BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Plans for a “skinny” house on a narrow lot in Buffalo are becoming a reality. Angry neighbors have been joined by Buffalo’s Preservation Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, but that hasn’t slowed the project down.
Construction is underway on Linwood Avenue. It’s only a few feet away from the home next door. And neighbors here say they’re not happy with the owners plans to build such a big house on such a small lot. Sandra Hodala lives next door.
She said, “It’s just wrong that people can get away with anything they want to get away with.” She’s been fighting this development project for three years. She said, “Small lots are dangerous. Building inspectors don’t like small lots because of the placement of gas lines, sewer lines and water lines.”
In fact, she says the sidewalk did collapse on the gas lines last week, which she says could have been very dangerous. She says neighbors also worry Timothy Sick’s plan will ruin the neighborhood character. But Sick says hes well within his rights as a homeowner.
He said, “Everything has to be by the book. This is the safety of somebody’s home. So I’m very aware, because this isn’t my first rodeo. We’ve done 85 homes in Buffalo.”
The house falls within Common Council President Darius Pridgens’ district. He says he understands neighbors concerns, but there’s not much he can do to stop the project:
Pridgen said, “Tiny homes are becoming trendy. I don’t think this is the last tiny home we’ll see here. And if they’re within the law, there’s not much the council can do to change that: unless we change the law.”
Hodala says plans were denied by the zoning board three times. But these rulings by the Preservation Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals were overruled by the city’s law department. Hodala said, “Somehow the owner managed to get a memo from the law department saying it was okay for him to do this.”
Sick said, “(The law department from the City of Buffalo said any lot of record before 1953 is a build-able lot.” Sick says he plans to mimic the original house design. Creating a two family duplex which he plans to rent out or sell. He said, “Everybody has worked with me on this, and they’re crossing their “T’s” and dotting their “I’s.”