Town Of Conesus

Press Release: Legacy Business Legislation

June 06, 2017

News Release from

Town Supervisor Brenda Donohue

Town of Conesus, Livingston County, New York


June 5, 2017



Town Supervisor Brenda Donohue

Conesus Town Hall

6210 South Livonia Road

P.O. Box 188

Conesus, New York 14435

(585) 346-3130



Local Law #2 of 2017 to Further Harmonize Zoning Code with

Spirit and Intent of the Town of Conesus Comprehensive Plan


Conesus, 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.


The 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.”


The 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.


Indeed, 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.


As 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.


In 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 community


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).


The 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.


“The 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.”