Auto repair chain gets variance approval
ROME — Rome Zoning Board of Appeals approved a use variance for a major/minor vehicle repair shop at 1303-1309 Erie Blvd. W. during its regular monthly meeting Wednesday.
Developer Casey Lieberman, civil engineering analyst with Kimley-Horn, New York City, had requested a use variance to construct a 12,300 square-foot vehicle repair business called Caliber Collision.
Caliber Collision specializes in collision, auto care, auto glass and fleet services, according to the company website. Project representatives said Caliber is currently expanding across upstate New York and has more than 1,300 locations.
All vehicle work will be done inside the facility, and will be mostly insurance-based work, from a fender-bender to check-engine light.
Caliber Collision would be open Monday through Friday, and representatives said the narrow location is “sandwiched” between an auto dealer and retail/commercial district, with Hoffman’s Car Wash located nearby.
There would be about 10 repair bays with front office space and a conference room.
Zoning Board member Jon Maggiolino asked if all three properties located on the parcel were removed.
Representatives said they were removed and the new auto repair shop would be a single structure.
Board member James DiCastro said the proposed auto repair shop, which would employ 10-15, would be a “good investment” for that business area.
“It would clean things up and blend in with everything in that corridor,” he said. “It will be a nice fit.”
Because the board had not yet heard from the previous property owner, board member Raymond Tucker voted against granting the variance. However, the request passed 4-1.
Two-family dwelling conversion issues
Meanwhile, the board approved a use variance for 707 1/2 Calvert St., requested by WD Housing & Holdings, LLC to convert a one-family dwelling into a two-family.
According to city records, the building is listed as a one-family dwelling and upon inspection, verified that the building was unlawfully converted to a two-family.
Last month, two residents spoke in opposition of a request by Najam Adnan, owner of
225 N. Washington St., who was seeking a use variance to covert a two-story dwelling consisting of a business on the first floor and two apartments on the second floor, to a five-family dwelling unit.
According to official city records, that building was also unlawfully converted by the previous owner.
However, despite opposition from neighbors, the Zoning Board approved the use variance by a 4-1 vote.
Zoning Board member DiCastro noted Wednesday that the unlawful conversion of properties has been a growing problem that must be addressed.
Representatives of WD Housing, John Woodridge and Bryan DeCarolis, said they purchased 707 1/2 Calvert St. back in 2016 as a two-family dwelling and they just received notice that it had been registered as a one-family dwelling, and was therefore wrongfully converted.
DiCastro asked if the property was realtor purchased, which representatives confirmed.
DiCastro said the issue has been an “on-going saga” with the “realtors, attorney and bank” never picking up on it.
“You were the victim of something that was supposed to be totally legal and the tax records didn’t pick up on it,” he said. “Everyone went ahead with it, and now we have this. ... This is the third or fourth time of this going on. There was misrepresentation by the realtor, seller and bank.”
Representatives said there is a mortgage out on the property and if they were forced to convert it back to a one-family dwelling they would “be in the red.”
The board then unanimously approved the use variance request.
In other business:
• An area variance request for a driveway design at 1410 N. Madison St., requested by owner Antonio DiPaolo, was unanimously approved.
DiPaolo plans to construct a driveway width extension of the existing paved driveway where the edge of the proposed pavement is less than 3 feet from the side lot line, and the paved width exceeds the allowable.
• A use variance request by Rocker Automotive Rescue, Inc., owner of 6947 and 6943 S. James St. and Bones Avenue to build a minor vehicle repair garage and towing and recovery business was tabled after the board voted unanimously to amend the request to strike 6925 S. James St./Bones Ave. from the legislation.
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