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Judge overturns planning board decision on rooming house on East Main Street, Batavia

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A Buffalo judge ruled this morning that the city must issue a rooming house permit to local rental property owner Terry Platt for a 12-room rooming house at 316 E. Main St., Batavia.

The city's planning board turned town Platt's application in May following strenuous objects from neighboring property owners and other residents, so Platt filed an Article 78 action asking the court to step in and review the case.

Judge John Curran found that Platt's plan did not violate the city's master plan, as the city maintained in its argument against granting the permit.

The city didn't contest, according to Platt's attorney Michael Perley, any other aspect of Platt's application.

Curran found, Perley said, that the city's master plan allows mixed use on East Main Street, and the rooming house fits within permitted uses.

But even if the master plan didn't allow for mixed use in that area of the city, Perley said Curran indicated he would have ruled in Platt's favor because he would have found the city's plan flawed.

"My client is pleased and I'm pleased for my client," Perley said. "We thought all along it was a proper and appropriate project. Mr. Platt has always run these dwellings in the city and he has run them well. We believe it will be an asset to the city and the city will be pleased with the rooming house and how Mr. Platt operates it."

Previously:

Thomas Mooney
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Its not about how he runs it . Its who he rents to .

The city doesn't need more places for the tenants he attracts

Gary Spencer
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Oh Contrare - there seems to be a big demand for rooming houses in Batavia, not only does Mr. Platt own many of them but so do other landlords!! He (and others) are simply filling a demand!! I understand people's concern with having "those people" in their neighborhood, but you really can't fault Mr. Platt for being a smart business man!!

John Roach
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Gary,
The issue with this was not that it was a boarding house. Like you said, there are a number of them around. It's this one is so close to two schools and the library, not to mention a major senior housing complex. This is not the best place for sex offenders to be living in. And sex offenders will be there.

Kyle Couchman
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Once again John not all parolees are sex offenders, and back when this was discussed then this house is the required distance from the school. The laws say nothing about the senior housing or libraries.

Sex offenders arent allowed on facebook, nor are they supposed to use computers but go thru our county's sex offender list and see how many have facebook accounts. Which require them to have access to the internet in some way.

I see alot of assumptions going on here that border on being prejudiced.

Gary Spencer
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John,
I understand the concern, however, there is also some positive aspect to this house being right on Main Street, makes them (sex offenders) more visable, unfortunately there are already sex offenders living in apartments/roomming houses near schools (62 Tracy Ave., 107 Washington Ave., and 212 State St)., to name a few. I am unsure what NY State laws are regarding how far from a school/church ext offenders are allowed to live? It is a tough delema, and as I said, I understand the concern, at one time there was an offender living 3 houses from me, his victem was 3 years old, I went door to door telling the neighborhood about him. I think that is the real answer, we need to be aware of where these sex offenders live, and spread the word to our neighbors! (It is unlawful to harass or intimate anyone On this list)
Also, as my friend Kyle points out, not all residents of rooming houses are sex offenders.

http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/SomsSUBDirectory/search_index.jsp?offe...

Kyle Couchman
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Just an FYI... sex offenders are prohibited from using Facebook. Take a look at their user agreement. Specifically: Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, 4. Registration and Account Security, Item 6, reflects: “You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.” Facebook goes a step further and provides a method for notifying them of convicted sex offenders on their site.

Why would Facebook have such a policy? They are a private concern and have a right to set their policy as long as it doesn’t discriminate. Sex offenders, last time I checked are not a protected class. So they can set their policy to not exclude them. Some users may actually join Facebook or at least feel some comfort in joining because of this policy. They join with the belief that sex offenders aren’t allowed on the website, a belief that is enforced by Facebook’s policy on reporting sex offenders for action. That is what is called “freedom of association,” another one of those constitutional rights we have. So a private company sets up a rule excluding a non-protected group from joining, a group that represents a risk to minors. I am sure the courts will decide whose rights are more compelling, the sex offender’s first amendment right or the general public’s to associate with whom they chose.

