SENECA FALLS — About a week after Pipekeepers Tobacco & Gas opened at 126 E. Bayard St., Clint Halftown, the Cayuga Nation’s federally recognized leader, objected on the grounds it violated town zoning laws.
The town has sent a letter dated Sept. 24 to Oklahoma-based Seneca-Cayuga Nation, giving it one month to bring the property into compliance.
“It has come to the town’s attention that there is an apparent violation of the town’s zoning code at the property in that it is located in a R-1 residential zone and is being used for commercial purposes and an automobile service station and a local retail business,” Seneca Falls Code Enforcement Officer Richard Stabinsky wrote. “The town hereby requests that you bring the use of this property into compliance with the town’s code within 30 days of the date of this letter.”
That deadline would be Oct. 24.
Stabinsky told Seneca-Cayuga officials he attached the relevant section of the town zoning code.
“If you believe that this property is not being used in violation of the town code, please contact this office to review the situation,” Stabinsky said. “If you intend to bring the property into compliance by seeking a variance from the code, please contact this office and we can assist you with the required forms, etc. If you take no action or make other arrangements with this office within thirty days of the date of this letter, the town will begin formal enforcement action.”
As of Monday, Town Clerk Nicki Greer said Seneca Falls had not received a response to Stabinsky’s letter.
The Seneca-Cayuga Nation agreed this summer to lease the former Skydancer Smoke Shop and Gas Station, which had been closed the past eight years, to Dustin Parker, a member of the Cayuga Nation. Parker reopened the store Labor Day weekend, selling tobacco products and gasoline despite opposition from the Cayuga Nation and Halftown.
Parker declined to comment when contacted Monday.
The Oklahoma group is an offshoot off the original Cayuga Nation that had a 64,015-acre reservation around the northern end of Cayuga Lake in Seneca and Cayuga counties. The Seneca-Cayuga Nation bought the former Andrews Service Station in 2009 and, after demolishing the building, built a new facility and reopened it in 2011. It closed in 2013 after being raided by agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who seized cash and cigarettes being sold without charging sales tax.