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Saratoga Springs City Council waits on budget, moratorium

The proposed demolition moratorium would prevent demolition permits from being issued to any structure in that district until Feb. 10, 2010, to give the city time to re-examine its historic zoning boundaries. Waivers could be sought from the Design Review Commission.

John Carusone, attorney for the Riggis, said during Tuesday's meeting that the proposed moratorium was a clear violation of his clients' property rights and, if the law is enacted, the city will likely face a lawsuit.

"My clients have merely done that which the law permits them to do," said Carusone. "It may not be the popular thing to do, but it is well within their rightsThis moratorium is targeted at one property, and it is bad law."

The likelihood of a lawsuit was one reason Kim said he moved to pass the moratorium without the amendment later in the meeting.

"Perfection shouldn't be the enemy of good. This is a good moratorium," he said. "Perfection may lead to disaster if we don't act now."

When the vote came, Accounts Commissioner John Franck voted with Kim, saying he favors a speedy process.

"The way this is going, I'm going to be on the national register before this is done," he said. "This document is clean."

Johnson said he plans to bring the moratorium up at the council's July 7 meeting with the amendment in place.

"This has taken an extremely fast track given the consequences and impact a moratorium can have on property rights within our city boundaries," he said. "There is no harm to making it right."

The City Council had planned on making amendments to the 2009 budget at Tuesday's meeting, but as last-minute changes had been made just earlier that day, it was decided to wait until the next meeting for a vote.

"I've been asked to delay these cuts in order to give taxpayers a chance to digest these changes," said Commissioner of Finance Ken Ivins.

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