Resolves residential conflict

Brewster city council amends BMC to allow dormitory housing

Brewster resident Ron Paslay’s home shown here at 410 Lakeview Drive is one of several located in the C2 commercial zoning area that will be allowed more flexibility under the newly approved zoning amendment.

BREWSTER –At its regular monthly meeting on Jan. 9, the city council put its final stamp of approval on a zoning code amendment that will give owners of residential property currently located in a C1 commercial zone more flexibility to purchase, repair, and sell their holdings. The new amendment will also allow multiple-dwelling (dormitory housing) units in C1, PU (Public Use), and AI (Airport Industrial) zones to accommodate future demands for livable accommodations.

Specifically, the council changed certain provisions in title 17 of the Brewster Municipal Code (BMC), amending the city zoning code to define and provide for dormitory housing in the city.

Acting on a recommendation from the Brewster Planning Commission, the council approved the amended zoning as the most efficient fix to a problem that came to its attention last fall by several residential owners.

An earlier code change around the turn of the century left several home owners, whose properties were previously in a residential zone, in an expanded commercial zone which made their homes nonconforming under the new rules. Despite public hearings and published legal notices, the affected homeowners were unaware that their ability to finance, remodel, or sell their properties had been restricted.

Council members became aware that a resident was affected by the zone change when a homeowner in the commercial zone requested a variance early in 2018. The homeowner, Joyce Steele, wanted to apply for a reverse mortgage, but banks and finance companies would not approve her nonconforming application absent the variance. Council members denied the request.

Later that year, Ron Paslay a resident on Lakeview Way, secured a buyer for his home at 410 Lakeview Way, in a different commercial zone in the city. When the prospective purchaser was denied financing Paslay, along with several Lakeview neighbors, discovered that their properties fell under the C1 zone. With no rapid remedy available to amend the zoning, Paslay’s home sale fell through.

Planning Commission members convened and considered the most efficient avenue to correct the problem, retain the city’s development vision and still accommodate the growing need for more and affordable housing. The dormitory housing designation fits the need.

Acting as quickly as state and county statues would allow, it still required some three months to fast-track the new amendment into the BMC books.

Paslay said he is pleased at the news that the new amendment is in place and now plans to resume his efforts to find another purchaser for his property.

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