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B'ville YMCA in jeopardy

By Erin Smith

The Northwest YMCA is facing a lawsuit.

Families for REAL (Residential Environment And Lifestyle) have sued to overturn the Empire State Development Corporation's approval to construct the Northwest YMCA at the corner of Drakes Landing and Route 31 in Radisson. The group cites their need to protect their quality of life, property values and preserve the safety of their community as reasons for the lawsuit.

"We support the YMCA and its efforts to come to Radisson, but I and hundreds of my neighbors feel strongly that a big, bustling Y with all its infrastructure and activity should not be located in our residential neighborhood, but rather, should be located in an area of Radisson designated for commercial land uses," said Todd Menickelli of 3314 Oak Brook Road.

The ESDC, the original developer of the Radisson planned unit development who is also named in the lawsuit, approved a special use of the land in January. According to an October 2004 Existing Conditions and Land Use Plan (available at the Lysander town offices), this area was designated for residential uses. The general project plan, however, has amendments (or special uses), one of which is community facilities. Karen Rice, clerk to the planning, zoning and codes in Lysander, said there is a letter on file (dated Jan. 8, 2008) prepared by Carol Berens, vice president/New Communities, ESDC. In that letter, the ESDC states it considers the Baldwinsville YMCA to be a community facility providing community and recreational services within the meaning and intent of the Radisson General Project Plan and Land Use Plan.

Families for REAL disagree and have hired attorney Douglas H. Zamelis of Manlius to represent them in their legal challenge.

"The proceeding does not seek money damages, only annulment of ESDC's determination that the Y qualifies as a special use in the residential zone," Zamelis said. "If petitioners are successful, it will nullify ESDC's determination. Petitioners are prepared to challenge any determination, which would allow the project to proceed."

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