Home Occupation Apvd.
Chiropractic Office Apvd. Despite Allegations
Story by John Thomas
In a dramatic last-minute twist to the public hearing of the Town Planning Board, Dr. Leo Kronert’s application for a chiropractic office in his home was approved. Mr. Kronert had applied to the Board for a special use permit for his home business. The applicant is currently in the process of buying the home on Rt. 242 and said he would use two rooms on the ground floor for the business. One will be a waiting area, and the other will be his adjustment room. The second floor will continue as a rental apartment. Town Planner Gary Palumbo confirmed the building has two dwelling units, one on each floor. He also said the home is in the Medium Density Residential District and a home occupation is allowed. Mr. Kronert explained his chiropractic business, saying he believes in a philosophy of health. He also indicated he has a draft agreement with Fitzpatrick and Weller to enable his clients to cross Fitzpatrick and Weller property to park in his driveway.
Parking seemed to be the biggest concern for the Board. They made it clear to the applicant that parking on the road would not be allowed and that all clients must park in his driveway. The Chiropractor said his appointments are 15 to 20 minutes apart and said he does allow drop-ins, and felt they should not create a problem.
A gentleman at the meeting identified himself as a neighbor and asked what type of sign Dr. Kronert was planning. Mr. Palumbo pointed out only a single sign allowed for a home occupation. It must be less than two feet square, and posted next to the entry for the business. He said its only purpose is to indicate to a client the entrance door. The gentleman seemed satisfied with that.
The public hearing was closed. Mr. Palumbo went on with the requirements for all home occupations. It must not change the character of the building; the business must be confined to the residence or accessory structure. There can be no outdoor storage or display. The business can cause no electronic interference, dust, noise or smoke, and there can be no retail sales or merchandise. All parking must be on site, and there can be no more than four delivery vehicle stops per day including the post office, Fed-X, UPS, and others. The board began to consider the conditions for approval of the special use permit. The draft agreement with Fitzpatrick and Weller would have to be signed, and all standards for a home business would have to continue to be met.
At this point, Mark Reinhard, a neighbor to Dr. Kronert, entered the meeting and asked to address the board. Although the public hearing had been closed, he was allowed to read from a letter he had planned to submit to the board. (Mr. Reinhard provided a copy of the letter to The Villager). In it he alleges Dr. Kronert had, for years, submitted false claims for payment to Medicare and private insurers “seeking reimbursement for services he did not provide.” Reinhard said Dr. Kronert submitted false claims for a total of $92,000 and contended Kronert had not paid back the full amount of that money. The letter went on to state Dr. Kronert should not receive any special treatment or a “special variance” for his business.
Dr. Kronert asked to address the board saying he admitted he had made false claims and had repaid “every dime” of the money. He added he was no longer the man he was when he made the false claims, saying, “I have changed, and will be a positive aspect of this community.” Palumbo said the Planning Board considers land use and the applicant’s legal issues are outside the Planning Board’s jurisdiction.. The board took up the resolution of the special use permit again and passed the approval.
Mr. Reinhard provided two Internet addresses for backing up his claims. One was a DOJ site that contained a press release confirming the FBI investigation into the charges when Kronert was a resident in Frewsburg. He was convicted of the charges sometime around March of this year. The other site was from the Jamestown Post-Journal dated March 11, 2017. It specifies the date for the fraudulent claims as between January 2011 and December 2015. The story says Kronert paid $59,449 in restitution and was sentenced to six months of home confinement and three years of post-release supervision.