don't have any substantial proof, like an engineer's report that the culverts caused us to get flooded, only a fool or a selfish uncaring person would leave something in a creek that had the potential to plug up, after learning that it was a flood plain.
My last comment is about the accusation that I have spent time doing negative things toward the community. I wish the writer would have been more specific instead of blatantly accusing me of something. When the accuser is so vague it makes it difficult to defend yourself.
The only thing I'm guilty of is talking about taxpayer abuse, which I will continue to do. Even if the people who contribute to the problem don't like it.
Ron Lineman is a Forestville resident and village trustee.