During the discussion we need not forget that SNS are fundamentally different from other communicationvenues in the real world. A sex offender can be anyone they want to be on a SNS. They can be kid or the opposite sex. They can pretend to be several different people, all in an attempt to entice or mislead a minor. They can’t easily accomplish these tricks in the real world. Additionally, in those public places in the real world there are police walking around…parents…other kids….folks that can stop them or at least identify them. A sex offender on a SNS can hide, manipulate, and prey, without much concern about someone seeing them and/or identifying them before they strike. It is different than the real world and the danger can be much higher indeed!

Beth Kinsley
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For clarification, once a sex offender is off parole or probation, they don't have any more rules/regulations placed on them than any other citizen, with the exception of the sex offender registration requirements. They can live anywhere they want. They can go to bars. They can watch porn all day on the internet if they want. If it is legal for you and I, it is legal for them.

Any special conditions listed on the Registry (no alcohol, etc) are followed by the disclaimer "The special conditions of release do not apply past the maximum expiration date of sentence because the offender is no longer under supervision by the listed supervising agency for this crime." Some local laws (county, city, town or village) restrict where a registered sex offender may live or travel but many of those have been invalidated by the courts. Batavia has no such law.

Facebook does not allow sex offenders and they'll shut down their accounts if it is brought to their attention. That doesn't mean it is illegal for a sex offender to get a FB account and certainly hasn't stopped many of them.

Kyle Couchman
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As of 2008 this is not the case.... There are rules for all people on the registry as part of the registration requirements.

The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act, added by Chapter 67 of the Laws of 2008, took effect on April 28, 2008.
The Act requires all registered sex offenders to report to DCJS any Internet accounts with Internet service providers belonging to such offenders and e-mail addresses and designations sed by such offenders for the purposes of chat, instant messaging, social networking or other similar internet communication. In addition, a registered sex offender must notify the Division no later than 10 days after any change of the above-mentioned Internet information.
Failure to comply is a crime. It is an E felony upon conviction for the first failure to comply with any registration requirement and a D felony for any subsequent conviction. Failure to register, verify or provide the required information as described above may also be the basis for revocation of parole or probation.
The Act authorizes the DCJS, upon request, to provide sex offender internet information to social networking websites which have members under the age of 18. The websites may use the information to prescreen or remove sex offenders from their services and/or advise law enforcement of potential threats to public safety and/or violations of law.

Beth Kinsley
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I stand corrected Kyle. I guess my information is a little (a lot!) outdated.

Greg Rada
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I give you credit Kyle for knowing all that. Lol

My issue with this is that Mr Platt is a very poor landlord. He has bent, broke, and ignored laws and codes to make a buck. I use to be a tent years back and I personally know 2 of his current tenants. Ones is crammed into a single bed room with her daughter of a 2 bedroom apartment with a very unpleasant felon renting the other bedroom. More over the little girls juice keeps getting tainted with alcohol. Mr Platt needs to fix the horrid problems in his current properties and prove "his business" is wanted before he's allowed to open more property.
He's not a horrible guy, he has decency in him. But he's got to clean up his mess.

Kyle Couchman
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After managing property in collegetown in Ithaca for 20 years Greg, I know that I know a few tenants of his. People dont realize what their rights are as tenants. I dont believe its legal to put a felon in with a single mother in a two bedroom apartment. Thats not a boarding situation thats a roomate situation. But I know alot of the slumlords lock out people or illegally evict without going to court. Some cases the tenant doesn't fight, but in others people are so intimidated by landlords that they dont stand up for their rights.

A decent guy wouldnt force a single mother to room with a felon with this kind of thing going on.

Beth it's ok I got out of property management in 2010 after 20 years of dealing with cornell students. I can tell you cornell law students can be pretty arrogant when it comes to leases and contracts. Experience is the most brutal teacher LOL

Kyle Couchman
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Greg the only reason I take John to task on this is he likes to swap felon with sex offender to make his position more concrete and one sided. As we all know people make mistakes and can learn to become good people. However usually sex offenders have underlying psychosis that cause their behavior. And if you use sex offender which even felons themselves hate, you get more sympathy for your cause. I think its only fair all around to be open rather than place a generalization.

Kyle Couchman
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Just some interesting reading for you all... Since there have been no significant legal changes that effect it since 2011 this is a general publication for NYS (not just nyc) tenants on their rights. You may be very surprised at some, http://www.ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Tenant_Rights...

