To the editor:
My office was recently notified that Governor Spitzer has vetoed Assembly Bill A.9156, which was passed by the Assembly and Senate during this year's Legislative session.
This important piece of legislation would have protected landowners in New York State from losing their property by adverse possession. This bill was co-sponsored in the Assembly by Mr. Gordon, Ms. Weinstein and myself and in the Senate by Ms. Little. Assembly Bill A.9156 cites Przybylo vs. Walling.
The Przybylo family resides in my Assembly district. They were clearly the victims of an unjust taking of their property. While one case may not be the basis for a change in the law, there are many others who came forward and told similar stories. People from the Hudson Valley to Buffalo to the Adirondack North Country fear they may be vulnerable because of current law. As this bill was being drafted, I met with members of the Bar Association and others who had an interest in the bill's language. The law we are attempting to correct was drafted before it was common for property owners to have surveys and deeds with clear boundary descriptions. In Przybylo vs. Walling, the court ignored the survey and the fact that all parties knew where the property lines were. During the legislative process, the Assembly Judiciary Committee had numerous discussions with interested parties. After much deliberation, the bill made it to the floor and was passed with very little objection.
While a neighboring property owner may desire something that is not rightly theirs, the test should rest with a survey and/or a filed deed with boundaries that are clearly set. Please consider very carefully the important Constitutional right to own property and to quietly enjoy that right.
Teresa R. Sayward
Member of Assembly