Nov 04, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The controversial proposal to rezone a Farnham Street house in order to create two food-related businesses at the location has died — neighborhood opposition has caused 8 Farnham St. owner Susan Light to withdraw her application from the village planning board and take her business idea to a different location.
“I am disappointed that it did not work out at this time,” Light said. “Jennifer Wong and I will continue to explore opportunities for a kitchen space that meets the needs of our businesses.”
Light told the village board in her Oct. 24 letter withdrawing her zone change application that she has a “Plan B” for the property, which will be to refurbish it as a single-family rental, she told the Cazenovia Republican.
Light, who purchased the colonial-style, two-bedroom house at the end of Farnham Street near Albany Street in late spring, requested the zone change from the village board at its regular July 1 meeting. She said the idea was to refurbish the dilapidated structure and put a commercial-grade kitchen on the first floor and use the two second-floor rooms as office space. The first floor would support two small local food-related businesses: Light’s specialty desserts and wedding cake business and a heat-and-serve dinner meals business by town resident Jennifer Wong. Both were to be appointment-only businesses, taking a smaller, “artisanal” approach to the endeavor rather than a large-scale, commercial approach.
In a letter to the village board dated June 17, and again during the July 1 board meeting, Light said her repurposing of the house at 8 Farnham St. would offer several benefits to the village, such as contributing to the rejuvenation of the Farnham and Albany streets area, the business — the exterior of the building would retain its 1848 residential appearance — would serve as a buffer between the commercial section along Albany Street and the residential section that runs north on Farnham Street and the two new businesses would contribute to the local economy.
While village trustees signaled support for the idea, Farnham Street neighbors vehemently opposed the plan and turned out in large numbers at an Aug. 4 village board public hearing and an Aug. 12 village planning board hearing to stop it. Neighbors’ concerns centered around potential drop in property values; loss of quality of life from potential noise, odors, lighting and increased traffic; safety concerns for neighborhood children due to increased street traffic; and setting a negative precedent in allowing a commercial business on a residential street.
By a Sept. 3 public hearing, neighbors had submitted a petition to the village in opposition to the zone change and business plan, and had become more heated, even personal, in their arguments, at times suggesting shady backroom deals, purposeful omission of facts, ignorant municipal policies and statements of outright fabrications by Light all in the name of selfish profit motives.
After that meeting, Light twice postponed appearances before the planning board in September and October, before finally withdrawing her request from the village in her Oct. 24 letter.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.