Camillus apartment owner requests exemption from rental registration law

Charles Rock, owner of the Union Free apartment complex in Camillus, spoke to the village board on Feb. 11 requesting exemption from the recently implemented rental registration law "which you designed to insure maintenance of rental housing through annual inspections," he said.

Rock had notified the village of his request before last month's meeting, and had given Mayor Michael Montero a tour of the apartments. Montero read from January's meeting minutes, where village attorney Steven Primo explained the village's only issue with Rock's request.

"There are probably other good landlords that have already registered and paid their registration fees and the legality of the local law must be maintained," Montero read.

"Our operation is about 30 years old, it's a small family-owned business," Rock said. "What we do is build small multi-family properties in Central New York, anywhere from 24 to 40 units, and we continue to own them and maintain them."

The Union Free apartments have 27 units, which are home to elderly residents ages 55 and up. Rock presented the village with the form he uses to inspect the building, which has on onsite maintenance manager.

"We get into every room in every apartment, within each room we look at a half-dozen if not more items - it's very thorough. It takes me three days every year to go through this building for inspections," Rock said. "I don't think any inspection the village could ever do would compare to what's on this form. Beyond that we have inspections by the state of New York."

The village did not take any action on Rock's request during Thursday night's meeting.

Cutlery building update

Montero said he heard from developer Tom Blair, who had been quiet on the progress of renovations to the Camillus Cutlery building.

"He said that they're still involved in the project and they're waiting to put financing together," Montero said. The mayor said he also met with another real estate agent who is "aggressively going after other investors."

Rehabilitation and reconstruction of the long-vacant Camillus Cutlery property was expected to begin in June 2010. The village was awarded a $2.3 million Restore NY Grant to fund the project in September 2009, which requires that the building be residential on top, with commercial space below.

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