In January 2023 attorney Douglas H. Zamelis, on behalf of the owner of 73 Averill Road, initiated a lawsuit against the Village of Cooperstown and Templeton Foundation relative to the Averill Road housing project. The Village of Cooperstown attorney and the Templeton Foundation attorney were served the documents on January 19, 2023.
The basis of the suit was that the Part I Environmental Assessment Form completed by the applicant indicated 1.37 acres would be disturbed on the 51.7 acre site. Based on that acreage the Board of Trustees at the November 28, 2022 meeting declared the project to be an Unlisted Action per SEQRA. After the project was further refined (water tower access road added, project road widened to allow vehicles to exit, etc.) the actual acreage which would be disturbed, exceeded 2.5 acres. Normally up to 10 acres could be disturbed for an Unlisted Action. But because the project is in the Village of Cooperstown, in an historic district, no more than 2.5 acres can be disturbed without requiring the project to be classified as a Type I action for purposes of SEQRA.
After the lawsuit papers were served, the three attorneys conferred and agreed that the project was incorrectly classified for SEQRA. They signed an agreement (Stipulation) which was filed and approved by the NYS Supreme Court of Madison County to cease consideration of the project. The lawsuit was discontinued and all actions previously taken were deemed Null and Void. The Village no longer had grounds for oversight of the private property.
There is currently no application relative to the project before the Cooperstown Village Board of Trustees.
In mid February, Templeton Foundation filed a curb cut notification with the Village and paid the required $1000 fee to work within the Village right of way (Averill Road) to cut a road into their property. They also communicated with the Zoning Enforcement Officer relative to tree cutting on the heavily wooded, 51.7 acre site. Under Village law, not more than 30% of trees with a trunk diameter of six inches or more on any property may be cut …within a ten-year period; the law and percentage do not apply to diseased or unhealthy trees.