December 2, 2021

Carriage house to stay in plan

Travis Dunn/staff reporter

Cortland Standard photo of the carriage house on Tompkins St .

The Cortland planning commission approved a site plan Monday for a project at 23 Tompkins St., after the developer behind the project dropped a controversial proposal to knock down a backyard carriage house to make room for parking.

Instead, developer Paul Armideo left the carriage house in the site plan, but reconfigured the parking spots so the plan still has the same number of spots —11—– as before.

Armideo had previously obtained contingent site plan approval from the planning commission, provided he also got approval from the city’s historic review board. Armideo instead changed the site plan so that historic review board approval was no longer required.

Armideo, who faces numerous code violations in city court, also seeks to reclassify the building as a rooming house — an allowed special use in the R-4 zone where the property is located — a change that has yet to be presented to the city Zoning Board of Appeals and which could allow for more tenants.

Jim Reeners, planning commission vice chairman, who did not attend Monday night’s videoconferenced meeting, had previously expressed frustration that Armideo appeared to be asking for permission to do something he was already doing. Reeners said the number of vehicles parked outside the building indicated to him that more than three people were already living in the house.

If considered a rooming house, the building could have no more than 10 tenants, provided that there is one parking space for each tenant, according to city code. But considered as a single-family residence, the house would be limited to three tenants under the city’s so-called three unrelated law.

Armideo has said tenants have occupied the building since last fall.