A local non-profit that helps veterans is geared up for a different kind of battle. The group Operation Build Up fixes old cars, then gives them away.
The Conesus Town hall meeting was packed. Half the crowd wore black and white t-shirts. The other half sported patriotic garb. All were there for one cause.
“Marines don’t stand alone,” said Penny Punnett. “We take care of our own.”
Punett, like many, supports Justin Cogswell, founder of Operation Build Up. The organization restores old cars and furniture, then donates them to veterans.
In October they bought property in Conesus, where they continued their work. Cogswell tells News 8 he was told his group was breaking zoning code, and they could be fined up to $1,000 a day.
“All of a sudden we got these violations. Nobody wanted to come in and invest money into the property in case we have to leave, ” Cogswell said.
Town officials say at the heart of the complaint are concerns from neighbors.
“There were a number of vehicles on the property as well as an overhead door so we went out to find out what was going on, ” said Bob Lennington, Conesus Code Enforcement Officer.
Lennington explains that Cogswell’s property must be 1,000 feet from the main road, to use as commercial space.
Cogswell insists the land was sold to them under mixed use with different guidelines.
The town plans to send a surveyor to the property to make sure this veteran-owned business is zoned correctly. .
Next Town Hall meeting is scheduled for February 26, 2018. If you would like to donate to Operation Build Up, click here.