03/24/2023 12:04 pm
Two weeks ago, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, the Village of Cooperstown Zoning Board of Appeals considered and ultimately denied, unanimously, the application of Adam Curley for a short-term rental permit for four of the five bedrooms in Mark and Margaret Curley’s newly-acquired house at 40 Lake Street. The Curleys, who live in Massapequa Park, New York, on the south shore of Long Island, did not attend the meeting although Mark Curley’s brother, Adam, was there.
Forty Lake Street, better known locally as the Averell House, is one of the earliest houses in the village. It is in close-to-original condition; it is situated on the edge of Otsego Lake and also bordered by Willow Brook; it commands a healthy view of Mt. Wellington, at the north end of the lake; its neighboring houses on Lake Street are like-sized, early 19th-century private residences that hold strong family and village memories along with many important, and historical, attributes; and its other neighbors, more recently built houses on Pioneer Street, have conscientiously protected Willow Brook. The house was built in 1793 by James Averell, an early leader of the village, and it remained in the possession of the Averell family until the 1970s. A perfect house for a perfect village.
Why on earth, then, should a new owner from out of town, who has not yet established occupancy, think the Averell House would be a good transient rooming house, welcoming tourists for a few days of vacationing play? How quickly this would discourage the quiet, scenic, historic enjoyment that Lake Street offers all the residents of the village, create a vehicular logjam on the skinny street, and severely challenge the zoning enforcement officer, whose enforcement of the zoning code—established, along with the Historic District, in the last century to maintain the residential quality of life and culture in the village—is already extremely difficult, if not impossible.
And why on earth, as well, would the new owners of the Averell House even think the ZBA might agree that this is a good idea, and grant a permit to turn an historic house in the Residential Riparian Protection District of Cooperstown into a transient, multi-family rooming house? It didn’t. Well done. No one at that meeting, save the brother of the owner, was supportive of the project.
Perhaps, after this, the ZBA should consider a moratorium that will give them time to clarify the STR ordinance and, at the same time, educate its members, new and old, on the ordinance’s intent and application. The ZBA should seriously consider changing the law to firmly secure the kind of village that our residents have shown time and again they overwhelmingly desire.
03/24/2023 12:04 pm
Letter from Beth Glynn
My husband and I own 41 Lake Street, the Crooked House, and One Chestnut, which is located at the corner of Lake and Chestnut streets. The Crooked House is directly across the street from 40 Lake, and One Chestnut is separated from the Crooked House by only 43 Lake. We are extremely exposed to the goings on at 40 Lake.
We bought the Crooked House in 2016 and have since re-sided and re-insulated the house and garage, restored the windows to their original 1825 and 1900 condition, upgraded the driveway and the all the interior and exterior light fixtures. All these improvements were done with the expectation of living a quiet life among the single-family homes in the neighborhood.
03/24/2023 12:04 pm
Letter from Wayne Grandner
I am writing to express my sincere appreciation for your recent decision to reject the application for a four room short-term rental at 40 Lake Street. The application was clearly an attempt to establish a commercial enterprise in a residential part of Cooperstown, and your decision to reject it was the right one.
I have concerns that the applicant may attempt to circumvent your decision by applying for a single room STR. If granted, it would be very hard for the village to monitor and regulate, and could potentially lead to the same negative impacts on the residential character of our community.
03/24/2023 12:04 pm
Letter from Celia Oxley
There was much public opposition to the granting of a Special Use Permit for short-term rentals at 40 Lake Street. The Zoning Board of Appeals was correct to deny the permit at a hearing on March 7. From the board’s discussion after the hearing was closed to the public, it seemed that the issue of incidental use was paramount to their decision to deny. The village zoning laws require short-term rentals to be incidental to residential use. Since the owner intended to use four out of the five bedrooms in the house for transients and one for the owner, the application failed.
There were many reasons to deny this permit. Some of the reasons got little airtime because we needed to focus on what we felt was most likely to persuade the board to deny the permit. Was broad public sentiment and the history of the house unimportant? Certainly not. The law allows the village trustees and members of the reviewing boards to consider public sentiment when making a decision.
03/16/2023 8:04 am
By CASPAR EWIG
Last Tuesday, March 7, 2023—in front of an overflow, standing-room-only crowd—the Village of Cooperstown Zoning Board of Appeals considered and ultimately denied an application by Mark and Margaret Curley, the owners of 40 Lake Street, to permit four of the residence’s five bedrooms to be used for short-term rentals.
Prior to the hearing, the ZBA had received 24 letters and/or e-mails, all of which expressed the writers’ objection to the application. The same was true of comments made at the hearing: the residents who spoke all opposed the application. The owners, who had purchased the house also known as Averill Cottage four months earlier, were not present. Although a family member did attend and was given the opportunity to be heard, he declined.
03/09/2023 12:32 pm
Letter from Chip Northrup
There are short-term rental permits at 25 single-family houses in the Village of Cooperstown. Some were grandfathered when the village began issuing such permits in 2018. Some are exemplary applications of the ordinance—the owners are renting a garage apartment or other auxiliary dwelling unit that might otherwise go unused. Where the short-term rental is incidental to the family’s use and occupancy of the property. Where the building is not turned into a rooming house in disguise.
03/07/2023 6:40 pm
Lake Street Permit Denied
The Cooperstown Zoning Board of Appeals has voted this evening, following a robust public comment period, to deny the application for a four-bedroom, short-term rental at 40 Lake Street. Details to follow.
03/02/2023 8:00 am
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.