CONESUS – A NYS Supreme Court Judge stopped the reconstruction project at the Conesus Inn because it was not being completed as approved by the Town of Conesus Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.
Robert Siracusa, Sally Hirth, and Tom and Trish Bruckel own the two properties next door to the construction project. They have spent five days over the last two weeks in court formally stopping the project and have organized a community petition, available online here, to oppose the expanded building project.
“The enjoyment of our properties has been and will be significantly diminished if the project goes forward as is,” said Tom Bruckel. “I haven’t slept in months. It’s been an incredible nightmare. I have no idea what made the developer think that he could go forward with this project as is.”
It all started in December 2014 and January 2015 when the Town Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals approved a remodeling project at the Conesus Inn, 5654 East Lake Road. Carl Meyer’s Enterprises Inc., owner of the Conesus Inn and Sweeteners Plus in Lakeville, proposed a slightly altered reconstruction of the original building, with the addition of a decorative roof.
Floor levels and roof height were to remain the same as the original building. An outdoor deck was to be added.
However, when construction began on June 1, it was clear to the Bruckles, Siracusa and Hirth that the project was not going as planned. The top floor was elevated by 10 feet. The outside deck was enclosed and extended forward to the lake as part of the building.
“With the old Inn, we looked out our windows and saw just the edge of one chimney and a little bit of one corner of the building, that was all,” said Siracusa. “Now we see nothing but steel. No sun, no stars, nothing. The windows of the new building will look directly into our skylights, into our bedroom. And what happens in the winter when snow and ice starts blowing off the roof a story above our house?”
In early June, the neighbors contacted officials at Carl Myers Enterprises Inc. to discuss a resolution to their concerns. After brief discussions, they retained legal counsel, Alan Knauf and Jon Tantillo of Knauf and Shaw.
Ultimately, an Article 78 proceeding was filed in the New York State Supreme Court. 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 must go back to the appropriate boards for approval.
The future of the project is not clear.
“If the town approves of this, what’s to stop them from approving the next giant building plan that comes along?” said Siracusa. “The old Inn and original renovation proposal was fine. We had no opposition to the changes they were going to make. But this does more than ruin the neighbors’ properties, it alters the character of our beautiful lake. The drastically higher structure and deck enclosed by glass do not fit with the character of our lake.”
The developers will be required to go back to the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals to get another Conditional Use Permit that requires the project ‘not to be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other properties in the immediate vicinity’ according to Town of Conesus Code. They will also be required to get a full site plan review by the Town Planning Board.
The Town of Conesus has been mum on the issue so far.
“I have absolutely no comment on that [the project] at all,” said Conesus Town Supervisor Brenda Donahue.
The petition will be taken door to door by community members. Launched Thursday night online, it has garnered 24 supporters towards an initial goal of 100.