New zoning stirs Lakeland emotions

A public hearing to create recreation districts in the town of Geddes turned into a public argument for and against the expansion of Pope's Grove Golf Course on State Fair Boulevard at the Geddes town board meeting Wednesday Nov. 12.

The proposal to consider creating a new zoning district in the town that would allow specific zoning for recreational businesses was the direct result of a recent application of Pope's Grove owner Walter Pope to expand the driving range into a full golf course, some Lakeland residents argued.

"We're creating a new district available anywhere in the town," explained Gilligan. He clarified several times throughout the meeting that the zoning district would not be for one specific location in the town, but would allow for the creation of recreationally-zoned businesses anywhere in the town.

Though Geddes Supervisor E. Robert Czaplicki and town attorney Kevin Gilligan maintained the amendment was not in response to a specific application, residents expressed both concerns and support for the expansion of Pope's Grove.

Ed Majowski objected to the zoning district, calling it "too commercial." He feared that changing the zoning of a property to recreational would make it too easy for future developers to change the zoning to allow for retail or business facilities.

Gilligan pointed out that any restaurant, etc. that would be allowed under the recreational zone would have to be applied for and would require a direct connection to the recreational facitility on-site - such as a club house erected on a golf course.

"It can do a lot of things for any are in the town of Geddes, I happen to be here on the notion of this could affect me personally due to the golf course, and I completely agree with this, its a great project and the town of Geddes needs to move forward, it needs to have new things come to it," said Carol Delia, of Armstrong Road.

Delia's comments were echoed by several Lakeland residents, including Geddes Comptroller Greg Maxwell, who lives on Scorpio Drive.

"There are several areas in the town that could be positively affected. I one-hundred percent recommend the town board approve the zone," Maxwell said.

Rose Sladick, who has lived in Lakeland for more than 70 years,

"I don't understand why this is such a big issue. The golf course is going to help the community," Sladick said.

She said there was not such an opposition when Pope's Grove was initially established, in the 1960s.

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