Petition started to help Chamberlain Acres amid planning board stall

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – A petition has been created in support of Chamberlain Acres after their expansion proposal was repeatedly denied by the Southport Town Planning Board.

Back in February 2020, owners of Chamberlain Acres Garden Center and Florist say they decided to make needed infrastructural improvements by adding an additional building.

“We actually wanted to start a project, to add a 60/80 building to the back of the 100-foot-green-house,” said owner Charlie Todd. “The whole idea was to bring in a natural gas line, water lines, and sewer lines so we could have two bathrooms.”

Town puts wrench in local small business improvement project, owners out thousands of dollars

Over 15 months, Chamberlain Acres faced multiple roadblocks from the town, along with a new code created just for them.

Now, they are in the hole $30,000 and still have no building.

Following WETM’s original report of the story, the town responded with the following statement:

In response to concerns that have arisen regarding Chamberlain Acres Garden Center and Florist in the Town of Southport, the Town would like to reaffirm its support of this and all local businesses. Businesses within the Town of Southport, as within other towns, must comply with local zoning and code laws. The purpose of these local laws and regulations is to ensure that all businesses receive equitable treatment and the neighborhood within which the business is located is not adversely affected by its operations. Chamberlain Acres’ applications and various changes in its applications have been welcomed and processed properly through the various boards. However, this process was delayed at different times due the applicant’s plan changes and need for additional information. Chamberlain Acres has been accommodated throughout each step of the process and its application before the planning board remains open awaiting a response to a final request for documents.

KATHLEEN SZERSZEN – SOUTHPORT TOWN SUPERVISOR

18 News spoke with Todd to get his view on this response.

“I haven’t gotten any support from the town supervisor or the top four officials or the town attorney,” said Todd. “For 15 months, they have 100% fought me from the very start. I went to them for help before I funded the project and was told that I could put the project up. As soon as I got in there, all of the sudden everything had changed.”

Todd said all he has done is try and help the community. After losing $30,000 during the pandemic, he does not know how to get it back without taking legal action.

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