Syracuse, NY, Auto Repair Shop Closer to Securing Permit Amid Zoning Dispute

Earlier this year, it was found the site, which has hosted an auto repair shop since 2011, is not zoned for that use.

Cars in various states of repair are shown in this image from Vick's Auto's Facebook page.

The Syracuse, NY, Planning Commission on May 28 recommended a special use permit for Vick’s Auto, after a zoning discrepancy was discovered earlier this year when the auto repair shop, located at 612 Wolf St., attempted to renew its state license.

The special use permit still needs to be approved by the Syracuse Common Council, which has not yet scheduled a meeting to vote on the issue.

The zoning issue came to light when property owner Angelo Chiodo, who has leased the building to auto repair shop owners since 2011, sought proof from the city the shop was authorized to operate under the zoning code. Chiodo did not expect any issues obtaining the necessary letter, given the history of city inspections and the site's longstanding use for auto repair.

However, it was found that vehicle repair was not a legal use on that block under the city's zoning code, prompting Chiodo to seek a solution to keep the shop open.

Initially, Chiodo considered seeking a use variance from the city Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). However, during a March 14 meeting, the board requested a detailed financial analysis of alternative uses for the site, such as pet grooming, a café or a childcare center. The board also suggested Vick’s Auto might need to relocate.

Chiodo withdrew his variance application and pursued a special use permit instead, which requires approvals from both the planning commission and the common council.

“Vick’s Auto will stay open, he’ll be in compliance, people will stay employed, and that’s a good thing for the people on Wolf Street,” Anthony Paris, the attorney representing Chiodo, told

The city's zoning staff has recommended that if the site stops being used for auto repair, Chiodo must make several changes, including installing fencing, repairing the sidewalk, adding buffers between the parking lot and street, and raising street curbing.

Chiodo’s efforts are supported by councilors Marty Nave and Pat Hogan, indicating positive momentum for the final approval from the common council.

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