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Stairs stump the village of Aurora zoning board of appeals

Railroad history and court-made property lines complicate an Aurora resident's hope of adding stairs to her dock.

During a regular zoning board of appeals meeting in the village of Aurora Wednesday night, a public hearing was held regarding Cynthia Koepp's request for an area variance at her 327 Main St. home. She is seeking a variance to be able to have access from her dock to her lakeshore property.

ZBA Chair Karen Hindenlang said history makes this variance a bit more unique. In the 19th century the railroad came to Aurora along the east side of Cayuga Lake, she said, and in the 1970s and 1980s when the railroad moved out, the company offered for homeowners to buy the 40 feet of land between the back of the homeowners' yards and the lake.

Laura Holland's property was one of the homes that took advantage of the 40 feet extension, Hindenlang said, but due to Wells College declining the offer to buy the land, the Holland property also acquired some of that railroad strip to the south and north of its property line, turning their property into a T-shaped lot.

Then, when people bought some of the college's properties about 20 years later, they didn't buy the railroad property from the neighbors, she said. Koepp's property is one of these.

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