Lysander: Melvin Farms catalyst for TDR

Six years ago, development threatened the scenic view of the Seneca River valley.

At that time, a developer had purchased the old Melvin Farms property and was requesting a zone change from the town board to double the amount of homes he could place on the [300] acres of land to 600 units. Residents came out in force during the public hearing to protest the zone change.

"There was a perception this would change the look of the peninsula, which residents were opposed to," said Lysander supervisor Barry Bullis. "They wanted the town to stop it."

While an unfavorable traffic study caused the developer to withdraw his zone change application, the process and residents' reactions prompted the board to take a hard look at growth on the Cold Springs Peninsula: evaluating the area's unique characteristics and reviewing the town's comprehensive plan.

According to the 2000 census, Lysander is the fastest growing town in central New York and Cold Springs is an ideal place to move to because it has the best of both worlds -- close proximity to the city and a country-like environment due to a mixture of farmlands and developments. In addition to the surroundings, the peninsula also has the capacity for increased utilities such as water and sewage. On the other hand, with three access routes (Route 48 bridge in Baldwinsville, Belgium Bridge along Route 31 and the Route 370 bridge near Onondaga Lake Park) from the city of Syracuse, the peninsula doesn't have the road infrastructure to support a significant increase in traffic to the area, so growth is limited.

To preserve the agricultural vistas while providing equitable and sustainable growth, officials needed a way to preserve farmlands and encourage smart development.

"We're better off concentrating development where utilities are and keeping open spaces and large land masses in areas that can't handle the infrastructure," said Town Engineer Robert Hornaday of Barton & Loguidice.

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