Code Enforcement?



Can Some Owners Do Work Without a Permit?

A message sent by a resident to Village Officials asking questions about work being done at 331 Main Street (Lyon House) on behalf of property owner Wells College -- apparently without board approvals -- went unanswered.

So she wrote again, supporting her questions with additional material. That provoked another seemingly off-the-wall response from Village Code Enforcement Officer Doug Staley. See for yourself:


FOLLOW UP LETTER

From: Laura Holland
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 2:46 PM
To: Doug Staley
Cc: Avery Ayers, Grace Bates, Bonnie Bennett; Tom Gunderson, Nancy Yann

According to the Village of Aurora Local Law #1 of 2002, it states under Article XI (Administration), Section 1100 (Zoning Officer), Part A (Duties and Powers) that :

"The Zoning Officer shall... 6.) Investigate all complaints and take immediate action as necessary to enforce the provisions of this Local Law."

The most recent news letter from the village says :

When doing any home improvement project, landscaping project or work of any kind to your property, please remember that almost EVERYTHING needs a permit and/or Board Approval....Please call the Office with any questions on construction. There is never a dumb question....

Accordingly, I ask again:
  • There is a substantial excavation and earthmoving being done at 331 Main Street, Aurora, NY. Has the excavation at 331 Main Street gone through the official village process and received CPP and Planning Board approval?
  • There is a structure that has been built at 327 Main Street that extends into 331 Main Street property. Wouldn't such a structure require a variance? Has this structure gone through the appropriate village process?
  • How can these two jobs be lumped together as one project when they involve two separate properties, two separate locations, and two separate owners?
In accordance with the Village of Aurora Local Law #1 of 2002, Article XI (Administration), Section 1100 (Zoning Officer), Part A (Duties and Powers) #6 please consider this email a "complaint".

Sincerely,
Laura Holland
RESPONSE
From: Doug Staley
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 9:12 PM
To: Laura Holland

Hello ;the Site plan of Both these proprties was approved by CPP, Planning and Zoning see map in SEpt of last year ; The Koepp/Place got permission and a CURB Cut >From DOT ; You have Not ; You made such a Fuss, as always, they had to go this route; The COMMON Driveway was for Both Properties Because they did( LYON House) Did not have One; Permission was granted by Wells College for them to Pusue this Route;; By the way your Still in violation of Set back for your patio which will have to be MOVED; Rememeber the one that the Village had to have the Sheriffs deliver because YOU Refused to accept Delivery of the Notice; Have a Nice Day ; thanks; Doug Staley
ANOTHER REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
From: Laura Holland
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 11:41 AM
To: Doug Staley

Dear Mr. Staley

Your response to me (below) is riddled with inaccuracies and red-herrings. I will address them later.

Could you please limit your reply to responding to my formal complaint....
EXPLANATION
From: Laura Holland
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 9:15 AM
To: Doug Staley, et al
Subject: 331 Main Street, Aurora, NY

May 2, 2007

Dear Mr. Staley,

As I stated in my email of April 28, 2007, your response to my complaint was riddled with inaccuracies and red herrings. I wish to address them now.

"Hello ;the Site plan of Both these proprties was approved by CPP, Planning and Zoning see map in SEpt of last year ;"
Wells College, as owners of 331 Main Street, never went through the official village process for the work that has been done at 331 Main Street. Nor did they receive any permits for this work. They just went ahead and did it.

I realize that dirt was removed for the foundation of 327 Main Street, stored next door, and then returned. However, my complaint pertains to the excavation, removal, and grading of the backyard of 331 Main Street. This is all being done without Wells College applying for or acquiring the appropriate village permits.

"The Koepp/Place got permission and a CURB Cut From DOT ; You have Not ;"
My complaint is not in regard to any action by the DOT nor does it have anything to do with curbcuts. I am not seeking a curbcut. This is a red herring.

