JAMESTOWN – The Lynn Development Group says it will not proceed with trying to purchase the Sheldon House in Jamestown following an appellate court’s decision to overturn a zoning variance for the property.
The announcement comes via a statement provided to WRFA on Tuesday morning, made by Lynn Development President and CEO Jason Spain.
“For over a year we have watched our attempts to acquire the historic home realize success at each subsequent level – and each time validating the wisdom of our local zoning board,” Spain said. “While the latest decision was unexpected, we respect the decision and would find no honor in continuing this effort at the ongoing expense of our beloved community college. Therefore – Lynn Development Inc. will acquiesce for the greater good.”
On Friday, the New York 4th Appellate Division released its ruling on the Sheldon House variance appeal, which was filed by a group of Lakeview Ave. area residents after an initial New York Supreme Court ruling in 2016 supported a decision by the Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a variance for the property.
According the ruling, Jamestown Community College and Lynn Development failed to present proper evidence to the city Zoning Board that satisfies the requirement of unnecessary hardship, which is legally required in order for a variance to be granted.
The Sheldon House sits in an area of the city that is zoned for residential use only. It is owned by JCC, which announced in early 2016 it was selling the property with Lynn Development Group eventually announcing it would buy the home for $260,000, contingent to it receiving a zoning variance so the property could be used as the main offices for the company. That variance was granted by the city zoning board in the spring of 2016.
The announcement by the Lynn Group to end its effort to buy the Sheldon House is a victory for the Lakeview Ave. area residents Paul Leone, Ann Servoss and Timothy Mills, who filed a petition on May 31, 2016 to challenge the zoning board ruling.
“We hold no ill will towards the petitioners. It is entirely American to follow your passion and challenge the things for which you are in disagreement,” Spain said. “We wish the petitioners all the good fortune in continuing their efforts to reshape the landscape of Lakeview Ave.”
Spain also thank those who helped in their effort to attempt to purchase the property.
“Lynn Development Inc., its owners, executive team, and team members want to thank Jamestown Community College, the City of Jamestown Zoning Board, and the numerous supporters of our effort to secure the historic Sheldon House,” Spain said.
The announcement by Lynn Development means JCC could put the home back on market to look for a prospective buyer. At least one other individual had offered to purchase the property in early 2016 and maintain it as a residence, but that offer was reportedly lower than what Lynn Development had proposed and, as a result, JCC put its support behind the zoning variance effort in an attempt to complete the sale with the Lynn group.
JCC’s Board of Trustees could discuss its options regarding the property at its next meeting, scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 20.