Dear Homebuyer in Tarrytown,
It sounds like you have a mixed use zoned building. In this day and age of zoning in towns, it is very difficult to garner a mixed use variance. I stronly suggest that you check with the building department to find out if this house is "grandfathered in", because if it is and you change it to a full residential home, you may loose your mixed use zoning and this might significantly lower the resale value of this building. You also might be able to temporarily convert to a residential unit without changing the zoning, in that case your taxes would remain the same. Please make sure to acquire all necessary permits and C of O's. Banks and Title companies are very hesitant to give financing on structures with open permits and questionable improvements, which could affect whether or not a buyer can purchase and obtain funds.
I would ask the people in the building department for recommendations of attorneys. They work with them all the time, and they would know which attorney understands all their local laws and zoning codes.
April Gasparino, ABR, CBR, e-Pro, GRI, SRES