Sync Realty will seek a zoning change for the former Rotterdam Housing area this month, while asking at the same time the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals to reconsider a decision that prevents the company from renting apartments at the complex.
Andy Brick, an attorney representing the company and property owner Johnny Zhang, said his client will apply to rezone the eight-acre property to a multi-family residential classification. He anticipates the company will file the paperwork with the town sometime over the next week.
At the same time, Brick said Sync will ask the Zoning Board to reconsider a January decision that found the U.S. military’s residential use of the property did not carry over when it was transferred to a private entity last year. He said new documentation indicated the military leased part of the property to a group called Mohawk Manor Inc., in 1950, meaning there was a precedent for using the property for residential purposes by a private entity.
“That strengthens our position,” he said Thursday.
The property is technically in an area of town zoned for light industry. But federally owned properties are not subject to local law, meaning the 57-year-old housing area never had to conform to the town’s zoning maps.
Sync has lost two separate legal actions over the complex. Both placed the future of the property’s residential use in doubt.
Last summer, the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled Sync was not entitled to use a sewer connection with the adjacent Rotterdam Corporate Park. Then last month, a Saratoga County Supreme Court judge ruled the company would need to seek a zoning change before leasing units.
Now time is dwindling for the complex and its residents. Rotterdam officials have indicated the latest court ruling gives them the ability to have the company held in contempt of the order, cite Sync for violating town code by leasing apartments, or both.
Brick said Sync has secured an agreement with the Galesi Group that will allow the complex to continue using the sewer connection with the corporate park for the rest of the year.
He said the company has already filed for an out-of-district sewer connection with the town, but was informed the application wouldn’t be considered until the property is properly zoned.
“We’re leaving no stone unturned to work with the town and get the situation resolved,” he said.
Town Attorney Gerard Parisi doubted the new documentation unearthed by Sync would have any bearing on the situation. He said the company will have to convince the Town Board of the need to rezone the property to continue renting at the complex.
“I’ve said it all along they have a right to come in for a zone change,” he said.