The Saratoga Sun -

By Liz Wood 

Town, Stevens can't agree to disagree: Two points of contention separate parties


Liz Wood

There has not been activity at Randy Stevens’ property since June, 2012. The town of Saratoga and Stevens have been at odds about the property since 2008.

It looks like the town of Saratoga and Randy Stevens may be headed back to court.

On March 20, Stevens filed a motion to enforce a settlement agreement. The motion stated “Plaintiff has not offered any explanation as to why it has failed or refused to execute the Stipulated Order.”

The motion goes on to say that the plaintiff has offered a counter-proposed Stipulated Order that does not conform to the terms agreed to by the parties on Jan. 4, 2013.

Mayor John Zieger told the Saratoga Sun that the town’s attorney drafted an agreement, but it was not completed. After the motion was filed, Zeiger referred all other comments to the town’s attorney, Richard Rideout. Rideout did not return multiple phone calls.

Stevens and the town of Saratoga have been in and out of court since 2008, when Stevens built a retaining wall on the north and east sides of the property. The wall was adjacent to the Hugus Ditch and Maple and South River streets.

Zeiger said he did not agree to the removal of the existing sheer piling retaining wall. Stevens argues that Zeiger and his attorney did agree to the removal of the wall.

The town of Saratoga has not signed the agreement that was written by Stevens’ attorney.

On Monday, Stevens said the town offered to remove the wall in May 2012 in a letter written by Peggy Trent. Trent was representing the town in this case at the time. Stevens said the town would replace the wall with gabion baskets.

Stevens said the sheer piling that is in place now was not able to go completely into the ground, and when the dirt on Stevens’ side of the property is leveled to the 3-percent grade, the wall may collapse onto his property.

Stevens said when the town did not follow through, he filed a motion June 2012.

A draft copy of the town’s proposed Stipulated Order was included in the motion filed by Stevens two weeks ago.

The timeline and description of work to be done, according to the document drawn up by Salisbury, Stevens’ attorney is as follows:

Stevens’ agreement

An agreement was made on Jan. 4.

Within 45 days from the entry of the order the town of Saratoga will construct and install, at its expense, an access ramp to the Stevens’ storage container. The town was to notify Stevens’ in writing when the access ramp was completed.

Within 15 days following Stevens’ receipt of the town’s notice of completion of the access ramp, Stevens was to remove all personal property from the storage container, at his own expense. Once completed, he was required to notify the town in writing.

Within 45 days of the notification of the removal of personal items from the storage container, the town was to remove and relocate the storage container to lots nine and 10, Block 11, Riverside Addition, as shown on Stevens’ site plan. The town was to do all the dirt work on the above-mentioned blocks that may be necessary to facilitate the placement of the storage container at its own expense. The agreement also referred to the Consent Decree of June 21, 2010.

The agreement written by Salisbury also stated that the town would remove and segregate the topsoil from the fill dirt on lots one through 10 of block 11 and deliver the topsoil to Stevens’ pit north of Saratoga and that the town was to remove the fill dirt on the lots and deliver that dirt to Stevens put.

The agreement goes on to state that the town complete reconstruction of the alleyway next to lots one through 10, block 11, and remove the existing sheer piling retaining wall at its own expense. The agreement stated the town would comply with the finished contours and grades approved by the court on March 1, 2011.

The deadline for reconstruction of the alley was May 30, 2013, according to the agreement.

The agreement also stated the town was to perform surveys on lots one, nine, 10 and 11, and that the survey would be completed before the placement of the storage container to ensure compliance on setbacks of the property.

Town’s agreement

The town’s draft agreement, provided by Stevens, is as follows:

In the town’s draft agreement it said that the town had 45 days to construct and install a dirt access ramp or roadway to the front of Stevens’ storage container, at its expense. The town is to notify Stevens in writing when the ramp has been completed.

The draft agreement goes on to state the town is not required to remove the ramp or roadway, or to re-contour or re-grade the property to its pre-constructed state.

Stevens has 15 days to remove the personal property and then notify the town in writing that the container has been emptied.

The draft agreement stated that the town will have 45 days after Stevens’ notification that the container is empty to move the container from its present location to another location on Stevens’ property.

The town is to prepare a dirt access ramp or roadway to help with the removal of the container, but is not required to remove that ramp or roadway, or re-contour or re-grade the property to its pre-constructed state.

The town, according to the draft agreement, is to smooth and prepare the necessary dirt work for placement of the container.

The town agrees to move dirt from the container site, which would be moved to within one mile of the alley way.

The town would have 140 days from the execution of the agreement to reconstruct the ally next to the property, and agrees to the finished contours and grades approved by the court on March 1, 2011.

The draft agreement does not mention a survey.

Zeiger was advised by Rideout that he had spoken with Stevens’ attorney on Feb. 24, and the original understanding reached earlier had been confirmed in principal with no substantive changes, Zeiger said.

Zeiger said that due to unrelated issues, the agreement needed to be modified to conform to the parties’ understandings. The town’s attorney believed once a formal draft had been received, the matter would be concluded.

The Saratoga Sun contacted Salisbury’s office before the Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement and was told that Salisbury did not want to comment.

According to Stevens, the town of Saratoga has until April 12 to respond or a court hearing will be set.


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