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Facts not Fiction

To the Valley News:

Mr. Fenimore must not have learned much in his six years as a Town councilman, since he doesn’t know the difference between a Town road and a County road. The Town of Elizabethtown doesn’t own the old Otis Lane, nor does the Town own the new Otis Lane. Thus, Mr. Fenimore’s statement (Feb. 23 letter) that the sod and topsoil from the new roadbed comes from Town property, is absolutely FALSE.

My family has owned the Otis farm since 1874, and at no time did I, nor my family ever give or sell any of our land to the Town of Elizabethtown. Three years ago I agreed to give Essex County part of my property, at NO cost, so the County could construct a 50 foot wide road to access the new Otis Bridge. The old Otis Lane, which is only about 10 feet wide, does not meet New York State road standards, and is too narrow for the logging trucks that will soon be crossing Otis Bridge.

By agreement with the County, the topsoil and sod removed to construct the new lane, belongs to me. I chose to share that material with the Town of Elizabethtown, to help finish two new golf holes at the Cobble Hill Golf course.

The Town of Elizabethtown can’t give the old Otis Lane back to me, because the Town never owned it. They can, by a vote of the Town Board, discontinue all maintenance of the old lane, but I have always owned that land and paid taxes on it.

The amount of land I gave to Essex County is ½ acre. My property value will NOT be enhanced by this action, but could be reduced, since I’ll have less land than before. If Essex County wants to turn the new Otis Lane over to the Town of Elizabethtown, both the County Board of Supervisors and the Town Board of Elizabethtown will have to vote to approve such action.

Harry O. Gough, New Russia

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