With demo day near, Shandaken farmstand owners file appeal

By Jay Braman Jr.
The owners of a farm stand on Route 28 in Mt. Tremper, that the state Supreme Court ordered removed, have filed an appeal of that verdict and are taking steps to apply to the Town of Shandaken for a permit to continue to do business.
On November 27, state Supreme Court Justice Mary Work gave the owners of Hanover Farms 60 days to take down their farm stand.
That gives Al Higley, and his son Alfie, until January 25 to remove the structure. But, with 10 days to go, the place looks just like it did on the day that Judge Work signed her decision.
That decision could have marked the end of a legal battle between Hanover Farms and the Town of Shandaken which began when the Higleys filed a lawsuit against the town and former Shandaken Code Enforcement officer Richard Stokes in 2012.
But on Tuesday Al Higley said his attorney, Rod Futerfas, has filed an appeal. Higley said that Work’s court order is based on inaccurate information.
The order states that after being granted approval to build a 100-square-foot farm stand, Higley gradually expanded the business to over 2,000 square feet despite receiving stop work orders from the town’s former code officer, Richard Stokes.
In response to Higley’s lawsuit, the town claimed that Hanover Farms had ignored more than one stop work order and undertook a vast expansion without building permits or site plan approval and did it all too close to Route 28.

Orders were ignored
When all was said and done, according to the town, Hanover Farms created a retail space 26 times larger than the area authorized in the permit issued in 2004 to build 100 square feet.
On Tuesday Higley said claims of the expansion are exaggerated. “The size is no different than what it was six years ago,” he said. “We never went outside the footprint one inch.”
The town asked the court to order the removal of a 2,184 square-foot concrete slab plus the new roof, wiring and all other improvements, and Justice Work agreed.
“This drastic remedy is being imposed not only because the expansion of the farm stand violated the town zoning and building codes and was completed after the issuance of three stop work orders, but also because none of the construction was subject to inspection to ensure that any portion of this building complies with the relevant New York State and town building codes, which are in place to ensure the integrity and safety of the structure and all the mechanicals found therein,” Work wrote in her decision. “Hanover has 60 days from the service and entry of this decision and order to comply with the removal ordered herein.”

No more business
Work also included language that prevents Hanover Farms from doing business on the site. “The town further requests a permanent injunction be issued enjoining Mr. Higley and Hanover from conducting business at said premises,” Work wrote. “That relief is granted and Alfred Higley and Hanover are permanently enjoined from conducting the business of the farm stand at said premises until such time as a special permit is approved and issued by the Town of Shandaken.”

Drawing up plans
Higley also said Tuesday that an architect is drawing up plans to present to the Shandaken Planning Board, which meets tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 15.
But as of Tuesday they were not yet complete, making it tough for Higley to say if he will ready by Wednesday night. “We may get in there though. We hoped to get in there this month,” Higley said.
On Tuesday Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley said that he has not received anything about the court order being changed. He did say that his understanding is that the January 25 deadline may not be a firm one. He believes that the Higleys have 60 days from when they received the court order, not from the date it was signed.