Senator Seward Reins In DOT
On Any West Lake Road Plans
ONEONTA – State Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, today said the state Department of Transportation will put a hold ona controversial Route 80 road repair project along the west side of Otsego Lake in order to review ownership and repair issues associated with the properties there.
“A number of constituents and several local officials have contacted me in regard to the unreasonable saga which is playing out for homeowners along State Route 80 in Otsego County,” said Seward. “After speaking with the DOT commissioner’s office, I can say they’ve agreed to put the project on hold indefinitely to conduct a thorough review of the process by which they are asserting ownership of some properties and their plans for repair work.”
Several property owners are embroiled in a dispute with DOT concerning property ownership along West Lake Road near Five Mile Point. Following Seward’s intervention, the DOT will notify property owners of their plans to carry out a full review of the proposed slope stabilization repair work and the property ownership issue.
“Before any further action is taken it is crucial that a thorough study take place to iron out questions of property ownership. Highway safety, the environmental health of Otsego Lake, and private property rights are all at stake. We need to get this right, and I have full confidence that a workable solution can be reached to meet all needs,” Seward concluded.
Since the Floods of 2006, West Lake Road has needed shoring up, and DOT has been placing rip-rap at key points there. Longer term, however, DOT is contending it owns all the land between the center of the road and the lake shore, property camp owners have been paying property taxes on, in some cases for decades.
Camp owners say DOT has been unable to produce deeds proving its ownership.