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Batavia Zoning Board rejects plan for apartment complex

BATAVIA – The city Zoning Board of Appeals has denied a final request by V.J. Gautieri Constructors to divide its Liberty Street building into a dozen apartments, leaving the company president to contemplate his next move.

“We’re back to square one,” Victor J. Gautieri said after last week’s 3-1 decision by the Zoning Board to deny his request to place residential dwellings in the 13,000-square-foot facility, which currently is in a commercial zone.

Paul McCarthy, Sandra Licata and Emma Morrill voted against a variance, which would have allowed the apartments in the one-floor building, while Deborah Kerr-Rosenbeck voted in favor of Gautieri’s application.

As it stands, buildings in the C-3 downtown district cannot include residential units.

The Zoning Board’s ruling followed similar recommendations by the Genesee County Planning Board and Batavia Planning and Development Committee. The Zoning Board stated that it didn’t want to set a precedent.

Gautieri said he doesn’t believe that his property “fits the mold of other C-3 buildings that are right on the street” and felt that the one- and two-bedroom apartments – which would have been rented at market rate – would not have affected the character of the neighborhood.

He said his firm has no immediate alternative plans.

“We’re at the mode of trying to see what we can do to redevelop the property,” Gautieri said, adding that he has been unsuccessful in attracting businesses looking for office space and any retail ventures because the building sits well back from Liberty Street.