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Ruling on Toronto Reservoir access may come soon

By Fritz Mayer
September 6, 2011

The 10-year battle over the public access point at the Toronto Reservoir may soon be settled as a judge in Albany considers the merits of the case.

Alliance Energy Renewables (AER) owns the reservoir and the hydropower plant at the dam, and has attempted to sell them to Eagle Creek Companies, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) won’t sign off on the transfer of the license for the power plant because FERC’s position is that the company has been out of compliance with the terms of the license for the entire time it owned the reservoir.

The terms of the license dictate that two access points to the reservoir be provided to the public, but one has been blocked by the development of The Chapin Estate and the developer, Woodstone Companies.

In January, AER moved to take the road that traverses through Smallwood and The Chapin Estate by condemnation using eminent domain proceedings.

At a rally at the public access point on Moscoe Road, which is still open to the public, a planned flotilla that was to have travelled across the reservoir to the blocked access, but which is still open to the public and accessible by boat, was interrupted because of a thunderstorm.

However, a group of residents staged a demonstration in support of opening the road to the access point to the public, and Nino Nannarone, co-chairperson of the group, Friends of the Toronto Reservoir, said he thought a ruling on the condemnation might come within the next couple of months.

Ronnie Lehman, a resident of Smallwood, said that he is glad the homes came into The Chapin Estate because they help significantly with town property taxes. He added, however, he’d like the other access to be available to the public because “it is so gorgeous.”