Greg Rada
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Kyle, I was speaking quite broadly as I've seen many of your posts and you seem quite knowledgeable. Many props. Smile

Kyle Couchman
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No problem Greg I meant no offense and took none away. I like to impart the whys of my stances and thinking on subjects when possible and not to disruptive. You probably know the school of hard knocks and life in general can be pretty educational.

Frank Bartholomew
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Why is Mr.Platt a bad guy Mr. Mooney? For putting property on the tax roll, keeping the property up to code, making an investment for financial gain, apparently you just don't like Mr. Platt.
If the offenders are putting roots down in Batavia, it really doesn't matter who they rent from, nor should it.

Regardless of how we feel about the crimes they committed, they served their time,
and are allegedly rehabilitated per the state docs. If they pose a danger, then why were they released from prison? If you need someone to be angry with Mr. Mooney,
be mad at the judge, the parole board, or whomever is responsible for these predators to be on the streets again.

John Roach
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Frank,
The issue is not Mr. Platt.

The property is already on the tax roles. It's value is not likely to go up and will probably lower the values of nearby properties.

And it's not the investment or desire for monetary gain that is wrong. It is the location and the risk to children and the elderly, which it seems he has no regard for.

News flash: The state does not say anyone is rehabilitated. Most are released by legal dates such as maximum time served or other mandatory release dates.

Frank Bartholomew
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John, Mr Mooney clearly stated that Mr. Platt attracts a certain group as tenants.
And I was being sarcastic as to the docs ever rehabing anyone any time soon.
What I'm saying is we need to change the law, to stiffen up the prison time, and a life sentence for repeat offenders.

If the issue isn't Mr. Platt, why do you mention his diregard for others safety?

david spaulding
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any one tell me why a judge from Buffalo (erie co.) is making decisions about issues in Batavia ? Do we not have judges in Batavia or Genesee Co. that qualify to hear these cases and make these kind of decisions?

Greg Rada
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Frank, I clearly stated what is wrong with Mr Platt.

Mark Janofsky
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I'd like to see the judge make Mr Platt move into or next door to one of his rentals.

Mark Janofsky
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Didn't Mr Platt previously say he was giving up on Batavia?

Dave Olsen
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The whole point of the case is that neither any judge or the city council can tell people where they can or cannot live.

Mark Brudz
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The Judge in Buffalo is a District Court Judge, it came before him because Terry appealed the local decision David. That is exactly how the system is supposed to work, without an appellate system, individuals are at the mercy of the mob.

That all said, David Olsen is closer to the truth on this and it appears the District court Judge agreed.

The argument against Terry Platt in this case neglects one fact. The proposal is outside the limits of the sex offenders law as far as location in relation to churches and schools, and while they are in proximity, they are not too close under the letter of the law. Therefore the legal argument goes

As to John Roaches concerns I say this. Would I want to live next to a rooming house in general? No! Would I want to live next to ex-con's from sexual cases or otherwise? No! That all said, there is an inherent RIGHT for someone to live in a city, this is not the old west, heck, the old west wasn't the old west. We can not set a precedent that says "I Don't like your kind, just get out of town" If we do that than who next?

As far as bashing Terry Platt as a slum lord goes, some who have rented from him hate him, some who have rented from him love him, just like any other landlord. Terry Platt has generated more tax revenue, keep more buildings vital and provided many a struggling young family in this community a place to live than the majority of posters on this site combined. And he did it all legally and through his own hard work. It is not like he runs buildings down to dust and takes the money and runs.

Frank Bartholomew
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Greg, I clearly stated I was talking to John, and Mark just pointed out what is right with Mr. Platt.
Sounds like some of you have an ax to grind.
Get over yourselves and mind your own business.
I can't stand "pet peevers" looking to gang up on a legit business man. Why don't
you all go to Wal-mart and check parked cars for out dated inspections.

By the way Greg, I don't think any of Mr. Platt's tenents are being forced to live in
any of Mr. Platt's properties, they chose to be there.

