Hanover Farms sues Shandaken

By Jay Braman Jr.
Al Higley, the owner of Hanover Farms in Mount Tremper, is suing the Town of Shandaken over a stop-work order the town’s code officer issued to his business two weeks ago.
The order, issued by Town Code Officer Richard Stokes on March 18, has been flagrantly ignored by Higley.

“We’re going to Supreme Court,” Higley said Monday.”We want the court to throw the stop work order out.”

This marks the latest battle between Al Higley and the town, which has alleged for several years that the business is in violation of zoning codes and is thus being operated illegally.
Shandaken Code Enforcement Officer Richard Stokes said that Higley has gone beyond the scope of a permit he received earlier this month.

“He came in for a permit to repair his roof,” Stokes said. But Stokes drove by the property and saw that the structure was removed and excavations were done to make way for the pouring of a concrete slab. Stokes said that this does not fall under the category of roof repair, and he wants Higley to follow proper procedures so that Stokes can do the proper inspections of the construction.
“He’s pouring cement slabs. They were never there. He’s got plumbing that he wants to put under that concrete,” Stokes said. “ Drainage too. Where does that drainage go?”

Higley, who has a history of disagreeing with code officers, insists that he has a permit for the work and is convinced that once the facts of the matter are fully reviewed that all will be well. Toward that end, Higley has engaged an attorney and continues the project.

On Monday Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley said that so far, Higley has not applied for a permit under the town’s new farm stand law, a law that was created in part out of attempt to put an end to the years of disagreement over the size of the Higley operation.

The construction at the farm stand now, according to Higley, is repair work.
Higley, who said the lawsuit was filed last Wednesday, said that the town has only 20 days to respond to the long list of complaints listed in the lawsuit.

“We hope the judge rules on this next week,” Higley said.
Stanley said Monday that town is in the process of drafting a response to Higley’s charges.