Essex The property dispute between Salim “Sandy” Lewis and the Town of Essex is getting closer to either a settlement or a court date.
Lewis, who has filed lawsuits against the town contesting his 2011 and 2012 assessments for property he owns that are part of Lewis Family Farm on the Whallons Bay Road, said he met just after Christmas with his legal team to discuss the case.
“Joe Brennan said to me that if the town comes down to our number, then we have to settle,” Lewis said.
Brennan and Martina Baillie are representing Lewis on the matter, which is scheduled to come before Judge Richard Meyer.
The number, roughly $2.3 million, was an assessed value for the property that was reached through the services of Donald Fisher, who was brought in by both the town and Lewis to assess the property.
Lewis and Baillie had previously filed a pair of grievances in the town about the assessments on the two parcels: a field crops parcel of 1,111 acres assessed at $6,033,190; and a 5.2-acre family residence assessed at $412,900.
The grievances were both taken into consideration by the town’s zoning board of appeals, which cut the first parcel’s assessment to $4,811,112 while leaving the second parcel’s value the same.
Lewis said that he and his counsel have received correspondence which could lead to a settlement in the litigation and sets forth terms, which includes a reduction in the field property to roughly $2,158,100 for the 2011 assessment and roughly $2,348,168 million for the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 assessment rolls. It also drops the family residence to $129,500 from 2011 through 2015.
“This sets forth a version of an agreement,” Lewis said. “But I do not believe that the letter represents a firm offer from the town, and I will only officially respond to a firm offer.”