A potential solution to a dispute between an Auburn bar owner and neighboring residents was brought forward at Monday’s meeting of the city’s zoning appeal board.
Council voted that evening to approve a use waiver allowing the property at 118 Osborne Street to become a new larger parking lot for the O’Toole Tavern. Attorney Sam Giacona, representing O’Toole owner John “Jack” Voorhees, told council his client has made a deal to buy the property from its current owner, Patricia Cameron, if the parking lot is approved.
Voorhees currently rents the property at 108 Osborne, which is owned by the city, as a customer parking lot. However, the land has been “a source of chaos,” neighbor James Udall told the city’s nuisance committee this summer. Udall and other residents say O’Toole’s patrons regularly dump trash, leave the grounds drunk and damage neighboring properties.
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At the meeting, Udall said he was “ecstatically in favor” of the board approving the waiver for this reason. He also noted that only four cars can enter the current parking lot, leading O’Toole customers to park in the McLoughlin Glass Co. parking lot at 107 Osborne and along the street. This creates a traffic hazard, Udall said, due to the narrow width and curvature of the busy street.
âContaining all of that in a bigger space is a good idea,â he said. “It would take a lot of cars out of Osborne Street.”
At first, the board appeared to oppose approval of the waiver, which was initially refused by the city’s Code Enforcement Office. Board member Richard Tamburrino told Giacona that his client’s request lacked the requested state’s environmental quality review and documentation showing that denying the waiver would have an impact. negative financial impact on O’Toole’s.
However, the company’s deputy attorney, Nate Garland, told the board about the unique background of the request, asking members to “step out of your comfort zone.” To that end, Garland read a letter from the Nuisance Reduction Committee approving the waiver. He also said that there is a “high degree of uncertainty” that the town of Auburn will continue to lease 108 Osborne to Voorhees due to the town’s desire for greater control over the property, which contains a sewer line. The city has been renting the property from the bar owner for $ 200 per year since 1995.
The loss of that property, Garland told the board, could negatively impact O’Toole’s financially in two ways. Not only would this lose the four parking spaces themselves, but their loss could affect the bar’s standing with the State Liquor Authority, which requires licensees to “maintain command and control” of their parking lots, Garland said.
âIt involves the licensee’s ability to serve alcohol, at the end of the day, and that’s the whole thing,â he said. “That’s all the money.”
Heeding Garland’s words, the board guided Giacona through the SEQR before voting on the variance. Some members are concerned that the problems with the current parking lot will simply migrate to the new one. But the majority approved the waiver, citing reduced traffic on Osborne Street and other benefits for the bar and neighboring residents.
The new parking lot will now be submitted to the city’s planning council for approval of the site plan.
AUBURN – An old dispute between a bar on Osborne Street and its neighbors has been taken to the town’s new board for overcoming nuisance issues …