It was a slightly complicated discussion during the City of Cortland Planning Commission’s meeting last night at City Hall regarding the site plan review & special use permit application at 6 Locust Ave.
The property is best known for originally housing the State Police Barracks until the State Police relocated in the late 90s. The property was eventually occupied by a small business before then being sold again sometime in 2018.
Things got complicated when the Planning Commission looked at the current building on the property. Currently, the old barracks hosts 3 apartments, but when it came to original approval to convert the building to 3-units, none was ever issued by the city. Original approval for the building was for a single apartment and a small office space and not 3 residential units.
Part of the application brought to the board was to correct the issue and bring the former barracks up to code. The second was the construction of a new 4,000 square foot two-story apartment building of 5 attached townhouses along with a separate 5 bay carport at an estimated cost of $1.5 million dollars.
Before discussion began on the application, a public hearing was held with neighbors of the 6 Locust Ave. property raising their concerns about the property including: neglected landscaping, trash on the ground, and the lack of an existing buffer between the property and neighbors.
Concerns were raised about the issue at hand for the current building hosting three apartments and how compliance must be done before any further work is done to the property. One of the largest jobs needed to be done in order for the building to be compliant is the installation of a sprinkler system.
In the end, the board voted on two motions.
The first motion made was to approve the site plan of the current building, make it up to code, and the removal of the circular drive located in the front. This motion was passed unanimously.
The second motion made was in regard to the site plan review of the new construction and special use permit (one is required if two separate apartments are built on one lot). The board voted to reject the site plan and special use permit.
It is noted plans for the new townhomes and carport may return to the board once work on making the current building compliant is complete.