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‘Eyesore’ on Route 114 to be gated and screened

JULIE LANE PHOTO John Sieni (left) and his attorney, John Bennett.
John Sieni (left) and his attorney, John Bennett.

In a lengthy and often contentious process, John Sieni along with residents whose houses adjoin his storage facility at 18 North Ferry Road have, with the Zoning Board of Appeals assistance, reached agreement to expand the business.

Mr. Sieni’s plan to add 36 units to the existing 50-unit business had been approved by the Building Department in February and concrete was poured. But a stop work order was soon issued since, according to the Building Department, the original permit “was issued in error” because the development “constitutes expansion of a pre-existing, non-conforming use.”

The storage project, along with 13 North Ferry Road — just down the street — owned by Dan Calabro and leased to Marcello Masonry, was under discussion by the Town Board on several occasions for their unsightly appearance.

The issue had come to a head, Supervisor Jim Dougherty said in March, because “Route 114, north and south of the Center, is becoming an eyesore and maybe we have to be a little more careful in our review of proposed projects. We want to be respectful of people, but we want to meet our responsibilities.”

This summer, neighbors packed ZBA meetings to protest Mr. Sieni’s storage facility expansion, complaining about noise, lights and increased traffic through their neighborhood.

Visiting the site in late July and speaking with neighbors, ZBA members worked out an approval for the expansion with a number of concessions to satisfy neighbors’ concerns.

Mr. Sieni has agreed to put in a locked gate that would prevent motorists who are using the storage facility from racing through the entrance on Route 114 to Thomas Avenue; erect screening to shield the facility from the houses; add parking spaces; and bring the existing 50-unit facility into compliance.

Other approvals: The ZBA also approved area variances enabling Thomas and Susannah Carrier of 17 Spring Garden Avenue to construct an addition to their house.

The ZBA also approved a special permit allowing Hanami Realty to add a second story to a non-conforming house at 8 Cove Way.