City Zoning Board Denies Variance Request

The Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals has denied a variance request to turn a single family residence into a two-family residence on Wilton Avenue.

Danton Hilldale submitted a variance request for 115 Wilton Ave. for the two-family residence because the street is zoned for single family residences only. He said his mother more than 50 years ago purchased the house next door to 115 Wilton Ave. During the time his mother lived on the street, Hilldale said the house was always a two-family house. When he bought the house in October, he was surprised to discover the house wasn’t zoned a two-family residence. He added that there are already two other two-family houses on Wilton Avenue.

Hilldale said if he can rent the bottom floor of the house, he can use the revenue to renovate the structure. He said without the variance, he won’t have the funding available to renovate the house. He added that he has improved the conditions of other houses in the city. The house is currently considered a condemned structure.

During the public speaking portion, two Wilton Avenue residents were against the variance to allow for a two-family residence. Dave Anderson, Wilton Avenue resident, said when 115 Wilton Ave. was owner-occupied, a relative lived with the family of the longtime owner on the second floor. However, once the owners past away and it was no longer owner-occupied, he said there were problems with those who rented the house, which involved police visits. He also said another two-family residence on the street that isn’t owner-occupied has been problematic as well. He added that there has been no problems with the third two-family residence, however, it is owner-occupied.

Anderson said he doesn’t want the precedent of another house on the street being zoned for two families. He doesn’t know Hilldale’s track record with the other houses he rents in the city, but, even if he is a quality landlord, he asked what would happen if the property was sold.

Michael Guarin, Wilton Avenue resident, agreed with Anderson saying they have had problems with the two-family houses on the street that weren’t owner-occupied.

Jim Olson, zoning board member, made a motion to deny the variance request because of the comments he heard from the two residents of the street. The vote ended tied three to three, with board members Ditonto and Peter Larson also voting “Yes.” Patricia Calanni, Richard Hanson and Sally Martinez voted against the motion.

Because four yes votes are needed, the variance request was denied. Judith Sandson, zoning board member, was absent from the meeting.