CONESUS – Town Supervisor Brenda Donohue says that the Town Board is interested in changing the Town Code in a way that would allow the Conesus Inn rebuild, which was stopped by a New York State Judge, to move forward.
Donahue said in a press release that came from the Livingston County Government Center’s email server that the public hearing tomorrow, June 6, June 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Conesus Town Hall at 6210 South Livonia Road, will be to hear public comment on modifying the definition of ‘legacy business’ and ‘discontinuance’ in the Town Code.
“The Town Board firmly believes the application of the one year discontinuance provision to legacy properties is contrary to the Comprehensive Plan and common sense and thwarts the overall purpose of the Legacy Business provision,” said Donohue. “In today’s litigious world, estate litigation, for example, could stall any business activity at a legacy property for well over one year. Such delays are anathema – and indeed directly controvert – the Comprehensive Plan’s stated policy of ‘increas[ing] the number of visitors stopping and staying in the Town of Conesus.”
The press release says that the Code’s Legacy Business provision, adopted in January 2016, ‘released five properties from the traditional restrictions on a nonconforming use’ and that ‘under that aforementioned provision, the business use on a legacy property is no longer considered nonconforming.’
“Prior to the adoption of the Legacy Business provision, the Code prohibited a business on a legacy property from reconstruction or structural alterations,” said the press release. “Put simply, the Legacy Business provision addressed serious legal infirmities of the Code which previously had serious legal and practical flaws vis-à-vis legacy properties, which were prevented from: (1) Upgrading to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, (2) upgrading to comply with contemporary fire suppression and safety requirements, and (3) upgrading to comply with modern environmental requirements.”
The Town says that the Legacy Business provision got rid of these restrictions and allowed businesses to move forward with much-needed upgrades that benefit the lake and the Town, ‘aligning the zoning code with the Comprehensive Plan in the best interests of the lake and community.’
Now, the Town Board says in this release that they think the ‘one year discontinuance provision is bad policy.’
“The Town, however, recently learned that the one year discontinuance was bad policy and fundamentally unfair when viewed against the backdrop of of drawn-out property transfer litigation (which generally moves at glacial speeds).
‘The Comprehensive Plan is the essence of zoning,” the release goes on to say. “As such, the implementation of zoning laws must be must be accomplished in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan. Our Comprehensive Plan encourages business growth in order to increase public access to Conesus Lake and to meet the current and future needs of our residents and visitors.”
Not everyone in the community agrees with the Board on this. Neighbors to the Conesus Inn rebuild said last week that the proposed changes to the Code are just the latest way that the town is trying to expedite a project that was built much larger than proposed and publicly approved.
“These proposed changes to the Town’s code are clearly designed solely to attempt to permit the illegal and unsightly Myers Inn at the site of the former Conesus Inn,” said Trish Bruckel, next-door neighbor to the project. “The Town has been presented with over 800 signatures gathered last summer in opposition to the project as it currently stands.”
In court proceedings initiated by neighbors Robert Siracusa, Sally Hirth, and Tom and Trish Bruckel, Justice John Ark ruled that Carl Meyers Enterprises Inc. was not working on the project approved by the Town of Conesus Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals. The project could go back to the appropriate boards for approval.
“The officials at the Town of Conesus will certainly not acknowledge that this proposed change is related to the Myers Inn,” said Bruckel. “This is a backdoor attempt by the Town to sanction the illegal building as constructed. Neither the Town, nor the Developer has made any attempt to date to conform the building to anything close to the original plan. The neighbors and the individuals who signed the petition have only asked from the beginning that the Developer build what was promised, what was approved by the Zoning and Planning Boards of the Town and the Livingston County Planning Board.”