April 2, 2011

Tribulations and teepees

This morning's Ithaca Journal tells the story of Chris Muka and Common Land, Inc., mostly from their perspective. When we read the announcement for Common Land's auction, Angelika thought it was mostly an opportunity to pay taxes on the land so that Muka could continue to enjoy it, and I didn't think it could sell easily on those terms. It sounds like 1 of 23 parcels sold, so I don't feel too wrong about that. Apparently the county agrees enough on the tax issue to argue that Muka still needs to pay some taxes on the one parcel that did sell.

How could I have such doubts? I've only met him once, and while we didn't end up doing business with him, nothing terrible happened. We didn't think the land would work and access to it wasn't clear, so we didn't even get into his terms. I did know of his reputation beforehand, though, as the Dryden zoning and code folks had wondered about him before. (If I remember right the complaint was that he wanted them to act as real estate agents for his land.)

A few years ago, in a dispute with Groton over a condemned house of his, the Cortland Standard wrote a similar article. He did, in the end, finish work on that house, somehow accomplishing in a month - after a pretty unhappy Town Board meeting - what he'd inched toward for three years. Of course Gary Coats, the Groton Code/Fire Enforcement Officer noted:

this [Certificate of Occupancy] will be very unique. It will be one of the most unique I've ever signed because there is no requirement for electricity, no requirement for indoor plumbing, all of which are not required by New York State Code on single family homes. So, somebody looking at this is going to know right up front that they don't have electricity. They do have a septic, but they have a privy. But it's all to Code standards.

The teepees are nice, though. They don't really need electricity, I guess.

In other Dryden news, the Guthrie Clinic office on Royal Road evacuated for a few hours after a strange smell, and the Tompkins County economy seemed to do a little better in February.

Posted by simon at April 2, 2011 5:03 PM in , ,
Note on photos