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Canton village resident wants zone change for apartments

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CANTON - A Railroad Avenue resident will have to wait until next month to find out if the village board will approve a zoning change that would allow him to convert a single-family home into two or three apartments.

Richard W. Grover, 2 Railroad Ave, wants a house he owns next dooor at 4 Railroad Ave. to be rezoned from Residential-1 to Residential-2.

Following a public hearing Monday evening, the village board held off making a decision because they had procedural questions for Village Attorney Gerald J. Ducharme, who was absent from the meeting. The board is expected to make a decision at its April 7 meeting.

According to village code, R-1 districts are restricted to single-family homes, while R-2 zones allow multiple-family units. Mr. Grover purchased the two-story home two years ago for $12,500 at a St. Lawrence County tax sale auction after the property was seized for unpaid taxes.

He wants to restore the adjacent Victorian-style home, which has fallen into disrepair. He would like to rent to couples or small families, but is not ruling out the possibility of renting to college students.

All of the other properties on Railroad Avenue are already zoned R-2 so the switch wouldn’t alter the neighborhood’s character, he said.

“I’m pursuing the idea of renovating it into two or three apartments,” Mr. Grover said. “There’s a lot of work to do, but the home is structurally sound. There’s not a lot of rental housing choices in Canton, so I’m told.”

The village planning board reviewed the request and does not oppose the zone change. The St. Lawrence County Planning Office returned the request for local action with a recommendation that local officials consider the impact on traffic.

Mr. Grover said the dead-end street receives very few cars and he doesn’t believe two or three apartments would have a large impact. None of the adjoining property owners attended the hearing and no concerns were submitted in writing.

“There’s no traffic on this road. You could probably count on one hand the number of vehicles that come down this road,” he said. “I hope to make this an asset to the community and the village.”

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