Essex County Board of Supervisors
On April 30, George Moore went to the Best Western Plus Inn and Suites in Ticonderoga and joined the 151 other folks who registered to bid on the 105 parcels that Essex County had seized from delinquent taxpayers and were now auctioning off to the highest bidder.
Moore thought the four parcels adjacent to his holdings would make a good addition to his portfolio. When he left the auction that afternoon, he assumed his winning bid of $49,500 sealed the deal.
Not so fast.
On Monday, May 12, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reject Moore’s bid and kick the property, which is located at the intersection of Blue Ridge Road and Route 9, over to the town of North Hudson for $60,000.
Aside from the town, Moore, an 87-year-old who runs a scrap metal yard in Keeseville, has the most invested in this decision.
He owns, and pays taxes on, the so-called A-Frame, a large structure that once anchored Frontier Town, the now-shuttered theme park whose fate county officials have spent much of the year debating.
The lot, according to materials provided by the firm that brokered the sale, spans 88 acres and has a market value of $568,900.
At the meeting, County Attorney Daniel Manning and other officials were quick to point out that the denial was permissible under the sale’s terms and conditions.
North Hudson Town Supervisor Ronald Moore, no relation to George, pinned his request to an ongoing issue that is common in the North Country:
How to grow the economy while simultantiously facing state regulations.
“Ninety percent of the town’s land is owned by the state,” he told the board. “This is critical to our economic welfare. It’s one of the few properties in town that can be developed.”
Moore said while he did not speak directly with George Moore, nor did he attend the auction or send a representative to directly bid on the property, his sources indicated the latter would not develop the plot, but would rather flip it, something that the supervisor said he felt would not be in the town’s best economic interest.
George Moore could not be reached for comment by the time this story went to press.
If Ron Moore’s request winds its way through the legislative process, the full board will vote on it in early-June.
Moore, the town supervisor, said while he envisions large-scale development for the property in the future — including possible industrial development, something that is permissible under Adirondack Park Agency regulations because the parcel is located within the hamlet, a land designation that offers the maxium potential for development — for now, he would like to sculpt an area for recreational usage that would capitalize on the town’s location as a node for snowmobiling trails that fan out throughout the Adirondacks.
“I’m opposed to the principle of taking it out of the free market and putting it into the government’s hands,” said Minerva Town Supervisor Stephen McNally. “But if this is going to better the community, then I fully support it.”
No other parcels were pulled on Monday. But upon Schroon Lake Town Supervisor Mike Marnell’s request, a lot in his town was set aside, not fully rejected, so that the parties could hash out easement rights for snowmobiling access, the burgeoning industry that advocates say would offer a lifeline to the region’s ailing economy.
In total, $146,379.88 in back taxes are owed to the county on the property.