A family that built two boathouses on Lake Placid without a town permit wants to take its legal case to the state’s highest tribunal, the Court of Appeals.
William H. Grimditch Jr. and his children contend that the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court erred when it ruled in June that town law applied to the construction of boathouses on the lake.
In its 5-0 ruling, the Appellate Division partially reversed decisions in two similar cases in which it held that municipalities have no jurisdiction over construction on the state’s navigable waterways. Click here to read more about the ruling.
The Grimditches lawyer, Mandy McFarland of Albany, contend the Appellate Division’s latest decision represents “a stark departure from its prior rulings” and violates stare decisis, the principle that legal precedents should not be overturned lightly. McFarland also contends that the decision contradicts rulings of other state courts and the Court of Appeals must resolve the conflict. Finally, McFarland said the Appellate Division “created new law” in holding that state Navigation Law is inapplicable in the Grimditch case.
Given the issues at stake, McFarland is asking the Appellate Division for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals. The motion is returnable on August 27. Jim Ranous, deputy clerk of the Appellate Division, said a decision could be made two to three weeks after arguments are made.
The Grimditches built the boathouses in 2010, defying a stop-work order from the town of North Elba. The town sued and demanded that the structures be torn down.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard Meyer ruled in favor of the Grimditches, but the Appellate Division overturned him.