JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown City Council does not have the authority to overturn a recent decision by the city zoning board to provide a variance to the Sheldon House.
City attorney Marilyn Lehman and city council member Tony Dolce offered the explanation during Monday night’s city council work session after a city resident spoke to the council to request they consider overturning the variance.
City Resident Paul Leone, who lives on Lakeview Ave. across the street from the Sheldon House, appeared before the council for the second week in a row to again request that city officials consider preventing the Sheldon House sale from Jamestown Community College to the Lynn Group not be allowed.
Leone said he doesn’t feel the zoning variance granted earlier this month by Zoning Board to the Sheldon House didn’t meet the hardship requirements required under law and as a result the council should overturn the zoning board’s ruling.
But both Lehman and Dolce explained that the zoning board is a separate governing board that works independently of the city council and as a result the council does not have the authority to overturn the ruling. They did say, however, that any resident who wishes to challenge the ruling with judicial review, so long as its filed within 30 days of the ruling.
As a hosting municipality for JCC, the city council is required to act on approving any property transaction involving JCC, with the Sheldon House sale to be considered later this month during the council’s voting session. Leone did ask that the council vote down the sale, based his and other residents’ feelings that the zoning variance shouldn’t have been approved.
The Lynn Group wants to purchase the historic Sheldon House from JCC for $240,000 and use a portion of the property for office space. Because the property is in a residential zoned area, a zoning variance had to be granted before the sale could take place.
The council will act on giving its approval of the sale during its May 23 voting session. The Chautauqua County Legislature is also required to sign-off on the sale and will do so during its May 25 voting session. The Cattaraugus County Legislature has already given its approval.
If all three hosting municipalities give approval, the sale will then go to the SUNY Board of Trustees in Albany for its final review and approval.