Athens town officials put eminent domain plan on hold
Maura Rosner is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Athens Town Board decided August 1, to table a proposed eminent domain proceeding that would allow the town to seize a private home as part of a plan to move the Athens Town Hall out of the Community Center and construct a new building. The town had spent more than $20,000 on the proposal as of August 1. “So far, the town has spent $17,500 on an engineering firm and $2,900 on an attorney,” Athens Town Supervisor Michael Pirrone said. “In total, the town has spent $20,000 toward the eminent domain proceeding.” The town’s decision to table, but not close, the public hearing on the proposal, gives the board time to review the comments, statements, letters and other information submitted by the public. The town board may decide to more fully evaluate other options based on the public hearing, Pirrone said. The supervisor is calling on six architectural firms specializing in the adaptive reuse of historic structures to provide services. Three firms have given the board information about space planning and the cost to renovate the Athens Community Center. Residents of both the village and the town have voiced concerns about the eminent domain process. Specifically, how much has been spent on the plan to date, and what role has attorney Melissa Cherubino, of the Whiteman Osterman and Hanna firm in Albany played in influencing the board? “I’m concerned she’s advising the board on what to do or not do,” Sheila Brady said. “And may I ask, how much has been spent to hire an attorney? ...” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.