Ruling nixes Fredonia water decision

A ruling this week by state Supreme Court Justice Grace Hanlon agrees with a group calling for a State Environmental Quality Review.

Fredonia’s Save Our Reservoir group has won the latest battle.

State Supreme Court Justice Grace Hanlon ruled Thursday in favor of a lawsuit filed by five village residents against the Fredonia Board of Trustees’ Dec. 26 water resolution. The resolution directed a drawdown of the reservoir, a decommission of the water plant and the acquisition of water from Dunkirk.

However, as Hanlon put it in her nine-page ruling, “The respondent’s motion to dismiss is denied and the petition to annul the December 2023 Village of Fredonia resolution is granted.”

The lawsuit was filed by Richard Clark, former Trustee Kara Christina, former Mayor Athanasia Landis, Andrew Ludwig, and Gladys Sedota. It sought to argue that the village should have done a State Environmental Quality Review before it passed a resolution that committed to a course of action.

Attorneys for Fredonia argued the resolution was not a definitive course of action. Hanlon apparently didn’t buy that.

“The Fredonia board… committed itself to a definite course of action when it passed the resolution in question,” she wrote. “In the resolution a plan was choosing to address the water treatment plant’s ongoing deficiencies and issues.

“The court finds that the resolution is an action under the Environmental Conservation Law, and therefore an environmental impact (statement) is required.”

Much of the ruling constitutes a concise recent history of Fredonia’s water woes, including the Chautauqua County Board of Health’s involvement and its threat to pursue fines and sanctions if the village did not decide on a water system direction by the end of 2023. Hanlon also mentions LaBella’s fall 2023 report laying out options for the water system.


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