Abraham House gets OK for variance for parking lot, landscaping
ROME — City Zoning Board of Appeals members unanimously approved requests for use and area variances by Comfort House, Inc., owner of Abraham House at 417 N. Washington St., to construct a parking lot and a landscaped area between the lot and property line at the board’s regular monthly meeting held Wednesday in Common Council Chambers of City Hall.
Civil Engineer Frank Tallarino Jr. represented Comfort House when the requests went before the board. A use variance was being sought to construct the parking lot, because it would straddle the property line and encroach the city right-of-way, resulting in a zero setback to the property line and the elimination of the required landscape buffer.
An area variance was needed for the landscaped area between the property line and parking area because the area must be a minimum of 7 feet in width.
Tallarino explained to board members that the parking lot was needed to help eliminate the presence of vehicles on the street.
“Abraham House has been a landmark in our area for decades, and the benefits Abraham House brings to our area shows that without a doubt, there is a need” for the parking area, Tallarino said. “It would accommodate patrons of the facility and employees, and parking right now is a challenge.”
ZBA President John Sorbello said a letter about the project was received from the state Department of Transportation, which indicated it had no issues with the actions as proposed.
Board member Michele Reid asked if shrubs to be planted between the sidewalk area and parking lot would still be approximately 4 feet.
Tallarino explained that with the approval of the variance, Comfort House will plant some shrubs between the sidewalk and lot, and that Abraham House is also planning to construct a memorial wall, which is part of future plans because the organization is currently collecting donations for the wall.
Sorbello and board member James DiCastro asked if Comfort House could possibly place the parking lot closer to the building, which would not require a variance, but Tallarino explained the area is needed for a shed where maintenance items are stored, and for a picnic table adjacent to the sidewalk where workers and patrons go out to sit.
Tallarino further stated that the parking lot would not be curved, and that proper natural drainage is in place on the North Washington Street side of the property.
The project will go before the city Planning Board on Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. for Comfort House to seek a right-of-way permit for the lot.
As long as Comfort House abides by the landscaping requirements, ZBA members unanimously agreed to support the construction of the parking lot and add the required parking lot landscape.
In other business
• A request for a use variance for Evolve Construction, Inc., 5302 Brown Road, to construct a minor vehicle repair shop within a portion of its existing 10,000 square-foot building was once again tabled.
• A request for an area variance by Moris Lopez, owner of 703 Elm St., seeking to construct a second-floor dormer on the rear of the house, was tabled because no one was present to represent the project.
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