Sep 10, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
It seemed like a good idea at the time: the Jordan Volunteer Fire Company needed recruits, and the historic home at 3 Clinton Rd. needed restoration. Why not purchase the house and renovate the three existing apartments to offer subsidized housing for department volunteers?
Fire Chief Doug Milton said the company purchased the house and began repairing the building – the roof was replaced immediately, siding removed and the lawn was cleaned up.
But just last week, more than a year later, the village board moved to ammend a local law that had prohibited the company from proceeding.
Matt McCabe, chair of the Jordan village planning board, said the problem was simple: the village has eliminated all types of zoning that allowed two- or multi-family dwellings. Although the Clinton Street house had included three separate apartments, and still had three utility meters and bathroom and kitchen facilities for each unit, the law prevented those units from being rented out separately.
Local law 2 of 2003 was amended last week by the board to allow special permits to be issued for individual projects, again allowing multi-family dwellings within the village.
Mayor Richard Platten said the law was initially enacted so that anyone interested in converting a building into to a multi-family house would have to apply to the zoning board of appeals, rather than seek the approval of the codes officer.
Through the ZBA, there would be at least five community members examining each request, as opposed to one individual, Platten said.
But the exact wording of the law did not allow for special permits, excluding all but single-family zoning without exception. Now, with the ammendment, Jordan fire is one step closer to finishing their project, but there is a lenthy process still ahead.
While Milton is encouraged to get back to work on the project, now the permit application must be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals, then the Planning Board, then back to the ZBA for further review. The fire company hopes to have the house renovated and rent-ready by the summer of 2009.
Why go through all this trouble?
Milton said being able to offer Advanced Life Support Personnel subsidized housing within the village would help the fire company cut costs and provide superior service to village residents.
Currently, the fire company includes two ALSP, but Milton hopes to be able to maintain up to five ALSP members with the renting of the three apartments.
“I think we have to be creative. Fires burn the same whether you’ve got fifteen people to protect or fifteen thousand,” Milton said. He pointed out that none of the money going into this project is taxpayer dollars – the fire company is a nonprofit organization, not a village entity.
Bringing ALSP into Jordan as members of community would help insure that there are emergency responders in close proximity to village and community residents at all hours – even in the middle of the day, Milton said.
The Jordan Fire Company and Ambulance services are first responders in Jordan, Elbridge, Memphis and southern Cato, and routinely serve areas in the Weedsport fire district and Mottville.