Canastota's Elderhaven a 'no go'

The Canastota Zoning Board of Appeals denied a request for Elderhaven, an adult day care center owned by Michael and Margaret Kolodzie to operate based on the term "babysitting." A special use permit also was denied based on that interpretation.

During a public hearing held Nov. 20, the Kolodzie's and their attorney Peter Finocchairo asked the board to consider other options. Finocchairo asked the ZBA to consider the business under the zoning laws "professional resident's office."

"She's a licensed professional," Finocchairo said. "She's a nurse."

"That's not what we were asked to do," said Stacey Stagnitti, ZBA chair. "We were asked for an interpretation of what babysitting is. We have to go by what we're given."

The Madison County Planning Department sent a recommendation report to the ZBA seeking interpretation of the term "babysitting" as a home occupation allowed through a special use permit in the Residential 2 (R-2) district, and how it applies to the proposed social adult day care facility.

Stagnitti said she looked the term "babysitting" up on Wikipedia and it defined it as the practice of temporarily caring for young children on behalf of the child's parents, a job done most commonly by teens.

The village planning board's report read that the word babysitting "obviously" refers to a baby or small child that can be carried out of the building to safety. Adults cannot be.

Based on that interpretation, the request was denied.

The Kolodzie's recently purchased the home at 309 South Peterboro St., which in the past occupied a home-based business. The Gustin family operated a music studio from the home, as did the owners previously.

Michael Kolodzie appeared frustrated. He said village administration had told him it was going to rewrite the law.

"They've been going to rewrite the law for three months," Kolodzie said. "This is the first action taken. In the meantime people are suffering and no one cares. It hurts us to have to turn them away."

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