Central Bridge: Property dispute crimps outside activities

Softball games, kite flying and the annual Easter egg hunt are among a list of events that have been

Softball games, kite flying and the annual Easter egg hunt are among a list of events that have been cancelled or moved elsewhere because of an ongoing property dispute.

The Central Bridge Sewer District installed a substation on land some officials thought belonged to the Central Bridge Civic Association.

But property owner William Seebold notified the district that the land the sewer district apparatus is on belongs to him.

Seebold this week said he and his family, who make a living as vegetable farmers, have been notifying the towns and Central Bridge Civic Association about the activity on their land for years.

He said it’s clear officials have known about his land concerns since the family’s complaints regarding the hamlet’s failing septic systems date back at least 20 years.

The family has been unable to use the agricultural field just south of the ball field for edibles specifically because of concerns over runoff from the failing septic systems, he said.

And Seebold said he told engineers and other officials — before shovels went into the ground — that the land they were planning to use for the sewer infrastructure belongs to his family.

The complaints, he said, were heard but ignored.

Seebold said he was informed by his insurance company that he needs separate insurance if he is to allow access to his property for recreation, so the family has halted access until the situation is resolved.

The land in question, a roughly one-acre strip between other private property and the ball field and playground, includes the entrance used to access the civic association’s park just north of the intersection of state routes 30A and 7.

The civic association this week issued a statement to inform the community that the lawn isn’t being mowed because nobody can access the property until the land issue is settled.

“Regretfully this dispute affects a large group of the community members, and we apologize for the appearance of the field as well as any inconvenience to the community during this time,” the statement reads.

Susan James, a member of the civic association’s board of directors, said softball teams have played on weekends and every day during the summertime.

She said she believes a couple of the teams broke up because they no longer have a place to play.

The sewer district, governed by the town boards of Schoharie and Esperance, commissioned an appraisal of the property to make an offer to buy the land from Seebold, Esperance Supervisor Earl Van Wormer said Thursday.

He declined to reveal the estimated value of the land or what offer is being made to Seebold.

Van Wormer said he doesn’t believe anybody is right or wrong and said he hopes the situation can be resolved quickly without going to court.

“Unfortunately you have this civic association and the kids and the people that want to use that recreational spot right now,” Van Wormer said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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