HONESDALE - A property owner said Tuesday he will appeal borough council's denial of a conditional-use application he had submitted in seeking to establish ground-floor apartments on Main Street.

The appeal would be filed in commonwealth court. The property owner, Nicholas Bamonte, would not say on what grounds he is appealing and referred questions to his lawyer. The lawyer, A.G. Howell, did not return calls Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier this month borough council denied the New York resident's application for ground-floor apartments at the former Hanson building at 1037 Main Street.

Bamonte has six second-floor apartments in the building and had sought to add two more on the ground floor. 

He had stressed to council that the front of the building, currently vacant, would house a store. 

The storefront would be about 1,400 square feet and the proposed two rear, ground-floor, two-bedroom apartments would be about 800 square feet each.

Main Street is zoned C-1 - commercial/retail/office and the ground-floor apartments needed to be conditionally approved since they would have been a nonconforming use.

One of the main issues council expressed concerned parking.

One issue that could possibly be addressed on appeal is that parking restrictions are not addressed in a C-1 district, though council could have placed restrictions on parking during the conditional-use process. 

Howell also noted, during a hearing earlier this month, that a ground-floor dwelling - or apartment - is not incompatible with local law.

But Councilman Harry DeVrieze, chairman of the building and zoning committee, said he is confident council made the right decision. He noted there was a large "public outcry" against the ground-floor apartments and his vote was based on "the voice of the people."

The councilman also noted that the proposal went against the comprehensive plan and was not recommended by the borough planning commission.

Several property owners had spoken against Bamonte's proposal, saying there would be parking issues and ground-floor apartments would jeopardize the character of the neighborhood.

Howell had also noted that The Cottage at 622 Church Street - in the same C-1 district - had been a business before being allowed by the borough to convert to residential last year with ground-floor apartments.

DeVrieze, however, said the owner of the Cottage resides in the building, has off-street parking and is not looking to rent out space.

Daniel J. Hnatko, the borough's zoning/code enforcement officer, noted that there are several buildings with ground-floor apartments on Main and Church streets, though a number of them predated the zoning ordinance and were grandfathered in.