The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued a notice of violation to the mayor of Skaneateles for an unpermitted streambank disturbance to a Skaneateles Lake tributary.
Skaneateles Town Supervisor Jim Lanning said village of Skaneateles Mayor Marty Hubbard, owner of M. Hubbard Construction, was building a basketball court at his property at 2570 West Lake Road, which borders Minnow Brook. Though the project had been approved by the town this summer, Lanning said its footprint was about five times the approval size, trees had been clear cut and sediment bypassed silt fences through a drain that contractors had installed in the middle of the property. Lanning said the drain led to the brook, and eventually to the lake.
"On November 7, 2017, DEC issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) for an unpermitted streambank disturbance of a Class AA tributary to Skaneateles Lake," the DEC said in a statement to The Citizen on Wednesday. "The NOV requires the West Lake Road property owner to complete several actions to restore the streambank habitat to its previous condition."
At this time, the DEC added, no fines have been imposed.
In a submitted letter to the editor, Hubbard wrote, "The news coverage contained a number of wild and inflammatory allegations claiming that we had polluted a stream leading to Skaneateles Lake, had created a public health hazard, and had violated our building permit. ... The City of Syracuse and the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation have inspected the site on three separate occasions and stated 'no water quality violations were observed.'"
The DEC confirmed Monday that its violation notice was specifically for the steambank habitat disturbance and did not constitute a water quality violation.
In a phone interview Monday, Hubbard declined to comment on the streambank violation or what was being done to remedy the site. He did say, however, that he felt everyone was manipulating the situation.
"Regarding television coverage, newspaper reporting and social media — I see no reason to get into a smelling contest with a bunch of skunks," he said. "What that means, as polite as I can say it, they've burnt their bridges with me. They've maliciously attacked me, and I'm not going to continue to barb and play wordsmith games with them."
The DEC said it will actively monitor the site "to ensure implementation of the prescribed remediation timeline. The NOV also outlines implementation of stormwater best management practices to prevent water quality violations for the duration of the project."
Lanning said the town halted the construction work at the beginning of November, but if the public sees activity at the site, it's likely contractors remedying the streambank. The project site has been put back on the town planning board's agenda for discussion this month, he added.
According to the village's website, the planning board will meet 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the town offices, 24 Jordan St., Skaneateles.