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Berne holds chaotic public hearing on proposed ATV law

Feb 22, 2023 12:11 pm

Steve Hughes reports in the Times Union that the Town of Berne in Albany County held a public hearing on a proposed law that would allow ATVs and other off-road vehicles on some of the town’s roads. It was an occasionally testy two-hour public hearing that included former town Supervisor Kevin Crosier being escorted from the building by Albany County sheriff's deputies. Dozens of town residents expressed opposition to the proposal at the meeting. The hearing was delayed and moved to the Berne-Knox-Westerlo high school auditorium in anticipation of a large turnout, and more than 100 people attended. Berne wants to create a series of trails across private land, like the system snowmobilers use, for off-road vehicles, which would be allowed on a few town roads to link the trails. Town Supervisor Dennis Palow, a first-term Republican, began the meeting shouting at Kevin Crosier, a Democrat who was town supervisor for more than a dozen years before being voted out in 2017. Palow interrupted Crosier and then ordered deputies to remove Crosier from the hearing, drawing boos from the crowd. “I came here as a private citizen to speak and you saw what happened,” he said. “I just, it's absolutely amazing. What do you think this says about the way the town board runs?” Most speakers at the hearing were opposed to the new law. Some said ATV owners currently. trespass and damage lawns, fields, and crops in the town. Others objected to the lack of an environmental review for the proposal, and that the town did not have the list of proposed roads approved by the county. Attorney Jeffrey Baker promised a lawsuit on behalf of several town residents if the board approved the law. Josh Duell was one of about six people speaking in favor of the proposed law, saying, “We're a bunch of families, not criminals.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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