Developer was cause of Portland ‘delays’


There went John D’Agostino spouting off without checking his facts (May 17) in the commentary “Portland’s ‘ridiculous’ welcome.”

Proposed developer Jerry Speelberg would have had his permits one year ago if he had hired a project engineer to prepare his application, which would have complied with our site plan law and the state of New York building code.

If he would not have changed the project four times during the review by the planning board that could have helped. First, the project was for 10 hunting cabins. Then he changed it to one cabin for himself and four rustic cabins. According to him, this was to avoid dealing with the County Health Department. Then he changed to the four cabins for his own use and not to be rented.

Under the project to rent out cabins, he had to have a sprinkler system in each cabin or obtain a waiver from the state. He did not do so. The fire code requires fire-access roads unless he has sprinklers in the cabins to be rented out.

An examination of the photos that were submitted showed that two of the cabins were on the southwest side of the creek and not accessible to fire and rescue personnel and equipment. He claimed that the creek was only a couple inches deep, but a look at the pictures or an examination of the creek shows steep sides which could not easily be crossed by men or rescue equipment.

Mr. Speelberg wants things done his way and to hell with the law.

The state Building Code has to be enforced by the code enforcement officer. He just does not want to follow the law.

Where in heaven’s name did you get the information that the code enforcement officer, Signe Rominger, “played favorites by employing selective enforcement?” You are completely wrong and should apologize in the paper to her for your slanderous comments.

The bottom line is if Mr. Speelberg had hired a project engineer and complied with the site plan review law, he would have had his permits more than a year ago. The town of Portland was just following the law even if Mr. Speelberg was not willing to do so.

He caused all his own delays, not the town of Portland.

Charles R. Loveland is the attorney for the town of Portland.