Saturday, September 10, 2011

letter from the lawyer

Albany, New York 12207

September 7, 2011

Zoning Board of Appeals
Attn: William Vick, Chairperson
C/o Shirley Narzynski, Secretary to the Board
Stuyvesant Town Hall
5 Sunset Drive
Stuyvesant, New York 12173 First Class and E-Mail

Re: Will Pflaum (Glencadia Dog Camp)
Zoning Board Meeting Date: September 27, 2011 @ 7:00 P.M.

Dear Chairperson Vick and Zoning Board Members:

I write this letter to address several issues raised at the August 23, 2011 meeting, as ask that this submission be made a part of the record of this proceeding.

At the August 23, 2011 Meeting, Chairperson Vick questioned whether the barn could be used as a Home Occupation 2, due to the fact that the barn exists on a separate lot pursuant to a two-lot subdivision previously approved by the Board. As more fully appears in my letter of even date to the Planning Board, copy submitted herewith, my clients have filed a deed in the Columbia County Clerk’s Office to merge the two Lots that they own into a single Tax Map Lot. Thus, they have abandoned the prior two-Lot subdivision. Accordingly, the Barn and the House now exist on the same Lot as required by the Zoning Ordinance (see Ordinance page 27, Home-Occupation-Class 2, paragraph 1).

As you know, the Chairman raised an issue of whether allowing the dogs to go into the fenced area around the barn was an activity “within the…on-lot accessory structure” as required by the Ordinance (see Ordinance page 27, Home-Occupation-Class 2, paragraph 1). By Ordinance definition, “structures” include “fences over four (4) feet in height” (see Ordinance, page 12). Here, it is manifest that the fence creating the yard adjoining the barn exceeds four (4’) feet in height and constitutes part of the on-lot accessory structure that is used to house the dogs, all in accord with the requirements of a Home Occupation-Class 2.

I note that there are other Home Occupation 2 uses within the Town that use an accessory building, and the area around the building as part of the Home Occupation 2 business operation. By way of example, kindly consider the operation of the auto repair business of Dennis and Shirley Narzynski, 3741 Route 21, Schodack Landing, New York as a Home Occupation–Class 2. For your reference, I have enclosed an aerial photo of the repair business, depicting the on site garage and parking areas accessory to the garage, together with the Planning Board Minutes dated 10/17/02, in which the Board granted approval of the auto repair shop as a “Home Occupation-Class 2”. I have also attached the Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes dated 1/10/04, 4/27/04, 6/22/04, and 3/27/07, in which the Zoning Board ratified the use of the auto repair shop as a Home Occupation-Class 2, and granted a sign variance for the shop. Clearly, such precedent establishes that use of the immediate area around the accessory structure falls within the parameters of a Home Occupation- Class 2.

I note that Chairperson Vick also questioned whether the Glencadia Dog camp constituted a commercial business, which should limited to a commercial zone, and not allowed in the subject Zone as a Home Occupation 2. It is manifest that the Dog Camp is a far softer use of the premises than an auto repair shop. It would certainly be arbitrary and capricious to find that an auto repair shop exists as a Home Occupation-Class 2, and that a dog kennel is a commercial business that is not allowed as a Home Occupation-Class 2. Submitted please find an additional copy of the January 27, 2009 letter from the ZEO, stating, “The fact that the business [i.e. the kennel] is housed in your barn makes it become classified as a HOME OCCUPATION-CLASS 2”. I note that the Planning Board has already determined that the Dog Camp constitutes a Home Occupation – Class 2, and the Zoning Board does not have appellate jurisdiction over the Planning Board’s determination. Last, the premises is insured as a farm and I have enclosed the Insurance receipt for the Board’s information. I remain,

Very Truly Yours

Peter A. Lynch

Cc Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, LLP
Attn: David R. Everett, Esq. via e-mail

Will Pflaum via e-mail

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