Torrey Zoning Board of Appeals chair asked to step down

Loujane Johns

Steve Eskilldsen has been Chairman of the Town of Torrey Zoning Board for five years and a member of the board since 1982. 

On April 20 he received a letter from Supervisor Pat Flynn, dated April 15, asking for his resignation.

Eskildsen did not attend the regular monthly meeting on Monday night, May 5. 

When contacted following the meeting, Eskildsen said he could not discuss the matter on advice given to him by his lawyer.  He confirmed the dates of the correspondence. 

He said until he gets advice from his legal counsel he will not attend the ZBA meetings or tender his resignation.

The only business heard at the meeting was the reading of the letter sent to Eskildsen and a reply he sent back to the Town of Torrey.   Vice-Chairman Howard Leach conducted the meeting.

Discussion about asking for his resignation has been brought up before by town officials and members of the public attending town meetings and public hearings.

Accusations of conflict of interest have come up because Eskildsen is a joint-owner of Eskildsen Farms on Downey Road, which is the site of the proposed Maxim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Development.  

The project has drawn public controversy in the town since 2006. 

Flynn stated in his letter that although Eskildsen has recused himself from all board matters concerning Maxim, he puts the town at risk. 

Flynn did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday morning seeking additional information.

Minutes read at the Monday night meeting stated that Pat Gawrysiak of Maxim was in attendance at the April 7 meeting. 

He asked that since Eskildsen was asked to step down due to conflict, he would like the board to ask Jack Hessney to step down also.  Hessney was recently appointed to the Torrey Planning Board and has been a long-standing opponent of the project. Hessney’s property is adjacent to the proposed Maxim site.

The project has drawn public controversy in the town since 2006. 

Flynn stated in his letter that although Eskildsen has recused himself from all board matters concerning Maxim, he puts the town at risk. 

Flynn did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday morning seeking additional information.

Minutes read at the Monday night meeting stated that Pat Gawrysiak of Maxim was in attendance at the April 7 meeting. 

He asked that since Eskildsen was asked to step down due to conflict, he would like the board to ask Jack Hessney to step down also.  Hessney was recently appointed to the Torrey Planning Board and has been a long-standing opponent of the project. Hessney’s property is adjacent to the proposed Maxim site.