"You made such a Fuss, as always, they had to go this route; The COMMON Driveway was for Both Properties Because they did( LYON House) Did not have One;"
This has nothing to do with my complaint. This is a red herring.

"Permission was granted by Wells College for them to Pusue this Route;; "
Permission may have been granted by Wells College to Koepp/Place, but no permission was granted to Wells College by any Aurora Village government body for this extensive work. Wells College never acquired any permits for work at 331 Main Street.

"By the way your Still in violation of Set back for your patio which will have to be MOVED;"
How can I be "Still in violation of Set back" for my patio, if this is the first time you have brought this to my attention? What does this unrelated work, on our property, have to do with my complaint? This is a red herring.

"Rememeber the one that the Village had to have the Sheriffs deliver because YOU Refused to accept Delivery of the Notice; Have a Nice Day ; thanks; Doug Staley"
Mr. Staley, your memory is faulty. The Stop Work Order delivered to me by the sheriff was in regard to our plastic fence. Attached to this email you will find a scan of the Stop Work Order. Remember? This is the issue about which our lawyer tried to call you five times and you did not respond. And, remember, he sent you a two page letter, requesting a response from you, explaining why our fence was legal? Do you remember ignoring this letter?

This Stop Work Order was rescinded after I discussed the issue with the Aurora Village Board in September.

Following is the relevant section from the September 20, 2006 Village Board Meeting minutes :

Mayor Gunderson welcomed Laura Holland who had asked to be placed on the Agenda last week. Ms. Holland explained that she had been issued a Stop Work Order and an Order to Remedy from Doug Staley, Building Inspector/Code enforcement Officer. Ms. Holland is unsure of why she was issued these two documents and when asking Mr. Staley, she has received no return phone call or written documentation. The Stop Work Order was issues on August 17, 2006 stating Whereas, violations of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code states that putting up a fence again with no permit and no approvals from CPP and the Planning Board. The Order to Remedy Violations dated August 17, 006 states that the person names – Laura Holland - Please take notice that there exists a violation of 1) New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code 9 NYCRR and 2) Applicable Laws, Ordinances or Regulations of Local Law #1 of 1995. In violation of putting up a fence out back with no building permit, needs plans and permit according to Local Law #1 of 1993, Section 4.A. Ms. Holland stated that the purpose of the fence was out of concern over the pending demolition of Lake House Apartments and the new construction to follow. Ms. Holland wants everyone to know where the property lines are and that the Holland’s own the lakefront property. Trustee Zabriskie asked what specifically Ms. Holland wanted the Village Board to do. Ms. Holland asked to have Mr. Staley contact her attorney. Mayor Gunderson asked if the fence was legal or not and to please have Mr. Staley speak with the Village Attorney. Ms. Holland stated that there has been no communication with Mr. Staley whatsoever. Trustee Murphy concurs that it is difficult to communicate with Mr. Staley. Trustee Zabriskie explained that he did not think that this issue could be resolved tonight. Ms. Holland would just like to have Mr. Staley contact Kristopher Vurraro (Ms. Holland’s Attorney). Mayor Gunderson explained that “Fencing” as addressed in the Village Zoning Law was ambiguous to say the least. Fences are not considered “accessory structures” but can be considered a “buffer”, which the Planning Board would need to approve. Mayor Gunderson and Trustee Chase will discuss this with Mr. Staley. Trustee Murphy asked if it was appropriate for Mr. Staley to do this. Mayor Gunderson said that the Village Board would hold a Special Meeting next Thursday at 4 Pm to discuss this issue.

Your inaccurate accusation is yet another of your red herrings.

According to the Village of Aurora Local Law #1 of 2002, it states under Article XI (Administration), Section 1100 (Zoning Officer), Part A (Duties and Powers) that :

"The Zoning Officer shall... 6.) Investigate all complaints and take immediate action as necessary to enforce the provisions of this Local Law."

Mr. Staley, would you please investigate and respond to my complaint immediately, as the Aurora Village Law requires you to.

Sincerely,
Laura Holland


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