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Zoning-Board Vacancies Delay WSB Self-Storage in Philadelphia, NY

Robert Watson Sr., owner of the newly built WSB Self-Storage in the village of Philadelphia, N.Y., is experiencing project delays due to vacancies on the local Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). In his frustration, he has given village officials an ultimatum and threatened a lawsuit.

February 24, 2015

2 Min Read
Zoning-Board Vacancies Delay WSB Self-Storage in Philadelphia, NY

Robert Watson Sr., owner of the newly built WSB Self-Storage in the village of Philadelphia, N.Y., is experiencing project delays due to vacancies on the local Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). In his frustration, he has given village officials an ultimatum and threatened a lawsuit.

Watson received planning-board approval for his 13-unit storage facility in October 2013 and additional approval for a facility extension last year. However, when he completed his building and applied for his occupancy permit in December, village officials flagged the property for additional review due to its proximity to Route 11, the source reported. The review has stalled due to deficiencies on the ZBA, which has had vacant seats since last March.

Watson’s self-storage project was the ZBA’s first order of business in about five years, according to Mayor Matthew J. Montroy. “Our zoning isn’t usually that strict,” he told the source. “Unfortunately, this one got caught.”

Meanwhile, Watson has claimed to be losing $1,000 per month in potential income. He lashed out at the village Board of Trustees at a Feb. 9 meeting regarding the ZBA vacancies and handling of his case. During the meeting, he gave officials an ultimatum: Grant him temporary approval by Feb. 13 or face a lawsuit.

“I’m just trying to get something set up to supplement my income,” Watson said.

The board granted the temporary permit and is scheduled to vote in March on changing zoning in the area to allow self-storage businesses. The action coincides with a zoning review in Jefferson County that’s expected to be complete in July, the source reported.

To help prevent similar problems in the future, the village is in talks with the town of Philadelphia, N.Y., to have its fully staffed ZBA handle both municipalities, Montroy said. The village is within the town’s borders.

The village has struggled to maintain a full ZBA because the position is volunteer-only and requires several hours of state-mandated training, Montroy said. Watson even volunteered to join the ZBA to help fill the shortage, according to the source.

Sources:

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