Electrical Company on Residential Site Continues to be Scrutinized
By Edie Johnson
Chester residents Tom and Cindy returned to the Chester Town Board to once again try to get some clarity on why their extensive farmland on Lehigh Avenue now has a business next door on a lot which is zoned residential and where a variance was already denied for ‘improvements’ that would allow a parking lot and storage facility for the new property owner who wants to run an electrical business from the site. Having been told that the application to the planning board was allowed because the house had in fact been used for business by its previous owners, the Beckers responded that while the previous owner may have run landscaping and a dog business from their house, it was never legal to do so, and therefore the business use cannot be “grandfathered”.
A mess of debris and overflowing dumpsters has been cleaned up, but Tom says that has nothing to do with the illegal property use. He presented the Town Board with a file of documents showing that in fact the property has been zoned solely as residential for a long time. He added that with the planning board having to date not scheduled any public information session or public hearings on the requested ‘improvements’ that are scheduled to be reviewed by them this month, that he will not really have any opportunity to clarify the situation to the entire planning board other than what he submits in writing. The planning board cannot approve a change of use.
Town Board member Bob Valentine told the Becker family that he was confident that if they submitted their documentation the planning board attorney would have the information he needs to to advise a decision or whether the matter needs to be referred back to the Zoning Board of Appeals for interpretation.