The neighbors of the proposed Code Blue facility that was planned for Walworth Street have prevailed in a lawsuit that challenged the approval of by the Zoning Board of Appeals and the building inspector at the time, Steve Shaw. Readers may recall an earlier post on this project. I would like to have supported the project but it was based on the claim that the facility met the zoning requirements for this neighborhood because it was a “rooming house.” Regrettably I was right that there was no way to defend that the large facility planned met the criteria for a rooming house.
What made this case unusual was that the neighbors had the deep pockets required to pursue their suit. It is unfortunate that many other problematic decisions by the ZBA were able to go forward because in most cases people do not have the money to go to court.
Here are links to three news stories:
10 thoughts on “Neighbors Prevail In Suit To Block Code Blue”
Neighbors Prevail In Suit To Block Code Blue – and the city loses again. 😦 I’m truly starting to hate the city I have lived in my entire life. Canada has never looked better.
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Are there any “rooming houses” left in the city? I believe that the last time this archaic definition was employed within an application, it was for a property on Phila Street that had previously parceled off its land, thus removing any hope of meeting off street parking requirements in their proposal for a variant of a veiled B&B. Rooming houses (and rooms by the week), prevalent during the depression years, found justification as housing options as many of these guests carried their satchels and suitcases to and from the bus station. That outmoded classification should be struck from the ordinance. Could Code Blue facilities exist in residential areas and what would a zoning classification amendment look like? In the next round of zoning ordinance reviews, this might be included along with a small but growing list of residential classification encroachments, not the least being, the growing Airbnb expansion devoid of inspections, insurances, and zoning requirements for density and off-street vehicle storage exacerbating neighborhoods with already limited parking.
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Once again the City’s land use boards (ZBA and Planning) have blundered in their attempt to fit a narrative into their preconceived conclusion. Citizens are getting very bad service from these boards as well as incurring wasted tax dollars on what legal representation these boards are employing.
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The city didn’t blunder. The ordinance was tested. That is a process. As one unnamed attorney once said, “… just because I want to be taller, thinner and have more hair, doesn’t mean I will get it.” For those dissatisfied with these results, blaming the city, it’s land boards and our elected officials and threatening to leave the country – don’t follow baseball.
The ordinance was tested – and failed. Unless you are pretty well off anyway.
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The ordinance is a living document, that has been adopted and modified over its half century. In this case, it was challenged and the decision was reversed. If we are to uphold the court’s decision, then what does that tell us about the application? Applying an outmoded property classification to fit the ‘new use’ was perhaps the weak link in that chain. In its day, as I noted, rooming houses were scattered throughout older municipalities catering principally to transients, renters by the week or month and maybe longer – their residents generally arriving with a suitcase and without a vehicle. In the last forty years, I can remember several within walking distance that no longer exist, save for their structures. It appears that you choose to perennially protest rather than entertaining other viable conventional options. How rewarding has that been for you? Your matter in question, regarding a disparity between those”well off” against those that apparently (according to your reference) are not, is not something that can easily be empirically verified. Too many variables to entertain in a one paragraph missive. The sooner one takes the chip off their shoulder, the better their world will be.
I have no ‘chip’. I call ’em as I see ’em. It’s an outright observation of a city I have lived in my entire 50+ years as well as all of my housing studies. That said, I agree with you completely that the zoning is a mess. It’s created more problems than it solved here. Or it worked so well that the average Joe and Jill can’t afford to live here anymore (hence the ‘well off’ comment).
Zoning is not a mess. In this case, it’s people like yourself who didn’t consider the applicant and how they fit into our ordinance or not, and propose how they might have. That is our job, all our jobs. It’s too easy to point and blame, but a bit harder to work to modify our legislation so that it adapts to changes. There are plenty of Joans and Johns that have come and gone and who have called Saratoga Springs their home and if they could, would express that their time spent here was something of a treasure. Carpe diem Dave.
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We’ll agree to disagree, as the research says otherwise.
“Iustitia suum cuique distribuit.”