Kyle Couchman
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Frank I agree with you on some points. However they don't have to "get over themselves" nor do they have to "mind their own business". The forming Batavia neighborhood watch group is all about NOT just minding your own business but watching out for your neighbors and letting police know what problems are where. So maybe we dont have to see these neighborhood sweeps happen.

The may very well have axes to grind and it's their right to speak out on it just as you and I have a right to... Even good landlords have done some things that arent entirely right and make errors. That doesn't mean we just give them a pass.

Why don't you go to Albany and lobby to have tobacco and alcohol made illegal as drugs are or have drugs made legal as tobacco or alcohol is. Either way it doesnt make a damn bit of difference we all have a right to speak, and respond to opinions now don't we?

Frank Bartholomew
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Kyle, making Mr.Platt out to be a slumlord, or a person who doesn't care about
his friends and neighbors in the city is a little stronger than an opinion.

Every time we allow anyones rights to be infringed on, we open another door, and
bring ourselves one step closer to becoming a total police state.

George Zimmerman is my first reason to dislike neighborhood watch groups.
My second reason would be a member of said group getting killed or injured.
Let the police do what they get paid to do, enforce the law.

In my neighborhood, we have our own watch group, about 6 or 7 dogs barking
from homes on our street, alerting the entire street that something doesn't smell quite right. I let my 100 lb.chow shepard out to have a sniff around, and show off
her big white shiny sharp teeth.

Kyle Couchman
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No Frank its an opinion regardless. No more valid or invalid than yours.

As for neighborhood watches you are aware that Zimmerman when he did his shooting was not acting according to the bylaws of his neighborhood watch group and he was removed from it for not following the dispatcher's instructions. Even So what you are saying is one guy represents the whole neighborhood watch system Frank, that seems a little ridiculous don't you think?

You claim that infringing on people's rights brings us closer to a police state, but when people use that 1st amendment right and speak opinions you don't agree with they have to shut up and mind their own business? That seems like a double standard Frank.

Frank Bartholomew
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Kyle, you either can't read, or can't comprehend, Mr. Roach clearly stated that Mr. Platt has no regard for the risk to the elderly and to children. That's a statement, not an opinion.
I don't like the idea of untrained vigilantes running loose in my neighborhood, if that floats your boat Kyle, have at it.
I did not at any time tell anyone to shut up, those would be your words, not mine.

I'll pass on a trip to Albany, I wouldn't waste my time trying to lobby such a disfunctional bunch of buffoons. Not sure where your'e going with the drugs and alcohol comment. I personally don't care if they all become legal, or they all become illegal, I don't use, so it wouldn't make no never mind to me either way.

George Zimmerman was my reason Kyle, I didn't say or isinuate that anyone else
would or should share that opinion. I also noticed your lack of a response per my second reason.?
Another reason I dislike the watch program is due to incidents that have pitted neighbor against neighbor.
If a neighborhood feels a watch program would help everyone sleep better, then go
for it, again, if its not my neighborhood, it's not my business.

Kyle Couchman
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Before you go calling people untarined vigilantes maybe you should learn what a neighborhood watch is really about. Otherwise your "opinions" look ignorant and uninformed.

As for my reading skills they are just fine. I re-read John Roach's comment and it is still not a statement it was an opinion.

So if you weren't telling people to shut up what was the intent of this statement you made?

Frank: "Sounds like some of you have an ax to grind.
Get over yourselves and mind your own business.
I can't stand "pet peevers" looking to gang up on a legit business man."

I guess since you dont follow your own words of advice above, we dont have to either. After all people who believe "do as I say not as I do" can't be taken too seriously. Go back to your yard and your dog and your own little world Frank. Maybe after we get the real one improved you like to join us in it, or not... Wont matter to anyone in the long run.

Frank Bartholomew
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Kyle, shut up hasn't magically appeared in my comment yet, so I will stay in my own world, don't care for yours, to much imaginary shit happening there.

By the way, do you have a mouse in your pocket, or do you consider yourself as "we".?

Peter O'Brien
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Look at you! Having it out in the comments section!

Ed Hartgrove
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It's called "cabin fever", Peter. That's what happens when people go days (or weeks) without being able to go outside and enjoy the sun and the warmth it provides.

I "sort of" remember what that was like (faint memory).

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