Oswego Council Tables Proposed Zone Change

OSWEGO, NY – A proposed change of zone for certain property located in the Seventh Ward from an R2 Residential District to a B2 Central Business District was tabled at Monday’s Common Council meeting.

Paul and Tina Sawyer are seeking the change of zone for 10 Mark Fitzgibbons Drive. They plan to demolish some of the dilapidated structures on the property and renovate a barn into an events center, which would host wedding receptions and other such events.

However, City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli pointed out a zone change for the property wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

The attorney recommended tabling the resolution.

“The reason for doing that is, number one, R2 zone is a relatively low-impact zone in the city of Oswego. It’s primarily designed for residences. The things that are permitted are one-family dwellings, schools, religious institutions and agricultural uses,” he explained. “If you look at that neighborhood, it’s exactly what we have. We have the middle school, we have the church next to it, we have the ball fields behind that.”

In a B2 district, if you were to allow the change in zone, the following permitted uses would be allowed – retail stores and retail services, business offices, restaurants and bars, hotels, motels, community centers, indoor recreation and funeral homes – “in addition to the other uses that are there,” he told the councilors.

The Sawyers’ proposal is “worthy of consideration,” he said.

He suggested they seek a “use variance” instead of change of zone.

“What that would do would be allow the use they are proposing to be created and developed in that neighborhood, without opening up all of those additional uses to that neighborhood. It’s very specific,” he said.

There are certain criteria the Sawyers would have to meet; but, it isn’t that much more strenuous or difficult than now, he added.

They’d have to still go through the same process. They have to submit an application to the Planning Board and Zoning Board and have a public hearing, Caraccioli explained.

“So, they’re not losing any ground by you tabling this,” he said.

The specific plan they are proposing, to turn the barn into an events center, (the variance) could only be used for that purpose.

So, if the property changed hands, the new owners could only use it for that purpose but not any other use that’s not allowed under the variance, the attorney pointed out.

“That’s yet another safe guard for the neighborhood,” he said.

The Sawyers will have to resubmit their proposal at the committee level.