Residents of Woodlands Drive in Dunkirk finally got their answer on whether the vacation rental that has been the subject of controversy for months will be allowed to continue operating. After the brief meeting of the city of Dunkirk zoning council this week, the inhabitants of Woodlands can rest easy.
In a unanimous decision, the Zoning Board ruled that Zoning Officer Ryan Mourer’s original decision to allow the rental, owned by Jennifer Friedman at 5184 Woodlands Drive, to operate was incorrect, citing numerous different points from the zoning code of Dunkirk.
“The zoning board has decided that the zoning enforcement officer’s interpretation of short-term rentals operating in an R1 residential area was incorrect,” Dunkirk Zoning Board Chairman Scott Pagano said in a statement. “As counsel, we disagree with the code enforcement officer’s interpretation that the language was not clear enough to act on.
We think the language of the zoning book is clear enough.
When Mourer first made his interpretation on October 19, he said he was not going to act on the issue, who said at that time “I don’t think the tongue gives me the power to act on it and stop what it’s doing.” As part of the zoning board’s statement, Pagano cited a few different reasons for their disagreement, with a focus on R1 districts requiring family housing.
“He specifically emphasizes that the group is not temporary or transitional in nature,” said Pagano. “The groups that rent to Ms. Friedman and the temporary and non-permanent occupants.”
Pagano also cited the permitted uses section of the zoning code, which states that if a use is not specifically permitted by law, it is deemed to be prohibited, unless determined in a written decision of Council. zoning.
“This use should be similar to permitted uses, comply with the intent specified by the zoning law and does not in itself constitute a nuisance, threat or danger to the health, safety or well-being of residents of the municipality. “, he said. “With the evidence provided, it is clear that this has become both a nuisance and a threat to residents of the Woodlands neighborhood.”
Zoning board member Thomas Tarnowski said that when the matter first came to his attention, he initially broadcast on Friedman’s side, although after all the evidence was provided, he did. had come to agree with the residents.
“I considered both sides of the argument, thinking the neighbors had no right or say in who stays at Ms. Friedman’s property,” Tarnowski said. “Given all the considerations of all the audiences, I believe that short-term rental is not a residence, it’s a business. With that, I side with the people of Woodlands.
A resolution was passed unanimously that held Mourer’s interpretation to be incorrect and a short-term rental is not a permitted use in an R1 district. Pagano expressed his gratitude to both parties for their contributions to the matter.
“I would like to thank both parties for the time and effort that has been devoted to this case,” said Pagano. “Both sides have provided plenty of evidence to consider.”
The decision was met with a round of applause by residents of Woodlands Drive who were present at the meeting.