Our Thoughts On The Donald Hanson Lawsuit | January 28, 2009
As expected, the recent Donald Hanson lawsuit against our Village and its Trustees, is gaining notoriety. Much of the complaint is a civil rights claim, citing ethnic imbalances within Tuxedo Park as compared with national averages and disputing the legitimacy of our Gated Community status. The suit also calls attention to
Mr. Hanson's dispute with his neighbor as well as his issues with the Village's permitting process for new construction. The document alleges damages of $25
million, and this figure alone has peaked some emotions in our Village. However, over the decades, it has not been uncommon for a resident, feeling aggrieved, to target the Gates, the Club, the Boards, the Good Old Boys, the Newbies and the Tax Assessment Process as consummate villains. Perhaps there has been past culpability here, but the Hanson case seems quite different.
First, this is probably the only matter before our current Board of Trustees about which all members seem to agree! In addition, the Village Engineer, Village Attorney and Village Building Inspector also appear to concur with the BOT. Second, the Hanson project, while extensive, is one of great merit, employing good design, fine materials and attention to detail. It will be a sizeable tax ratable for our Village too. So why is there a conflict?
Those who have watched this house expansion on Tower Hill Road for the last 5 years would probably agree that the work crew, although capable, is simply comprised of too few in relation to the extensive project scope. As a result, the site is often considered unkempt while deliveries and construction activity have tended to exceed the hours and days allowed by ordinance. Also, noise, runoff, mud and site disturbance have troubled some neighbors. Finally, Mr. Hanson's building-approval is said to have expired and he has, more recently, ignored an associated Stop-Work Order.
Last year, the BOT was beseeched by several residents, especially weekenders, to limit noise and deferrable site activity such as leaf blowing, mowing and certain building construction. Although Village Code has always included these types of controls, the Board embraced this stricter stance, and it is creditable that they are steadfastly adhering to those principles and Code-revisions, which were adopted.
Given the integrity of our Mayor and Trustees, and the genuine commitment of Mr. Hanson to his dream, it would seem a remote possibility that these two parties could not resolve their differences. Indeed, the Hanson suit has fulfilled its mission of gaining our attention, but it simultaneously has highlighted the stamina and resolve of our volunteer Board of Trustees to uphold State Statutes and Village Ordinances.
We can all be thankful for Mr. Hanson's massive investment in Tuxedo Park, and correspondingly, we can be quite proud of our Village Government for its efforts to protect the safety and tranquility of our unique community.
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