Office of the Town Attorney
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about the Office of the Town Attorney. If the information you need is not addressed here, please contact us during our business hours.
Our office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. If you wish to call us, our phone number is (518) 783-2704, or if you wish to stop in person, our office is located across from Siena College in Memorial Town Hall, Newtonville, on the Second Floor. Since our staff each specializes in certain areas, when calling or visiting in person, it is best to describe the nature of your problem so that your inquiry may be properly directed.
Unfortunately, the role of the Town Attorney's Office does not include providing legal advice to Town residents. Our role is similar to that of a corporate lawyer and therefore is limited to providing counsel to the Town Supervisor, Town Board members, the 25 Town departments and agencies, employees, and volunteers in their official capacities.
- When is Traffic Court? Except for major holidays, Traffic Court is usually held every Monday evening at 7 PM at the Public Safety Building, 312 Wolf Road. Trials are usually held on Tuesday mornings at the same location at 8:30 AM.
- If I plead guilty and send in my ticket, do I have to go to Court? No, the Justice Court will send you a letter indicating whether the Judge has accepted your plea, and, if so, indicate the amount of the fine.
- Does the Town Attorney's Office prosecute DWI's, other misdemeanors or felonies? No, the prosecutor for these offenses is the Albany County District Attorney. Their phone number is (518) 487-5460.
- Can I discuss my ticket with someone? Yes, the Town Attorney's Office always has a prosecutor available on court night and trial dates. You may discuss your ticket with him or her.
All damage claims must be submitted to this office in writing. We will investigate whether the Town owns the road on which the pothole was located and whether we had prior notice of the pothole. If we determine that the Town is responsible, we will generally request three repair estimates be submitted.
- What is a Paper Street? The Town of Colonie has many old subdivisions which were created and never built, or only partially constructed. These subdivisions have streets which are depicted on the paper subdivision maps, but were never built. Hence, the term paper street.
- Can I build a house or structure on a paper street? No, unless the paper street is abandoned and the easement on it extinguished. The process to do that is usually not practicable in the great majority of cases.
- Who owns the paper streets in the Town? Experience has shown us that the land upon the paper street is located is usually in the name of the original developer. The Town Clerk's Office has some records in this regard, but a competent title company is usually required to precisely determine ownership.
- Is a paper street considered to be a "street" for zoning purposes? Yes, even though a paper street does not exist on the ground, it could conceivably be developed at any time. Thus, if your lot has a paper street abutting it, the area between your house and the paper street will be considered as a "front yard" for zoning purposes.
Although this is a common question, we, unfortunately, cannot provide legal advice to Town residents. Rather, we refer residents to the Albany County Bar Association or to the Town Library, which have various legal resources which can be researched to answer a particular issue, such as this one.