Cleanup saga deadline rolls on
GLEN SPEY, NY — Back in November of last year, the Lumberland Town Board scheduled a December 13 public hearing on a code enforcement order for an uncollected rubbish removal citation at the Bodnaruik/Henry property on West Indian Trail in Mohican Lake.
For those of you who are joining us late, Cheri Bodnaruik is the recipient of the citation. Bodnaruik is the widow of Greg Bodnaruik and the home is that of her late mother-in-law, former Lumberland town clerk Christina “Tina” Bodnaruik, who died in 2007. She said in December that she was involved in a two-year dispute over the property with the other respondent, Laura Bodnaruik Henry, who inherited but resides in North Carolina and formerly expressed no interest in the property. “I was hoping it was going to be resolved months ago. Once it’s resolved, it will be cleaned up, whether she does have interest in the property or I do,” she said. She said she had cleaned her mother-in-law’s possessions from the residence into a tent, which was then damaged by a winter storm.
Code enforcement officer Dave Sparling then said the building department and a neighbor offered to clean it up and were turned down by both women. The stuff was still there, he added.
Supervisor Jenny Mellan warned that if debris was not cleaned up, the town would clean it up or contract to clean it up, and the cost would become a lien against the property. The board rescheduled the hearing to January 10.
Unusually frigid weather came with the year’s end, followed by snow and wind. One “final deadline” extension after another has followed in the intervening months.
In March, Sparling reported that the rubbish complaint was still open, but Mellan said the rubbish had been dragged off the offending lot, across the road to another Bodnaruik lot and that the violation was based on the original lot. She would confer with counsel, she said.
That set the stage for April 11. Mellon addressed a board resolution to amend the original clean-up order.
“Why? It’s clean,” Bodnaruik said.
Mellan reported that the washer and drier were still there.
“No, not on…” Bodnaruik began, but Mellan cut her off. “Not now.”
Town attorney Danielle Jose-Decker suggested coordinating a new lot cleanup deadline with the town clean-up day (May 19).
“It’s not on…” Bodnaruik again tried to interject. She was not allowed to speak until the public comment period.
Mellan noted that town has a prospective bidder and called for the new cleanup deadline of May 20 and a bid opening at the June workshop meeting. The resolution was approved.
Reporting subsequently, Sparling reiterated that the washing machine and drier had been dragged across the road along with the remains of the tent, adding that there was still “garbage on the lakefront piece. I cited it.”
Bodnaruik spoke in the following comment period. “Am I not allowed a picnic table? And why were you trespassing on my property?” she asked Sparling.
Sparling said he had checked with counsel, who found the inspection incidental to a cleanup.
“Picnic tables…” Bodnaruik began—“Are rotten,” Sparling interjected.
“Excuse me, you are rude,” Bodnaruik replied. “I don’t appreciate trespassing. My lawyer is aware of the situation.”
“Who’s your lawyer? Maybe we can work it out,” Jose-Decker asked.
“I’ll speak with him,” Bodnaruik said following a lengthy pause. “Stay off my property.”
Mellan said the town was acting on the advice of counsel, and “We did specify where, the block and lot,” in the amended clean-up order approved earlier.
In other business the board appointed Darnell Pronka, Christine Smetaniuk and Susan Gray to oversee the summer youth program; agreed to advertise for a contractor to conduct the summer river cleanup program; agreed to a U.S. Department of Interior request to sample the former town landfill’s monitoring well; authorized application for a U.S. Justice Department program to provide new bullet-proof vests for the town constables; set the 2018 town cleanup day for May 19, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, at the highway barn; and approved a month-long highway department rental of a man-lift for brush cutting. A motion to set aside the probationary pay period for the new code enforcement clerk failed when it did not receive a second.