JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown City Council has given its approval to Jamestown Community College selling the historic Sheldon House to the Lynn Development Group.
On Monday night the council voted 8-0 in favor of JCC selling the Lakeview Ave. property for $250,000. Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb, who works for JCC but also lives on Lakeview Ave, was absent from the meeting, although he had also gone on record as being in favor of the sale.
Earlier in the meeting Lakeview Ave. resident Paul Leone spoke to the council for the third consecutive week, again voicing his opposition to the sale because Lynn Development plans to use the property for its central offices, which required a zoning variance. Leone and others on the street would prefer to see the house used for residential use only, rather than for business use.
Leone argued that the zoning variance approved earlier this month by the city zoning board shouldn’t have been granted because there had been other offers to purchase the home, including one from an individual who offered more than what Lynn Development had offered to pay.
“He had increased his bid for the Sheldon House to more than what the Lynn Development had offered,” Leone said. “He told me he had place his bid with Turner Broker in April. Now why it was not executed until after the [May 4] zoning board hearing is up to anyone’s imagination. But that totally destroys the claim that there is a hardship on that property, in that there is nobody willing to buy the property for a single family residence.”
JCC President Cory Duckworth also addressed the council, and responded to Leone’s comments, explaining that the offer that came in higher than the Lynn Group’s offer was actually an 11th hour offer that came in after the process of working out a sale with the Lynn Group were well under way.
“Indeed the offer that was referred to by Mr. Leone came into our office today (Monday). The value is $100 more than what Lynn Development had offered,” Duckworth said. “In any case, we have not been considering those offers but they’re being held in abeyance. If for any reason we’re not successful in moving forward to selling to Lynn, we would at that point begin looking at the offers that have been essentially put on hold.”
In addition to Leone and Duckworth, Lakeview Ave. resident and area attorney Charles Hall also addressed the council, explaining that while there are some in the neighborhood who oppose the sale, the majority of the residents who live in the immediate vicinity of the Sheldon House, including himself, are in favor of seeing it sold to the Lynn Group.
As a hosting municipality to the college, the city is required to sign off on any property transactions involving JCC. Both Cattaraugus County and Chautauqua County are also required to approve the sale, with the Chautauqua County legislature taking up the issue on Wednesday night. The Cattaraugus County legislature has already given its approval.
Once all hosting municipalities have signed off on the sale it will go to the SUNY Board of Trustees next month for its review and approval.