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.