Saugerties Town Board talks sawmill, vacant house and the ice arena

The blue house on York Street (photo by Christina Coulter)

The Saugerties town board last week gave the town attorney the go-ahead to sue the Weeks family for, the town alleges, unlawfully expanding their sawmill onto an adjacent lot. It approved the demolition of an abandoned property at 508 York Street in Malden. And it approved a study weighing the various options available to it in regards to the Kiwanis Ice Arena.

The Weeks sawmill

According to board members, the town has taken every possibly measure to resolve the sawmill issue without taking legal action. “I was on the planning board, and Mr. Weeks and his family had a valid sawmill in 2003,” said councilman Paul Andreassen at the board’s February 12 meeting. “The sawmill made its way to an adjacent parcel and the operation grew. The building department was notified and tried to work with the Weekses. Subsequent to that, they were issued a stop-work order and [the mill] continued being operated. The town tried to work with the family and come to some compromise and … has exhausted all other remedies.”


The structures built there by owners Gregg Weeks, Gregg S. Weeks and Douglas Weeks have been called an eyesore and nuisance for the surrounding community. “There is a nearby property owner and she might have to sell her house,” said councilman Mike MacIsaac. “She’s worried that [the abandoned property] will affect her resale value. A sawmill [centered in] in a residential area makes it look not so residential anymore.”

Representatives of the Weeks family could not be reached for comment.

Dilapidated vacant house

According to neighbors, a dilapidated blue house on York Street has been abandoned for at least six years.

“This is related to an incident from last summer when a homeowner approached the board about a property that had been abandoned. [The town] couldn’t trace any reliable owners. The property has been vacant for many years. It’s unfortunately that the town has to pay for its removal,” said Andreassen, a former town building inspector. “There’s a procedure. The town is not going to be in the business of purchasing these vacant homes. There’s a lot of buildings that are vacant throughout the town. Hopefully, private parties will purchase them.”

The ice arena

The study of the ice arena will be performed by Legacy Building and Project Design Consultants, and will cost no more than $8,500. Back in January, the board had decided to replace the arena’s roof rather than attempt a repair or build a new arena altogether, but this study will give the board options on both roof replacement and a total rebuild. The roof, installed in 2003 and made of a coated polyethylene fabric, was good for ten to 15 years. Back in January, parks and buildings superintendent Greg Chorvas pegged the cost of a new roof at $500,000 and a new arena at twice that.

“We are considering our options pending the outcome of the analysis and report by Legacy,” councilman Paul Andreassen said. “It will depend on the projected life expectancy of the structure, what’s to be expected of the fabric, what can affordably be replaced and what if we consider an altogether new permanent structure to house the ice arena and ancillary services.”

Andreassen said whatever the board decides will “hope hopefully have the support of the taxpayers as major shareholders in this endeavor,” and the results of the study will be made public upon receipt.

“The board basically wanted to see what our options were between upgrading the structure and what that would cost in comparison to a conventional building,” said Chorvas.  “A year ago, when I went to the board [and told them] that I’d like to do a conventional building … made of PVC panels [rather than] a fabric membrane.”

Other business

The board also approved a 2% salary increase for five town employees and a fifty-cent raise for two part-time clerks.

Marjorie Block was appointed again as chair of the tourism committee. “She does a phenomenal job representing Saugerties. You name it, she is the Saugerties cheerleader who is there,” said councilmember Leanne Thornton.