SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM) — Charlie Todd, owner of Chamberlain Acres Garden Center & Florist, said he has been “bullied” by the Town of Southport and is now asking for help from the state and community.
In April 2021, Todd first spoke with 18 News and discussed the issues he has been having with the Town of Southport.
After attempting to construct a 60-by-80 foot building to improve Chamberlain Acres’ weekly farmer’s market, zoning issues arose and the town demanded his business become an event center.
“I was finding out the parameters of what I had to do,” said Todd. “At the time that I spoke to the code officer in the town of Southport, he informed me that I was already approved for the farmer’s market and there really wasn’t any major set back or restrictions at that time.”
Now 18 months into this process, Todd said he has been bullied and the deputy town supervisor has been against him from the start.
As a matter of fact, when I did my first public posts that we were doing this project and that Chemung Canal had funded us for this project, which was huge for a local bank. Within an hour and a half of me posting, Joe Roman, who is my deputy town supervisor, felt the need to call my attorney at her home and try to have a conversation with her about my post. All my post [said] was basically ‘Hey folks, look at this. Isn’t this wonderful we’re going to put up a building. We’re going to improve our farmers market not expand it’.Charlie Todd, Owner of Chamberlain Acres Garden Center & Florist
“I shut my mouth, which I shouldn’t have,” said Todd. “In hindsight, we’re now 18 to 19 months into it and the catastrophic loss that they have put me in [has] just absolutely destroyed us financially.”
Todd asserted that Sen. Tom O’Mara and Chemung County Executive, Chris Moss, have not been of great assistance.
18 News reached out to the council members for the Town of Southport, the Chemung County Executive’s Office, and Senator Tom O’Mara’s office, but we have not heard back as of Jul. 9.
Todd now is attempting to get help from the state.
“The New York State Attorney General’s Office has asked me to compile all my information for them and to get it sent in,” said Todd. “So I am in the process of doing that.”
Todd said, along with the state, he is asking for the public to help. A GoFundMe for his business was created in June 2021. It has raised over $1,000 as of Jul. 9.
18 News will continue to follow this story as more updates become available.