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Racetrack definition looms over decision

Rotterdam building inspector needs first-hand evidence

At the last Rotterdam Town Board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8, residents restated their concerns about land owned by Marc Della Villa and alleged the property is being used as an illegal racetrack.

Board members, excluding Supervisor Francis Del Gallo whom was on vacation, viewed video evidence, showing dirt bikes jumping into the air and tearing up dirt, presented to them by residents during the Town Board Agenda meeting on Monday, Sept. 20.

Robert Godlewski, deputy supervisor, said on Friday, Sept. 10, after the previous board meeting, he asked Mickey Maher, code enforcer, to visit the property and decide whether the usage of the property falls under the town code's definition of a racetrack. Maher said he hadn't been previously asked to ever to visit the property for a determination, said Godlewski.

The way the law works basically says he has to see somebody actually using the track, said Godlewski.

Even though the board viewed the video evidence, Maher couldn't use any evidence presented to him as a determination. Only first hand viewing of the motocross activity by Maher can lead to a determination.

"Me and the supervisor were under the impression that that was going to happen between Friday and the middle of last week," said Godlewski. "I hadn't heard anything, so I asked him to pay me a visit at my office."

Godlewski said when he asked Maher about the request, Maher said he needed to have it in writing.

"I have never had somebody ask me to put something in writing and when I informed the supervisor he was not too happy about that," said Godlewski. "Apparently, that has been the norm around here for years."

Also, Godlewski said the first thing Maher said when asked to go over the weekend was to be paid overtime. Godlewski then talked to Michael Griesemer, head of the Public Works Department, and asked him to visit the location.

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