Richfield ZBA ‘Voids’ Project

Richfield ZBA

‘Voids’ Project

55 Lake Street Housing For

Homeless Not Hotel, It Finds

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ZBA Chairman Robert Hazleton

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – The village Zoning Board of Appeals last night voided both permits issued for a homeless lodging proposed at 55 Lake St., ending a months-long controversy that brought 250 people to a January hearing at the high school.

James Bent of Mayville, Fulton County, had obtained permits for a hotel, which then turned out to be a lodging for homeless people.  Barbara Wahl Shypski, gathered the support of other neighbors and hired attorney Douglas Zamelis as their advocate.

The three-man ZBA was unanimous, chairman Robert Hazleton said this morning, and based the decision on:

  • One, the site plan lacked insufficient parking spaces, including two double-spaces required for handicapped parking.
  • Two, the project is not a “hotel,” a word used in the village code but not defined. The board used the Merriam Webster Dictonary: “rooms where people can stay, particularly when they are travelling,” to conclude the project doesn’t fit permits issued for it.
  • Three, minutes obtained from the county board’s Human Services Committee showed the applicant was seeking a five-year contract for homeless lodging, while the permits were approved for a “hotel.”
  • Four, in answering questions from a crowd in the Village Hall parking lot, Bent said he planned a facility other than a hotel, according to 12 signed letters the ZBA received from people there.

“On the original permit, there’s a statement that misrepresentation voids the permit,” said Hazleton. “In our unanimous opinion, that voided the hotel.”

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