The shop, Fruity’s Treats, intends to open in the former office of Ted Leader Real Estate at 92 Owasco St. Auto detailing business looking to open at 56-58 Clark St., owned by Michael Morgan.
Both businesses were denied permits by code enforcement because they were prohibited uses under the zoning of the properties, which are Residential-1 at 92 Owasco St. and Residential-2 at 56-58 Clark St.
Fruity Treats will be operated by Zekia Moody, who approached Linda and Theodore Leader to open the sweets business at 92 Owasco St., Linda Leader told the board. Leaders, both real estate brokers, used a space there as their office until the COVID-19 pandemic. The site has been vacant since then, the leader said, as the real estate business has mostly remained distant.
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The property has a one-bedroom apartment that the leaders rent out to their daughter, but even with that rental income, it is costing the leaders $3,170.87 a year to maintain the vacant office space, according to a financial hardship document. As per the filing made by him with the Board. Leaders said the vacant lot makes the property difficult to sell and more vulnerable to vandalism.
On the other hand, that area of Ovasco Street has substantial food businesses such as Seafood Express and Giuseppe’s Pizzeria. So not allowing the other to open up “doesn’t make any sense,” Linda Leader said. The chairman of the board, Edward Darrow, agreed with him before voting down the variation. The variance was approved unanimously, and no public comment was received.
“To me that whole street is full of retail,” Darrow said. “Personally, I miss the corner stores I grew up with. I don’t think it’s a bad location for what potential tenants want to do.”
The board was equally receptive to Morgan, who was represented by attorney Sam Giacona on the 56–58 Clark St. variance application.
Morgan purchased the property in October and intends to continue using it as an auto detailing business. It has been an auto business for at least 50 years, he mentioned in his application as having a gas station and dealership earlier. Morgan plans to make “minor cosmetic improvements to the complex that benefit the surrounding neighborhood and improve the general outlook of commuters on Arterial West.”
Giacona said that without the variance, Morgan would experience financial hardship in the form of a loss of approximately $3,700 per year.
The board unanimously approved the variance. No public comments were filed on the application.
“I think the unique character of the building in that neighborhood won’t be harmed, so yes,” Darrow said.
in other news
An application to build additional storage units at a new Auburn facility was introduced once again at Monday’s meeting.
Developer True Storage has applied for a variance to build four units with 84 lockers in front of a new location of self-storage brand CubeSmart at 325-327 Genesee St., a former P&C grocery store.
The application was tabled until the February 27 board meeting because Joseph Camardo, the attorney representing True Storage, was not informed of the financial hardship before Monday’s meeting.
The board first heard Camardo submitting the application in October. The application was tabled over the following months due to the lack of the full board to review it at those meetings.
Camardo also told the board that he would come back in February with more statements in support of the variance from neighbors.
“It’s been publicized five times so far and nobody has come forward and objected to anything,” he told the board, “but I’d be happy to go back and get some more letters.”
The developers of a new Auburn storage facility are seeking approval from the city to build more units there.