Driveway issue costs Rotterdam $85k

Ghents Road litigation nearing closure, survey results debated

— Litigating a boundary line dispute between homeowners and a developer has cost the Town of Rotterdam $85,000 so far.

The Rotterdam Town Board on Wednesday, Jan. 23, approved two separate resolutions relating to litigation brought against the town by Christopher and Claudine Hodge claiming Pigliavento Builders wrongfully assumed property consisting of all or a portion of their driveway, which is an extension of Ghents Road. The board approved up to $70,000 to be paid to attorneys representing the town and up to $15,000 for work done by Blackstone Land Surveyors.

A decision from Judge Vincent J. Reilly is forthcoming after parties made their cases last month. Town Attorney Kate McGuirl said Rotterdam officials have continued to search for ways to resolve the lawsuit.

“We are hoping to get this resolved in litigation to come to a finale on this,” Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi said.

Christopher and Claudine Hodge reside at 2265 Ghents Road and have owned it since 1998. The couple also purchased the lot holding 2277 Ghents Road in January of last year. The couple claims the developer wrongly extended his lot into an existing gravel drive, which they claim has been used as their private driveway. The developer has approval to construct a single-family home on the neighboring parcel, but if the Hodges win their lawsuit that Brookview Court home would likely become landlocked.

The Hodges point to a survey commissioned by the town in which Mark Blackstone confirms the boundary line asserted by the Hodges is correct.

“The Town is fighting over a 1,000-square-foot piece of land at the end of a dead end that has for at least the last 60 years been owned and maintained by the Hense family and the Hodge family, not the town,” Claudine Hodge said in an email. “This is a waste of taxpayer money, nothing is to be gained and we think it should stop.”

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