HUDSON–State Supreme Court Judge Patrick J. McGrath handed down an interim decision last week denying Alan Wilzig’s petition for dismissal of a complaint filed by the Granger Group in regard to his private motorcycle track.
Mr. Wilzig received site plan approval and designation as a permissible recreational use from the Town of Taghkanic’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board earlier this year. But he was unable to proceed with paving the track because of an injunction against further construction on the facility. The injunction was obtained by the Granger Group, an association of citizens opposed to the track and concerned about enforcement of town zoning law, and by neighbors to the Wilzig property who believe that the track is not allowed under the zoning laws.
The judge’s July 10 decision turns back Mr. Wilzig’s request for dismissal of the opponents’ case against him, rejecting his argument that the rulings by the town ZBA and Planning Board trump an earlier decision by another state court that supported the opponents.
An injunction that prevents Mr. Wilzig from completing the construction of the mile-long track he built without permits, from maintaining it, and from using it remains in place since the Granger Group deposited $50,000 as required by the court. If the plaintiffs lose their case against Mr. Wilzig, that money can be applied to his costs. The Granger Group filed suit July 1 against the ZBA, the Planning Board, the Town of Taghkanic, town Code Enforcement Officer Dennis Callahan and the Wilzigs.
The current judicial decision supports the plaintiffs’ right to petition the court to apply a reading of town zoning law by state Supreme Court Judge Christian Hummel in 2007 that race tracks are not allowed in the town. After Mr. Wilzig lost that case, he renamed his track, saying it was not for racing but only for “recreational” use.
The latest ruling says that the plaintiffs may proceed with their case despite the recent town ZBA and Planning Board decisions.
“The ultimate decision lies with this Court, not the ZBA,” wrote Judge McGrath.
“It isn’t a surprise or any great disappointment,” said Mr. Wilzig in a phone interview Tuesday, July 14. Mr. Wilzig’s attorney, David Everett, said in an e-mail, “The judge still has not ruled on the merits of the suit, and neither party has won or lost. Ultimately, all of the Grangers’ lawsuits will be decided by the Appellate Court.”