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Regular Meeting – October 23, 2019

 Town of Homer Zoning Board of Appeals

Minutes for Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 6:00pm

Board Members  (absent *)                                       Others Present

Gary Lawrence, Chairman                              Lindsay Andersen, Recording Secretary

Jon Miller                                                        John Daniels, CEO

Gary Sweeney                                                 Pat Snyder, Attorney

Joseph Gilbert

Neil McMahon

Daniel Gustafson

Gerald Neuman

Public Attendance:  Michael Park

Public Hearing

Chairman Lawrence opened the public hearing for an application on behalf of Jack Daugherty for a use variance to construct a single residential building on stilts in the floodplain in an area zoned as light industrial on the west side of Route 11.

Carl Snyder who was present to represent Jack Daugherty stated they have had the properties listed for sale as recreational use and have not been able to sell. The potential buyer would like to build a permanent seasonal residence at the location. The potential buyer is completely aware of the flood plain and the fact that the structure would have to be built above the flood plain.

Carl presented the survey maps to the board and stated the well and septic locations were noted on the maps and comply with the health department setback requirements.

Mike Park stated that he was involved in the initial zoning which created this area as light industrial which is the only light industrial district in the Town of Homer. He feels that one residential house in this area will create a precedent. He stated there is a lot of noise and activity at his business in the area (Homer Iron Works).

Chairman Lawrence stated he understands Mike Parks’ concerns but feels that there are restrictions that can be placed on the variance if it is granted which would discourage a precedent from being set. The variance would only be for one building as shown on the survey map.

Chairman Lawrence read the letter received from the Cortland County Planning Department which included their recommendations and approval of the variance contingent the residence is constructed 9 feet above the flood plain. The letter and recommendations have been attached to these minutes. The applicant agreed to comply with the recommendations.

The applicant stated that there is evidence of a hardship because the property is zoned light industrial and the mining permit is closed which leaves no other opportunities for industrial use of the property.

Chairman Lawrence reviewed the short environmental assessment form with the board members. The following impacts were assigned to each question:

  1. Moderate to large impact
  2. No impact or small impact
  3. Small impact
  4. Not applicable to this area
  5. No impact

All further questions were answered no.

With no further questions or comments from the public the public hearing was closed.

Regular Meeting

Chairman Lawrence opened the regular meeting.

Chairman Lawrence opened discussion for the application on behalf of Jack Daugherty for a use variance to construct a single residential building on stilts in the floodplain in an area zoned as light industrial on the west side of Route 11.

Part 3 of the short environmental assessment form was completed and explained. It was determined this project would not have a significant adverse effect on the environment. The board voted unanimously for a negative declaration.

Member Miller stated he also feels that granting this variance in a light industrial area would set a precedent. Chairman Lawrence stated that each use variance must show its own hardship which he feels would eliminate a precedent from being set in this case.

Attorney Snyder read the criteria in the law for granting a use variance. Mike Park stated in his opinion the hardship was self-created when Mr. Dougherty purchased the property.

Chairman Lawrence made the motion to grant the use variance contingent the is only one residential home constructed on the entire 24.34 acres, the natural tree line buffer be maintained to buffer any noise between the property and Route 11. Member Gustafson seconded the motion. With members in favor saying “aye”, Member Miller and Member Gilbert opposed and none abstained. The motion was carried 5,2,0.

Member Neuman made the motion to approve the September 10, 2019 meeting minutes. Member Gilbert seconded the motion. With all member in favor saying “aye”, none opposed and none abstained. The motion was carried unanimous 7,0,0.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:20pm.

Lindsay M. Andersen, Recording Secretary