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A New Player in Croton’s Eminent Domain Game

May 18, 2006

* Breaking News *

The plot thickens. Enter Buffalo Southern Railroad (BSOR)—a locally owned Class 3 Common Carrier located in Western New York State.

On Wednesday, May 18, 2006, Attorney John McManus (see video in “Not So Imminent Eminent Domain in Croton”) of Crane, Parente, Cherubin & Murray, of Albany, New York, representing both Regus Industries LLC and BSOR, filed a request for a Show Cause Order and a Temporary Restraining Order in Federal Court in White Plains against the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.

The new player in the game, Buffalo Southern Railroad, is a short line railroad operating 32 miles of track south from Buffalo to Gowanda, New York, on the Cattaraugus Creek. It connects with every Class 1 railroad in Buffalo, including the Norfolk & Southern, CSX, Canadian Pacific and the Buffalo & Pittsburgh. The Buffalo Southern Railroad has seven employees and handles 50,000 tons of freight annually. Kevin J. O’Gorman is President and CEO.

The request, based on the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, seeks to restrain the village from further pursuit of eminent domain action against property owner Greentree Realty LLC and 1A Croton Point Avenue. It would prohibit legislative interference in any way with their business operations. In addition to identifying several village boards, the claim also names both the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Westchester County Solid Waste Commission.

Response by the village must be filed by Tuesday, May 23, 2006. Village Attorney Marianne Stecich (search) and Special Counsel Michael Gerard have not yet filed a response. Oral argument will be heard on Friday, May 26, 2006, in White Plains. The presiding judge will then decide whether to uphold or deny the joint request by Regus Industries LLC, Buffalo Southern Railroad and Greentree Realty LLC.

However, the action by the plaintiffs does not seek to change the amount of construction and demolition debris handled at the former site of Metro Enviro. Instead, they also plan to use the site as a rail-to-truck distribution point for benign raw building materials, such as aggregates, sand, cement, lumber, metals and brick.

Village officials maintain that approval from the Surface Transportation Board is necessary in order to commence such operations at the site—which has a rail spur connecting it to the main line.

On May 19, 2006 6:56 PM, TeaDrinker said:

CCC1 Newsletter maven and top Crotonblog reader Maria Cudequest (search) circulated the following tid-bit earlier today. Hat tip to GW for passing it along to us…

“Please be advised that unfortunately, village staff released inaccurate information earlier today by phone. Buffalo Southern got the TRO, not the village.

The press release is now on the website. I will be taking this matter up directly with the board regarding the staff person in question.”

On May 19, 2006 9:44 AM, TeaDrinker said:

PRESS RELEASE VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NY MAY 17, 2006

On May 17th in Federal Court in White Plains, Judge Colleen McMahon issued a temporary restraining order on the petition of Buffalo Southern Railroad (BSOR) to enjoin the Village from applying or enforcing against BSOR eminent domain statutes and zoning and land use provisions at 1A Croton Point Avenue. BSOR claims that it is beginning to use the site as a “transloading” facility for building materials. The Village will file their response on May 23rd and oral arguments will be heard on May 26, 2006. BSOR has obtained a lease from RSA which in turn has leased 1A Croton Point Avenue from Greentree Realty LLC.

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