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With a lease already signed on the controversial $18 million ice-skating complex in Amherst, Town Council Member William L. Kindel Tuesday took the first steps toward appealing a court ruling knocking the issue off the Nov. 4 ballot.

An appeal was filed with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, clearing the way for a hearing in Rochester next week.

Kindel, a Republican running for supervisor, vowed to take the case "as far as we can go because we want to make sure the Amherst voters have the opportunity to vote on this issue."

Last Friday, a day after State Supreme Court Justice David M. Mahoney quashed a Nov. 4 referendum on the issue, Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick and James J. Allen, executive director of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency, signed a 25-year lease on the deal.

Edgewater Ventures plans to to build a four-rink complex at the town's Audubon Recreational site, which the town deeded to the IDA for the project.

Ice rentals, or user fees, would cover more than 80 percent of the project cost of the IDA revenue bonds the town will use to finance the venture.

Kindel said he wasn't invited to the document signing ceremonies in Town Hall Friday, comparing that effort to Amherst officials trying to run "a 100-yard dash" before the case is completely resolved in the courts.

Neither Ms. Grelick nor other Amherst officials could be reached for comment on Kindel's continuing court fight.

Attorneys for the Amherst Taxpayers Group, which promoted the Nov. 4 referendum and like Kindel opposes public financing of the venture, are expected to join in the appeal of the Mahoney ruling.

Mahoney quashed the referendum noting the taxpayers group had violated state election law by leaving off its petition sheets the date of the voting.

Calling that a "fatal" mistake, Mahoney cited appellate rulings mandating such information on petitions seeking public votes.

The judge also noted persons signing petitions last month calling for the public vote may not have been aware the Nov. 4 voting would automatically kill the project because of an Oct. 20 statewide IDA bonding deadline.

Kindel said he was upset by comments by Mahoney last week that the petition backers had to have known that on Aug. 20 Gov. Pataki had signed into law an amendment to the State Industrial Development Law killing all such recreational bond funding ventures effective as of Oct. 20.

Kindel, a veteran politician, said he was unaware of the Pataki action until he read about it in The Buffalo News.

He said he is sure "the people in the streets knew nothing about it at all" before the taxpayer group's petitions calling for a public vote were filed Aug. 29.

The taxpayer group's referendum venture was challenged in court last week by Amherst soccer mom Elizabeth C. Kurtz and Amherst dentist David M. Vieth, both of whom have daughters who are competitive skaters.

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