Board seeks title search to help resolve drainage dispute
The Esopus Town Board requested a title search to determine ownership of a right-of-way between two Main Street properties in the hamlet of St. Remy, where a resident diverted water away from a storm drain because it was backing up on his property.
At a board meeting Wednesday, St. Remy resident Doug Navarra said the town’s plan to resolve the problem by installing a catch basin will not work during the winter.
“It’s not an exit for the water,” he said. “The water is still there. The ground is frozen solid at that time of the year . ... There is no penetration of the water into the ground.”
Navarra said the problem could worsen during winter thaws and the return of cold weather.
“In the middle of wintertime, catch basins ... are used to dump snow,” he said. “What happens is the snow solidifies and forms a big block of ice, inhibiting water from draining down into them.”
Navarra said there has been a slow response from officials when asked to resolve drainage problems.
“Catch basins typically in our neighborhood are not maintained,” he said. “If a catch basin gets clogged up, a neighbor has to call the town and plead with the town to have it remediated.”
Town Highway Superintendent Michael Cafaldo said the town has had to repair the drainage area after it altered by Navarra.
“There’s a 200-foot rightof-way that runs down between the two properties,” he said. “He filled it all in ... and covered over the culvert pipe. When we went in to dig the culvert pipe out he came and stood (there) ... and we had to send the police there to remove him.”
Cafaldo said improvements cannot be made until the town can show the rightof-way allows town employees to be on the property.
“Now all the water (where) he filled it in goes on the neighbor’s property and goes in her cellar window,” he said.