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Property owner, town talk settlement

December 24, 2008
By ZACH SUBAR, The Leader-Herald

CAROGA-An attorney for Canada Lake property owner Joseph Herms said last week settlement negotiations were under way in the case.

Cynthia Feathers, Herms' new Albany-based attorney, filed an appeal last Monday of a July state Supreme Court decision by Justice Richard Giardino that ordered Herms to demolish his lakefront structure within eight months.

In that decision, the judge also ordered Herms to pay the town a $50,000 civil penalty and reimburse its legal fees. Giardino issued his decision following a trial that concluded in April in state Supreme Court in Fulton County.

Feathers has taken over the case from Herms' previous attorney, Sheila Galvin.

The town and Herms have battled since 1999 over Herms' structure on Canada Lake. Herms originally intended to build a camp on the lake but repeatedly was denied permits by the town.

Herms then applied for permits to build a boathouse, which the town approved. After Herms built part of the structure, town officials ordered him to stop construction because, according to them, the structure did not fit the description of a boathouse and instead appeared to be a camp.

Feathers said the case would be heard in the court's March 2009 term if settlement negotiations were to fall flat and the case went to trial.

The town's lawyer, Salvatore Ferlazzo of the Albany firm Girvin & Ferlazzo, could not be reached for comment.

Caroga Supervisor Robert Kane said the town would press on with the case against Herms even if it were to lose an appeal in the future.

"We went this far," he said. "We've got to go all the way."

Citing the sensitivity of settlement negotiations, Feathers declined further comment.

Zach Subar covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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