Judge loses appeal over beach rules

Amsterdam City Court Judge Howard Aison cannot have the Great Sacandaga Lake’s regulating agency hel

Categories: Schenectady County

Amsterdam City Court Judge Howard Aison cannot have the Great Sacandaga Lake’s regulating agency held in contempt of court over the way it supervised a Sacandaga Park beach, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

Aison, a beach permit holder in Sacandaga Park, petitioned in Supreme Court in 2006 to have the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District held in contempt for allegedly not fulfilling terms of a 2003 settlement over operation of the beach.

In a ruling Thursday, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court upheld a February 2007 decision by Supreme Court Judge Joseph M. Sise denying Aison’s motion for a contempt finding.

Aison argued that the lake agency failed to live up to settlement terms providing it “regulate and control the beach and swimming area.”

As the basis for a contempt finding, Aison said the agency allowed boats, docks and personal watercraft in the swimming area, which he maintained violated the terms that settled a lawsuit he and others filed in 2003.

Aison could not be reached Friday for comment. The Appellate Court decision said: “We, however, agree with Supreme Court’s conclusion that the stipulation [in the settlement] did not set forth a clear and unequivocal mandate requiring [the agency] to prohibit the use of the beach and swimming area for docks and watercraft or directing it to enact regulations to that effect.”

The settlement terms do prohibit pets, glass, coolers, cooking and barbecue equipment and large gatherings, the appeals court noted.

Glenn A. LaFave, the regulating agency’s executive director, said Friday the agency enforces its rules but also understands that not all permit holders at the beach will enjoy it the same way.

He said the appeals court has now concurred with Judge Sise that none of the activities cited by Aison violate terms of the settlement agreement governing the beach.

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