Councilman questions land swap notification

Colonie Town Board member Dan Dustin is calling into question the expediency of public notice surrounding a 9-acre land trade approved in February.

In a Tuesday, April 6, letter to Town Supervisor Paula Mahan and Town Attorney Mike Magguilli, Dustin asked that the resolution be rescinded because public notice didn't come within the 10-day period required for items subject to possible public referendum.

The matter was further complicated when the Times Union posted an April 12 blog entry in which Maguilli said a legal notice was sent for publication in the March 3 Spotlight but didn't run because of a glitch in that edition.

Spotlight records show, however, the town did not send the legal information until March 9. Text of that e-mail can be found in this week's editorial on page 6.

When later asked about the discrepancy, Magguilli said he isn't sure if the e-mail he believed was sent the day after the vote actually went out.

"Normally we send out notices the next day," Magguilli said. "I don't know if it exists or not. I'll be honest with you. We're trying to find it now."

Dustin, while concerned with the timing of the notice, said he would like the town to rethink the resolution to give the Guptill Holding Corporation 9 acres of town land in exchange for an easement and sensitive wetlands known as a kettle bog.

"This is essential to save the town money and time associated with a lawsuit as well as potential liabilities to Mr. Guptill with regard to the title issue. I think it is only prudent that this matter be rescinded," he wrote in the April 6 letter.

The Colonie Town Board approved the swap in February. Colonie officials said the trade-off gives the town sensitive wetlands worth protecting, while opponents question the need to protect an area already protected by federal and state regulation. Dustin also called into question the assessment of the land being given to the Guptill Holding Corporation since the assessment of the land accounts for it being "landlocked," while Dustin contends there is road access thorough Guptill's other property.

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