News Release from
Town Supervisor Brenda Donohue
Town of Conesus, Livingston
County, New York
June 5, 2017
Supervisor Brenda Donohue
South Livonia Road
New York 14435
Local Law #2 of
2017 to Further Harmonize Zoning Code with
Intent of the Town of Conesus Comprehensive Plan
NY- On June 6, 2017, the Conesus Town Board (the “Board”) will be holding a
public hearing relative to proposed amendments to the Town of Conesus Zoning
Code (the “Code”). Specifically, the
Board seeks public comment regarding modifying the definition of “Legacy
Business” and “Discontinuance” in the Code.
Town of Conesus Comprehensive Plan adopts the policy of encouraging commercial
and industrial development within the Town which meets the needs of residents
and visitors. Further, the Comprehensive
Plan encourages working with local business owners to increase volume by
promoting key tourism destinations within the Town “to increase the number of
visitors stopping and staying in the Town of Conesus.”
Code’s Legacy Business provision, adopted in January 2016, released five
properties from the traditional restrictions on a nonconforming use. Under that aforementioned provision, the
business use on a legacy property is no longer considered nonconforming. Prior to the adoption of the Legacy Business
provision, the Code prohibited a business on a legacy property from reconstruction
or structural alterations. Put simply,
the Legacy Business provision addressed serious legal infirmities of the Code
which previously had serious legal and practical flaws vis-à-vis legacy properties,
which were prevented from: (1) upgrading to comply with the Americans with
Disabilities Act, (2) upgrading to comply with contemporary fire suppression
and safety requirements, and (3) upgrading to comply with modern environmental requirements.
before adoption of the Legacy Business provision, a legacy business was prohibited
from making any improvements. Thus, the
Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee determined that freezing legacy
properties in the 1960s was counterproductive, detrimental to both the
businesses and the community, and ultimately, was bad policy.
a result, the Legacy Business provision was adopted with an eye towards Conesus
Lake and positive environmental impacts.
For example, a legacy property can now make upgrades such as better
energy efficiencies, sanitary facilities, and rain water runoff control. Needless to say, the life and well-being of
Conesus Lake weighed heavily in the deliberations which led the Town to declare
that a Legacy Business was a permitted use.
sum, the adoption of the Legacy Business law aligned the zoning code with the
Comprehensive Plan—and it was in the best interest of the Lake and the
Town, however, recently learned the one year discontinuance provision was bad
policy and fundamentally unfair when viewed against the backdrop of drawn out
property transfer litigation (which generally moves at glacial speeds).
Comprehensive Plan is the essence of zoning.
As such, the implementation of zoning laws must be accomplished in
accordance with the Comprehensive Plan.
Our Comprehensive Plan encourages business growth in order to increase
public access to Conesus Lake and to meet the current and future needs of our
residents and visitors.
Town Board firmly believes the application of the one year discontinuance
provision to legacy properties is contrary to the Comprehensive Plan and common
sense and thwarts the overall purpose of the Legacy Business provision. In today’s litigious world, estate
litigation, for example, could stall any business activity at a legacy property
for well over one year,” said Town Supervisor Brenda Donohue. Such delays are anathema – and indeed
directly controvert – the Comprehensive Plan’s stated policy of “increas[ing]
the number of visitors stopping and staying in the Town of Conesus.”