Letter to the Editor: Zoning’s an Issue in Mayoral Campaign

To the Editor:

How can you tell that it’s election time in Oswego? Zoning enforcement is being resurrected as an issue. It’s like mom’s apple pie and wrapping yourself in the flag; great to use during a political campaign. But, what happens when you get elected to office? One just has to look at the concurrent Gosek and Bateman administrations.

At a meeting of the Common Council, on November 13, 2000, a motion was made by Alderman William Mercier and seconded by Alderman William Dunsmoor to approve Resolution No. 485, as amended, for the adoption of the 2001 City of Oswego Annual Operating Budget. This budget eliminated funding for the position of Zoning Enforcement Officer. Five aldermen voted in favor of the resolution: William Mercier, William Dunsmoor, Susan Gentile Deary, Barbara Donahue and David Hall; the resolution was signed by Mayor John Gosek the following day.

As a prelude, to this unprecedented action, two of the elected officials involved had alleged zoning violations that were being investigated by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

In August, 2000 Alderman and Council President William Mercier had a contractor install new parking in front of one of his rental properties, on West Schuyler Street, without first obtaining a Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. In September, 2000 Mayor John Gosek was issued a standard Courtesy Citation for relocating a building, without first obtaining a building permit. In November, Gosek was sent a letter informing him that the situation had not been remedied.

Perhaps the mayor wasn’t concerned about compliance with the Zoning Ordinance, because with the elimination of funding, for the position of Zoning Enforcement Officer, from the 2001 budget it left sole discretion of enforcement with Zoning Administrator, Anthony A. Leotta.

Zoning is the keystone to maintaining the quality of life in a city; something virtually non-existent, in Oswego now


George M. Clark

City of Oswego Zoning Enforcement Officer, Retired