The Village Board of Oakfield has proposed rezoning the Water Street area in an effort to provide more parking space and longtime resident David Boyle is a vocal opponent of it.
His Forest Avenue home is parallel to Water Street and the area would go from residential to commercial. He and at least a dozen neighbors are upset about it, he said.
“This affects 14 different properties,” Boyle said. “Who wants to buy a house in a commercial zone? Would a bank even give you a mortgage? There could be insurance issues and property values would fall as the homes are devalued.”
Mayor Jeremy Yasses said that there is a need for more parking space and the board is discussing it and performing due diligence.
Last week the board agreed to put out a request for proposals to get a parking lot study done. Yasses would not commit to any timeline, since the request was published.
“We’re going through the process and taking the necessary steps and there will eventually be a public hearing on the matter,” Yasses said.
Oakfield’s request for zoning amendments went to Genesee County's Planning Board. That application was to rezone the north side of Water Street from residential to commercial use. The county board took no action after the request, so the application will go back to the Village Board, which has the final vote.
Water Street has five homes on it across the street from Crazy Cheap Cars, a used vehicle dealership that operates in a commercial zone. There is a vacant lot in the middle of Water Street. While neither the dealership nor its owner, Mike Ognibene, own the vacant lot, the dealer's employees do park their own cars on the lot.
The lot is owned by Bonnie Ognibene.
Boyle believes that the village wants more parking spaces simply for Crazy Cheap Cars to park its vehicles.
“The car dealership is the only one who stands to gain anything,” Boyle said.
Three years ago, an attempt was made to get a zoning variance for the vacant lot and the request was denied.
This past April, the dealership asked Genesee County Planning Board for the right to use a vacant lot next to them to park unlicensed, unregistered vehicles until they are shipped out to auction and that permit was rejected.
“Moving the entire area to a commercial zone with the ability to park cars would disturb the quality of life there,” Boyle said. “The bottom line is that residents are having the rug pulled out from under them in order to create parking that would devalue their homes and disrupt our quality of life – it’s just not right.”
UPDATE: The story was updated to clarify ownership of the vacant lot on Water Street.