SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Exactly a year ago this month, NewsChannel 9’s Julia LeBlanc spoke with local developer, Jim Raite about his plans to build townhouses on Tipperary Hill. The lot sits on the corner of S. Wilbur Ave and Bryant Ave, where the old Davis Florist used to be.
In a year’s time, the builders haven’t made any major progress and our viewers are wondering, what’s going on?
“I’ve got, probably a quarter of a million dollars invested in this half-acre lot, that I’m just sitting on,” said Jim Raite, President of Time Cap Inc.
Raite said he did get the approval to build the seven townhouses here four years ago. But ever since then, he said he’s been trying to connect back with the city and get his building permit for the project. However, every time he does, he says he faces roadblocks.
“They sent me a letter, drafted, saying that I had approval for seven townhouses. Now the city said, I have to build multi-family…I can’t build townhouses and sell them. And they said that if I sold townhouses I’d have to break them up into seven different lots,” Raite said.
To view those original plans and the approval from the Office of Zoning Administration click below.
So, what’s going on here? In short, the city said Raite wants to sell each townhouse separately, which would end up being seven different units. But, the city says, it’s not zoned for that. The property is zoned for one building.
Here is the full statement from City Hall:
“The City of Syracuse supports development at this site. The developer has expressed a different concept to City staff that is inconsistent from the zoning approval provided in 2018 and is incompatible with Code review as presented. The City has requested and met with the developer on four separate occasions and continues to be available and responsive to inquiries. Despite the City’s efforts to assist in advancing the project, the developer still has not presented revised plans nor revisions to required environmental assessments for review. The City of Syracuse wants to see a project move forward and is hopeful the developer will comply with the requirements of local and state law as met by other developers.”Jake Dishaw, Director of Code Enforcement for the City of Syracuse
In response to this statement from city hall, Raite said he is in compliance, and his plan hasn’t changed since he drafted it years ago when it was first approved. He has since got an extension on those plans.
“They just keep telling me I can’t have townhouses. I really don’t understand, I’m like, confused,” Raite said. “Let’s all get together and have a meeting. Either I’m going to build it or I’m not going to build it. But, don’t waste my time.”
It’s a standstill situation, but both sides say they want to see development at the lot.
Since reaching out on this story, a spokesperson for the City of Syracuse has said they will get in touch with the developer to try and clear things up. But Raite says if he’s not allowed to sell his townhouses in the way he wants, as separate units, he plans to back out of the project.
“Whatever they want is want they get. If I want something, doesn’t matter,” Raite said.