GLENVILLE -- The Glenville Town Board on Wednesday approved a zoning change that members believe will help preserve the historic Yates Mansion on Maple Avenue.
The 2-acre property at 133 Maple Ave. is being rezoned from multi-family to single-family, which Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said should discourage any developer from buying the aging and decrepit mansion just to tear it down and build a new apartment building on the site.
"The key is we're really looking to preserve it," Koetzle said.
The building, situated on a small hill overlooking Maple Avenue, was once the summer mansion of Joseph Yates, New York's seventh governor. It is now vacant.
Its most recent uses included apartments, but through a foreclosure, it is now owned by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., which has been trying to sell it. Buyers have looked at the property but none has struck a deal for the building.
Town officials said the structure needs extensive repairs.
Councilman James Martin, the board's planning liaison, said the multi-family designation for the mansion was out of character with the surrounding area, which is mostly single-family.
"I'm very pleased to see this happen," he said.
Amid rumors of someone wanting to buy the building to tear it down, the Town Board in December adopted a townwide moratorium on approving new multifamily projects. Wednesday's action means the lot can't be developed for apartments without a specific town approval.
Koetzle said a newly appointed committee is looking at whether the building could be purchased by the town and turned into a history center, though he acknowledged the town would need grant funding to do so.
The board also approved a zoning change that will allow a microdistillery to open at the former Rector fire house on Route 5. That project still needs final site plan approval from the town Planning Board, but town leaders support the concept, seeing it as complementing a planned maple sugar house and the Wolf Hollow brewery, which is also on Route 5 in West Glenville.
"That whole agri-tourism approach is something we're looking at," Koetzle said.