Other objections in the Article 78 papers include the town's changing legal counsel in the matter, the unfamiliarity of new board members with the application at hand, the alleged illegal operation of a sand and gravel operation by another ZBA member who " was told that he would not be bothered by the town if he voted in accordance with the Supervisor's wishes... Based on the foregoing, it would appear that the Town Supervisor is foregoing action against this illegal operation in exchange for [Ken Katzenstein's] vote that would prohibit this use for others that are similarly situated."
In his verified petition, Michael Longstreet, attorney for the petitioners, states that the town " has engaged in illegality, bad faith, and has intentionally and negligently delayed action on the application for a special use permit until after the zoning ordinance."
Longstreet goes on to say the town has interfered with petitioners' ability to obtain vested rights to mine by deliberately undermining their attempts to obtain a special use permit. He said the petitioners also have " spent substantial amounts of money" on State Environmental Quality Review and permitting studies.
Longstreet also wrote that the zoning board of appeals' Jan. 5 resolution was "arbitrary and capricious and was not supported by substantial evidence, and was the product of illegality."
In this action, the petitioners are asking the court to declare that the town has acted in bad faith, preventing them from commencing mining activities and acquiring vested rights; asking that the court direct the planning board to evaluate their application under the 1979 zoning ordinance and nullifying the Jan. 5 resolution of the ZBA.
Becker said beyond denying he has taken any of the improper actions of which he's been accused, the town's policy is that no comments are issued on matters in litigation.