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Sun., Aug. 30
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena supervisor wants trailer code changed


MASSENA - Several years ago, the Massena Town Council approved a zoning code change limiting single-wide mobile home construction to trailer parks.

Now, Supervisor Joseph D. Gray wants the code changed again to allow single-wides in more places. Mr. Gray was not on the board when it approved the change.

“I don’t think it’s fair that people of certain economic measures can’t put a trailer outside a trailer park,” he said. “I have not heard a convincing argument as to why we don’t allow them ... My guess was it flew under everyone’s radar and wasn’t really discussed.”

The change was deliberate, according to Code Enforcement Officer Gregory C. Fregoe. The town retained a consulting firm and revamped several parts of the zoning code, including provisions on trailer parks, several years ago. The zoning board and town council ultimately approved those changes too, he said.

The zoning board determined single-wides could lower the value of surrounding properties, Mr. Fregoe said.

“That was the pretense at the time,” he said.

In a few years, he has dealt with several property owners who wanted to site single-wides outside of trailer parks and had to explain the new rules, he said.

Mr. Gray said there may still need to be some restrictions on single-wides, but thinks town residents should have more options than just trailer parks for them.

“Obviously, we’re not going to put them in the middle of (Vance) Fleury’s development,” Mr. Gray said, referring to Rivercrest Terrace, a subdivision of mid-to-high priced homes in the town.

Mr. Fleury, who was on the zoning board during the code revisions, could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Gray said he would like the town council to establish a public hearing on changing the code. He was not yet sure where else residents should be able to site single wide trailers.

“If there’s overwhelming opposition to it, then we won’t change it,” he said.

Councilman John F. Macaulay said limiting single-wides to trailer parks may be sufficient. He was not necessarily in favor of expanding that code.

“I thought trailer parks would be enough,” he said. “I think we’d have difficulties in residential areas if we allow new trailers to move in.”

“Most people would have an issue if there was an empty lot near their house ... and somebody put a single-wide trailer there,” he said. “Others may feel differently ... somebody may be able to convince me otherwise.”

Last month, the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-0 to reject a use variance application made by a widow hoping to move to Massena to be closer to her children.

Carol Lawrence of Burke applied for a variance to allow her to place a single-wide trailer on a plot at 913 Hammill Road owned by Richard LaChance. While the plot was once home to a former single-wide, that was before the revised law passed.

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