City OKs limits on housing

GLOVERSVILLE – Despite the city Planning Board’s recommendation against passing a law limiting the number of units in new multiple-family dwellings in residential areas, the Common Council approved the law Tuesday in a 4-2 vote.

Council members Arthur Simonds, Stephen Mahoney, Jay Zarrelli and Wrandy Siarkowski voted in favor of the law while Robin Wentworth and Ellen Anadio voted against the residential zoning change. Councilman-At-Large Jim Robinson was not present.

Wentworth said she voted against the law because she attended the Planning Board meetings, listened to the recommendation and thought the council would be shortsighted in passing the law.

City officials proposed the law after failing to stop the Overlook Ridge affordable-housing complex from being built off Lee Avenue in a residential area in the city. Before proposing the law, council members enacted a moratorium on multiple-family dwellings. The moratorium expired in June.

The city Planning Board on Aug. 6 recommended the council not pass the law. The Planning Board said the law wouldn’t benefit the city.

Board Chairman William Ferguson said a “knee-jerk reaction” to the previous controversial project would hurt the city rather than help it.

However, Simonds said Tuesday he doesn’t feel the Blight Committee or the Common Council had a knee-jerk reaction to the previous project.

“The moratorium was established to give the council and residents time to evaluate the policy and the code change is only in an R-1 district,” Simonds said. “The city has many vacant lots, buildings and mill sites around our downtown and manufacturing districts that are better suited for large apartment complexes. This is the first time in 20 year the council has had language in the code that would limit R-1 districts, and if we had that, the Overlook Apartment Complex would not be where it is.”

The change stipulates new multi-family dwellings in R-1 residential districts can have no more than four dwelling units per building.

The nine-month moratorium expired in June. City officials said rather than extend the moratorium, they would consider the law to provide a more permanent solution.

Council members said the law reflects the character of the neighborhoods zoned under an R-1 classification in the city.

Mayor Dayton King previously said city residents have told him they don’t want more projects like the 48-unit Overlook Ridge apartments. The affordable housing complex recently was built near the Northern Terrace and Lee Avenue.

The new zoning law will affect about 1,000 acres in R-1 residential districts, officials said.

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