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Colton has optimism for ATV law rework despite rescinding Wednesday night

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COLTON — The Town Council has rescinded a local law that permitted all-terrain vehicle use over an approximately 3-mile area, consisting of sections of Morgan and Windmill roads and Cold Brook Drive.

The law had been approved in August, generating a split reaction in the hamlet.

ATV enthusiasts were thrilled with the news, but six town residents filed an Article 78 appeal opposing the law in October.

About 20 people, including a handful of ATV users, were at the town hall Wednesday for the public hearing to rescind the law and the regular board meeting that followed.

Despite the rescinding, Town Supervisor Dennis B. Bulger expressed optimism for a reworking of the law in the coming months.

“What the town is in the process of doing, because the county has intervened as well, the county attorney is working with the town attorney. They have met and have gone through the whole packet, and it’s their joint recommendation that we go ahead and rescind the present law rather than seeing it through to the Article 78 and redo it,” Mr. Bulger said. “At this time, the county also will be bringing on board some professional people in the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review Act) and the environmental impact area to take a look at that whole area one more time. At that point, when they have that completed or prior to it, the town will then go through the procedure again of coming up with a town law to open up those same roads.

“A big part of what they found in their review is, it’s more of a procedural type of thing than anything else at this point. But they are looking at that, they are working on that. They’ll redo the environmental area.”

Mr. Bulger added that there was always a chance that the law would be rescinded, especially with details regarding open road use on Route 56.

“I think it was understood from day one that the town law would have to be rescinded if the town did not open up Route 56. We were told that the town needed to pass the law first, open up our roads before the state could open up theirs,” he said.

Following meetings with the county, the town would like to have in place a model law that can be used by other towns in the north country.

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