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The dispute in Raquette Lake dates back to the 1800s
The dispute in Raquette Lake dates back to the 1800s

Raquette Lake land dispute shifts to state Assembly

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Lawmakers from the North Country are pushing to add a second Constitutional amendment to the statewide ballot this November that deals with the Adirondack Park.

The measure aims to resolve a century-old land dispute in Raquette Lake in Hamilton County.

For that to happen, a bill needs to clear the state Assembly before the session winds to a close.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

For decades, state officials and landowners have wrangled in the press and in the courts over where the property boundaries lie around Raquette Lake.

NY State Sen. Betty Little has State Senator Betty Little issued a statement saying that "settling the claims is in the state's and property owners' best interests.". NCPR file photo: Mark Kurtz
NY State Sen. Betty Little has State Senator Betty Little issued a statement saying that "settling the claims is in the state's and property owners' best interests.". NCPR file photo: Mark Kurtz
The so-called Township 40 dispute — a term that dervies from early survey maps of the area — has blocked many homeowners from winning clear title to their land. It's also confused management of the state forest preserve.

More than 200 parcels are affected. A bill that would begin unraveling the dispute passed the state Senate earlier this week but hasn't yet cleared the state Assembly.

Under the deal, residents who want clear title to their land from the state would have to opt in and agree to pay financial compensation. That money would then go to buy new forest preserve land.

The effort has the support of a wide range of groups, including many environmental groups and the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors.

State Senator Betty Little issued a statement saying that "settling the claims is in the state's and property owners' best interests."

She predicted that if the parties try to resolve the standoff in court, there would be more delays and expense. "No one can argue that that route hasn't been tried enough," Little said.

If the Township 40 measure does make it through the legislature, it will then go to a vote of the people in November. That would mean voters deciding two land-swap issues in the Park — including another deal involving NYCO minerals in Essex County.

 

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