Spearheaded by community activist Richard Barone, a group of residents has taken legal action.
Community activist Richard Barone notified the Post late last Friday afternoon that a legal action had just been filed, with the Monroe County Clerk, with regard to the Irondequoit Public Library vote last month. He said it’s his understanding the petition next needs to be assigned a number and a judge in state Supreme Court. The town had not yet been served with the lawsuit.
Barone said he’s not a litigant in the action, but will be its spokesman. He said he went door-to-door on Titus Avenue, opposite the Town Hall grounds where a new, centralized Irondequoit Public Library would be built, in an effort to involve residents with what he called “standing” in the lawsuit.
Barone said the petition has been signed by seven residents on six properties within “a couple hundred feet” of the site of the new library.
The 17-page brief that accompanies the petition, which was not immediately available to the Post, asks that a judge overturn what the Town Board did, in adopting a potential bond resolution prior to the public vote, Barone said.
“It (the lawsuit) challenges the library’s SEQRA (state environmental quality review act) situation,” Barone said.
The brief, he added, “touches on many issues,” including a lack of traffic analysis, the visual impact the new library would have, and the fact that the size and number of floors for the new library were “indeterminate” prior to the vote.
At the public vote April 23, Irondequoit voters overwhelmingly approved — 3,651 in favor; 2,033 against, or just over 64 percent to just under 36 percent — borrowing up to $13 million to build a new, centralized town library on the east lawn of the Town Hall campus. The new library would replace the existing two branches.
While he had not yet seen the lawsuit, Town Councilman John Perticone, liaison to the Irondequoit Public Library’s Board of Trustees, said today that the action will cost the town “more money and more time.”
Perticone said the town’s director of development services, Larry Heininger, did do “a short form and memo,” with regard to environmental concerns. He also noted that in the course of the 21 public meetings the library board held prior to the vote, “We never heard a question about SEQRA.”
Perticone also asked, “Where were all these people (who are bringing the lawsuit) during the process?”
Perticone said that he thinks the library board will still go ahead with the design process for the new library, since that could answer many of the questions going forward.
Barone said the lawsuit is being funded with donations, including one he has made, but he also hopes to do a fundraiser.
“I didn’t try to sell people (who signed the petition) on anything,” Barone said. “This isn’t something that is rock science. They (the Town Board) just didn’t take a hard look ... These are things that are pretty much common sense.”