DENISE A. RAYMO
MALONE — A request for a zoning variance to allow a Microtel Inn and Suites to be built on Finney Boulevard has been delayed on a technicality.
Village of Malone zoning laws require owners of all properties adjacent to a proposed development site be notified by mail of a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing so they can attend.
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Chairman Darrel Deragon said he doesn’t know why, but the village never sent letters to the impacted owners in and around the proposed Microtel site, situated at 19 Finney Boulevard behind Rite Aid Pharmacy.
The snafu means a decision will have to wait for a few weeks while the letter notifications are made, the required public notices are published and another hearing date is chosen, he said.
About 16 people attended last Thursday’s hearing to listen to the developer and landowner, Chris LaBarge of CAL Equities LLC, explain his plan to build a three-story, 63-room limited-service hotel.
It would be placed on a roughly 2-acre parcel he purchased in 2005 for $80,000, which he says is assessed at $20,000 and carries about $600 in annual taxes.
The building would face in such a way that only a service doorway and two hallway windows would look out onto nearby residential properties.
LaBarge said there are plenty of surrounding businesses already in operation in that part of the village and that his land was originally zoned for commercial use.
He says his deed has a right-of-way on the Rite Aid site to access his property along its western edge along the rear of residential properties on St. Marks Avenue.
There, he said, he would build a 6-foot fence to lower the impact on neighbors from guest traffic and from light pollution from both the hotel’s lamp posts and vehicle headlights as drivers move in and out of his parking lot.
PROS AND CONS
Those issues were most on the mind of Jean Yeddo, who has lived at 21 St. Mark Ave. with her husband, Don, for 35 years.
“Every time I look out my kitchen window, instead of seeing land, I will see the back of a tall, high building; not pretty to look at every day,” she said.
“I thought zoning laws were here to protect the village, but (developers) can do anything they please regardless.
“If you want to do something for Malone, what about the old Flanagan Hotel?” Mrs. Yeddo asked, referring the abandoned, arson-damaged building at the corner of Elm and Main streets.
Village Trustee Michael Maneely said he favors LaBarge’s plan because it would bring jobs and add to the tax base.
“Let this guy put a building up,” he said. “Nobody’s building, and nobody’s rushing to come to Malone.”
Steve Fleury, who lives at 15 St. Mark Ave., said he’s afraid debris bulldozed underground years ago following a large-scale fire would resurface during construction, raising possible environmental issues.
He is also concerned a tree line separating his land from the now-vacant lot would have to come down to allow for traffic flow, that noise from multiple air-conditioning units and idling tractor-trailers would be disturbing and that using a jackhammer on existing shale bedrock would have negative ramifications to nearby properties like his.
Fleury also said opposition might be less if the hotel were two stories high instead of three, but LaBarge said a smaller site “was not feasible.”
Email Denise A. Raymo:firstname.lastname@example.org