Macedon Village Mayor Marie Cramer decided one trail along the Erie Canal was not enough for the Village. Although a north side trail already existed, Cramer had pushed canal side landowner, Jeff Beckenbach, stating a clear trail existed on his property and the Canal Authority, with the Village’s push, could create a new trail along the canal frontage.
Beckenbach, who purchased a 150 acre parcel several years ago, had the property surveyed and said the land the canal once claimed as a right-of-way had eroded away and the old markers were now several feet off his property and in the canal itself.
Beckenbach claimed the Mayor put him through many hurdles on his way to build a $300,000 home on the site. “I did everything they asked, but that wasn’t enough for her (Cramer). The confrontation even lead to Beckenbach receiving a call from a neighbor stating Cramer was on his property with another individual. He arrived and ordered them off his property.
The Village of Macedon landowner said he spent about $5,000 in survey and attorney fees to ensure the facts concerning his property were right. At one point the Mayor allegedly threatened Beckenbach that he would never get all the go-ahead he needed to develop the property for his own use, without granting her an easement.
“I do not want to build a $300,000 home only to have people walking by, or fishing off my property,” said Jeff.
After many calls, cancelled meetings and alleged veiled threats, Beckenbach pleaded his case with several other Macedon Village Board members. Two weeks ago, after an impassioned plea to hold off a decision, the Board shut down the Mayor’s stand and unanimously approved the plans for the new home, without any consideration of granting an easement for a future trail.
Still carrying out the fight for another trail along the Canal, on Tuesday (4/29) Mayor Cramer assembled representatives from the Canal Authority, a member of the Village’s Department of Public Works, the Macedon Trail Committee and Beckenbach. Jeff also brought his lawyer and engineer/surveyor to the meeting. “After all I’ve gone through, I wasn’t going to show up alone, I don’t trust her (the Mayor),” commented Jeff. He also asked Macedon Village Board Member Don Lohse to attend.
Before the meeting started, Mayor Cramer told Lohse to leave, or she would have him arrested. “I wanted this to be a small, friendly meeting. He (Lohse) was not invited to the meeting. I don’t understand how it escalated to this,” said Cramer concerning the Times questioning her ordering Lohse to leave. “I was going to gather information and report back to the Board,” she added.
Lohse confirmed Cramer threatened to have him arrested if he stayed. “I don’t know why, perhaps she is trying to hide something,” said the Village Board member. He confirmed the location pins on Beckenbach’s property were “on the money” and that some of the old markers, along with some of Beckenbach’s own land is now under water.
After being pressed about the legality of threatening to have a fellow Board member arrested, Cramer replied “I felt I was being harassed and I think I can.” (…threaten to have Lohse arrested).
At the meeting, the State Canal representatives confirmed what their GPS search and what Beckenbach, his lawyer and engineer, have stated from the very beginning.
Mayor Cramer stated that the problem, she feels, came when the land’s previous owner and others, did not affirm what she considered as a verbal confirmation, sometime in the past, of an existing foot path, along what is now Beckenbach’s property.
The Mayor said she just wanted confirmation of the State’s GPS findings and that is why she held the meeting at the Village Hall. “I just wanted to get all the facts together.” She was asked how much money the Village had spent in the fight with Beckenbach. “A few thousand dollars,” she stated. Later she e-mailed the Times a corrected amount of “$37” spent by the Village.
“There were no restrictions on my deed. There was not enough property of the old shoreline for an easement and we knew that five years ago. What this woman has put me through…” said Beckenbach. “She had all the facts two, or three months ago, but I had to hold off building. It is the Village taxpayers who are suffering,” he added. Jeff said the rest of the Village Board and Planing Board have been “fantastic”. She and those trail people just had it in their heads they wanted another trail on the village side of the canal and they could use an old path as a trail.”