Saratoga County

Judge finds for Saratoga County in eminent domain case

A state Supreme Court judge this morning granted the Saratoga County Water Authority permanent easem
Mary Zetterstrom, left, and her daughter Debbie walk on their land on Northline Road in Ballston Spa on Monday after learning that the county had won a court case granting a permanent easement through eminent domain for construction of a new water line.
Mary Zetterstrom, left, and her daughter Debbie walk on their land on Northline Road in Ballston Spa on Monday after learning that the county had won a court case granting a permanent easement through eminent domain for construction of a new water line.

A state Supreme Court judge this morning granted the Saratoga County Water Authority permanent easements over disputed properties where it will run its water line.

The order by Judge Thomas D. Nolan Jr. makes permanent the temporary access he granted for authority contractors in April, but it doesn’t settle how much landowners will be paid under eminent domain law.

At least one family plans to continue fighting for more money, unhappy with the authority’s $9,000 offer.

“I have concerns because there are a number of pieces of machinery and pipe on our property,” said Debbie Zetterstrom, whose mother owns a farm south of Saratoga Spa State Park that the pipe will cross.

Of nearly 200 landowners along the 28-mile pipeline route from Moreau to Malta, 13 are part of the eminent domain case. The others reached voluntary agreements.

The authority gave the 13 owners new offers earlier this month based on court-ordered appraisals. Based on that, the judge granted the permanent easements, postponing decisions on how much the authority should pay until later.

Mark Schachner of Glens Falls, one of the authority’s attorneys, said the law allows the authority to take the easements while the question of how much will be paid is decided.

“The vast majority have said what you’re offering is now enough,” he said.

Landowners can now do their own appraisals, and the authority refine its appraisals. Nolan set a conference for April 2009.

The water authority pipeline is running from the upper Hudson River to the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where Advanced Micro Devices is planning a new computer chip factory. It is now under construction.

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