The Lakewood Village Board has shown itself to be a well-functioning, thoughtful panel of individuals who take their jobs seriously.
At Monday's board meeting, the four board members split evenly on an issue of a special-use permit for a used car lot on Fairmount Avenue, which required a rare tie-breaking vote by Mayor David Wordelmann.
But first at the same meeting, the board unanimously and logically approved a zoning variance for a multi-use building being proposed for Chautauqua Avenue between First and Second streets. The variance will allow the building, which will include commercial as well as residential space, to be built 4 feet taller than the zoning allows and with a backyard setback of 4 feet instead of 10 to have room for a two-car parking garage.
Both variances requested by Betsy Shults are well within reason for that area of Chautauqua Avenue, and the board was right to note that the Shults family has been very good neighbors in another innovative project undertaken in the village.
The issue about the used car lot on the parcel at the corner of Fairdale and Fairmount where Carnhan's Clothing Company once was not as obvious. The well-respected Larry Spacciapolli of Larry Spacc auto dealers asked for a zoning variance to establish a used car dealership there, with about 50 cars on the lot and the building renovated into office space.
Some board members had concerns in general about what type of commercial development is best in that area and in particular what a used car lot might entail - signs, sale promotions, and so on. Other board members noted it would be good to have a business operating in what has been a vacant commercial lot.
Mayor Wordelmann wisely decided that, given the 2-2 tie on the issue, the board should take the time for further discussions before jumping into anything.
He voted against a motion to deny the special use permit and is scheduling a work session before the Nov. 13 regular board meeting for the village trustees to talk about what regulations they might be comfortable with if the board were to approve Spacciapolli's request in the future.
Both issues were handled thoughtfully and with the best interests of the village as a whole in mind.