Vari­ance al­lows board­ing house

Use of W. Chest­nut Street site OK’d by Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals; owner still must se­cure spe­cial per­mit from city Plan­ning Board

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com

The owner of a West Chest­nut Street board­ing house that pre­vi­ously was deemed il­le­gal has been granted a use vari­ance by the city Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals, but it now must go be­fore the Plan­ning Board for a spe­cial-use per­mit.

At a meet­ing Thurs­day, the Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals unan­i­mously adopted a res­o­lu­tion is­su­ing a use vari­ance to Joseph Sangi for the house at 106 W. Chest­nut St. The vari­ance paves the way for the build­ing to be used as a board­ing house even though it is in a sin­gle-fam­ily res­i­den­tial district.

Un­der the City Code, board­ing houses are per­mit­ted only in twofam­ily res­i­den­tial dis­tricts and with a spe­cial-use per­mit from the Plan­ning Board.

The zon­ing board’s res­o­lu­tion also al­lows the Plan­ning Board, in the course of its site plan re­view of the project, to pro­vide waivers, if it sees fit, to any of the strict re­quire­ments for a board­ing house in a two-fam­ily res­i­den­tial district. Those re­quire­ments, in part, limit the num­ber of board­ers to 12 and the num­ber of rooms to 10, as well as pro­hibit more than two peo­ple from shar­ing a room. The code also states all board­ing houses are sub­ject to in­spec­tions at all rea­son­able hours by au­tho­rized rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the city.

There also is a re­quire­ment that the man­ager of a board­ing house keep a reg­is­ter of all the board­ers’ names and room num­bers and pro­vide that in­for­ma­tion to po­lice, fire of­fi­cials and city build­ing safety of­fi­cers on re­quest.

Sangi’s at­tor­ney, Lanny Wal­ter, asked for that re­quire­ment to be waived.

“We con­sider it an in­va­sion of pri­vacy for our res­i­dents,” Wal­ter said.

The zon­ing board’s de­ci­sion also stated that per­mis­sion for the West Chest­nut Street build­ing to be op­er­ated as a bou­tique ho­tel could not be granted be­cause it did not meet the re­quire­ments for such use.

Sangi sought a use vari­ance to al­low the site to op­er­ate as a bou­tique ho­tel af­ter the board­ing house was deemed il­le­gal by a state ap­peals court.

A sep­a­rate fed­eral law­suit claim­ing vi­o­la­tions un­der the Fair Hous­ing Act later was filed against the city, but that law­suit was put on hold while the par­ties tried to reach an agree­ment through the vari­ance pro­ce­dure.

Sangi is the prin­ci­pal of prop­erty owner Tri-Serendip­ity LLC and is man­ager of the board­ing house.

In ap­prov­ing the use vari­ance, the Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals found Sangi could not get a rea­son­able re­turn on his in­vest­ment if he was forced to make the house a sin­gle-fam­ily home.

The board also found his was a unique cir­cum­stance that did not ap­ply to the rest of the neigh­bor­hood, and that the hard­ship he faced was not of his own cre­ation be­cause he had doc­u­men­ta­tion from the city call­ing the build­ing a board­ing house.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the board found that grant­ing the vari­ance would not change the char­ac­ter of the neigh­bor­hood be­cause the board­ing house had been there for at least 30 years.

TA­NIA BARRICKLO — DAILY FREE­MAN FILE

The owner of this house at 106 W. Chest­nut St. in Kingston, N.Y., has been granted a use vari­ance to op­er­ate the build­ing as a board­ing house.

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