WALTON _ A decision on whether Rally New York will return to Walton was tabled for a week to allow town board members to gather more information.

A special town board meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, where a final decision is expected.

About 12 people attended the town board meeting Tuesday to protest the proposed road rally. Al Grust of Beers Brook Road presented a petition with 119 signatures opposing the rally.

Supervisor John Meredith said he had received a letter supporting Rally New York from Glenn Nealis, Delaware County economic/industrial development director, saying the event would promote tourism and benefit businesses.

Meredith said letters of support also came from Tusten Supervisor Bernard Johnson, who said Rally New York is one of the best economic boosts the town has had; and the Warwarsing Highway Department supervisor, who said the town suffered no road damage.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Meredith requested that comments on Rally New York be limited to people who did not speak at last week's meeting.

Pat Grust, wife of Al Grust, read a prepared statement in which she said she didn't believe the town board has the right to "subject residents to what amounts to house arrest" during the rally. She added that she could support a rally on unpopulated roads.

Jim Haggarty, a lawyer who lives on Beers Brook Road, asked town attorney Frank Wood to address liability issues for landowners.

Wood said the insurance coverage carried by Rally New York cannot cover landowners along the route. He added that if there was an accident, an attorney "can and would sue everyone in sight for 10 times the amount they expected to collect."

Councilwoman Cheryl Boyd said the board members come to meetings with open minds and must consider the rights and feelings of all town residents.

"Where Rally New York grows and prospers, thousands of people will follow," said Boyd, who said she has supported the event.

Meredith suggested giving Rally New York a one-year contract, determining its future after the event.

Public, business input sought

Councilman Luis Rodriguez-Betancourt said he thought the board needed to gather more information before deciding.

The board agreed to research whether the roads proposed for the rally are suitable for the specially equipped rally cars.

Meredith said he would contact the people who signed the petition to ensure they were given correct information before they signed.

Town board members said they wanted to hear from Walton residents via e-mail or phone calls.

Meredith can be reached at waltonsupervisor@stny.rr.com or at 865-4052.

Deputy Supervisor Bruce Dolph said he was in favor of the rally, but he wanted to know if others agree with him.

"If there are business people in favor of the rally, they need to let us know," Dolph said.

The proposed dates for Rally New York are April 18 on Tarmac and Oct. 24 on gravel.

Rally New York held a two-day road race event Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 that featured special racing stages on sections of Chase Brook Road and Carcass Brook Road in the towns of Tompkins and Walton. The ceremonial race finish was held on the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Walton.

For this year's events, the group is proposing adding roads to the racing stages, including: Dunk Hill Road, Dunk Hill Spur, Palmer Hill Road, Left Pines Brook Road, Cross Road, Walton Mountain Road, Finch Hollow, Mormon Hollow, Ferris Dean Road, Dry Brook Road, Beers Brook Road and Houck Mountain Road.

Rally New York promoters Rich Otis and Ivan Orisek are seeking special road-use permits under the state Vehicle and Traffic Law to give them the use of the roads for the day and to suspend traffic laws.

Meredith previously said Rally New York has requested a three-year contract and that there were no complaints after last year's events.

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