Stuyvesant puzzle: One of their acres is missing

STUYVESANT – Residents of Stuyvesant have been frustrated for years by the lack of quality access to the Hudson. Near the Stuyvesant post office and train station-in-renovation, an informal boat launch and fishing area are in use, but their proximity to an un-gated, high-speed rail crossing has thwarted development there. Other access points have limited use, like car-top launch only, and are threatened with closure. They, too, are accessed only via questionable rail crossings.

And then, there is the Hook Boat Club, a private club with a marina for use by its roughly 30 members. The club and its 18 boat slips are is also located west of an un-gated rail crossing in Stuyvesant.

Recently Stuyvesant resident Martin Roby created a blog that raised questions about the property tax status of the club. He located records showing that one acre, which is seemingly part of the club’s 31.4-acre property, is exempt from taxation because it is owned by state Department of Parks and Recreation. The tax parcel numbering indicates that the one acre (Parcel No. 31.-1-21-1) is linked to the club’s 31.4 acre parcel (Parcel No. 31.-1-21). The “inventory” for the one acre lists some of the same components  — cabin, shed, and mobile homes — as the inventory for the club’s parcel.

That prompted a story in the Hudson Register-Star newspaper, which questioned the value assigned by the town to the club’s waterfront property and a state grant to upgrade the grade crossing that leads to the private club. A grade crossing is where a road crosses railroad tracks at the level of the tracks.

Though the Register-Star was unable to reach town Assessor Howard Gleason before its story ran, Mr. Gleason spoke with The Columbia Paper October 25.

The town tax rolls for many years have listed a one-acre parcel as being located at “Poolsburg Boat Club” in Stuyvesant. Poolsburg is the name of an area within Stuyvesant located on the Hudson at the northern end of Stuyvesant. The acre seemingly surfaced during a 1977 town-wide revaluation process, when it was given the identifier 31.-1-21-1, denoting a linkage to the Hook Boat Club land at Poolsburg. Mr. Gleason cannot explain why the two properties were linked — a mystery that is deepened further by the fact that the tax records do not reference a deed covering the missing one-acre parcel.

During the 2009 town-wide revaluation, an outside contractor was hired to inspect all town properties and update the inventory of structures on each parcel. After the revaluation, the tax records continued to show the boat club’s property linked to the state acre and to show much of the same building inventory on both parcels. Assessor Gleason’s calls to the contractor shed no light on the source of the inventory information.

Even more puzzling, the state cannot locate the missing acre. Calls by Assistant Clerk Cathy Knott to parks department regional offices from Poughkeepsie to Albany could find no one with records or knowledge about the missing acre.

Commodore Ron VanVenSchuter of the Hook Boat Club declined to wade into the controversy. According to Mr. Gleason, the boat club and town are resurveying the boat club’s parcel, which may be the only way to resolve the mystery of the Missing Poolsburg Acre.

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