Public Hearing Set for March 7
Lake Street Permit To Be Considered
By CASPAR EWIG
At 5 p.m. on March 7, the Cooperstown Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing to consider an application for a special use permitting short-term rentals to exist on the property at 40 Lake Street. The original application, heard on February 7, was tabled to determine whether the 400-foot-radius of notification to adjacent property owners had been completed as required.
The home in question, originally built in 1793 and once known as the Averill Cottage, is one of a number of large, single-family houses that front on Lake Street, east of The Otesaga Resort Hotel. Its present owners—Mark Curley, wife Mary, and Mark’s mother, Irene—purchased the property in October of last year.
The application to permit the four upstairs bedrooms to be used for short-term rentals of periods less than 30 days has drawn a rather impassioned opposition from adjacent property owners and other Cooperstownians who feel that permitting this historical structure to be used to house short-term renters would negatively impact the neighborhood.
“This would set a terrible precedent,” said Chip Northrup, who lives at 17 River Street.
In a letter to the Zoning Enforcement Officer, Northrup stated that “the application…as deeply flawed as it is…exposes the potential harm that can be done to a stable, single-family neighborhood by converting a historic single-family home into transient housing.”
Mark Curley countered this by saying any impression that he is attempting to alter the character of the neighborhood is unfounded.
“Our family bought this property with the intent that this will be our retirement home,” Curley said. “It fulfilled all of our requirements: a walkable town, lovely view, and a large house that will serve as a place for our grown children and their prospective families to come and visit.”
Curley made it clear that he intends to restore and refurbish the house as a family home consistent with the historical nature of the village.
“As part of the process of repairing and restoration of the house, we have filed and met with the historical review board. From that initial meeting, we received feedback and direction to ensure that the window replacement, particularly facing the street, remains historically accurate.”
In his letter to the zoning enforcement officer, Northrup pointed out that the special permit seeks to convert all four bedrooms on the second floor into short term rental units, and that converting four of the five bedrooms in the house hardly qualifies as “incidental.”
Such special use “effectively turn(s) the property into a rooming house,” Northrup argues, which he considers to be “incompatible with a neighborhood of historic, single-family homes.
“Perversely,” Northrup notes, “the owner’s proposed one-room occupancy would be ‘incidental’ to the property’s use as a rooming house.”
“A major environmental concern,” Celia Oxley of 10 Pioneer Street, added, “is the orientation of the proposed additional driveway and parking spaces. The stream that flows alongside their property is a live stream in which fish spawn. The driveway and parking area will be on an incline, so the stream will be infected by any oil, gas or anti-freeze runoff. It’s just unacceptable.”
“We intend to be good neighbors,” Curley affirmed, “and we intend to follow the village’s laws and ordinances. We also feel, however, that we should not be deprived of our rights under those ordinances to the fair use of our property. We fully understand that the permits provided are renewable yearly.”
In response to an inquiry as to construction of the driveway and the parking area, Curley said their application contemplated using a permeable pavement, but actual construction diagrams would await the outcome of the hearing.
Details of the application are on file with and can be viewed at the Zoning Board offices in the Cooperstown Village Hall at 22 Main Street.
No! Will Mr. Curley be in residence for short term rentals? I thought they were not allowed in Cooperstown and certainly not in this historic property. Is he opening a B&B. I understand he has many other rentals in the area.
What’s proposed, under New York State law, is the conversion of a single family dwelling into a rooming house, which is not allowed by the Village zoning ordinance. Come to the hearing Tuesday and hear the rest of the story about what’s going on with this misbegotten application.