When Bill Price of Pooler Development requested a zone change for the next section of a Downer Street development, Van Buren officials were faced with an inter-municipal problem.
The Syracuse Onondaga County Planning Agency made a recommendation that should the Sun Meadows development increase in size, a second access road should be added to the development, at least for emergency purposes. The only access to the development is currently Northwest Sorrell Hill Road along Downer Street.
"The town is in a position where they have 127 homes coming out onto one location," said Van Buren Councilor Mary Sabin.
If an access road were to be added, it would need to be on Meigs Road, which is a village-owned road. With this alternative exit, residents that don't need to travel farther than Tri-County Mall could use Meigs Road and decrease traffic flow on Downer Street.
First, Meigs Road would need to be improved in order to handle the additional traffic from town residents, a cost the developer is willing to cover, and maintained thereafter by the town since town residents would be putting wear and tear on the road. The problem is the town doesn't own the road and therefore cannot make improvements to or maintain it.
Initially the town suggested either an abandonment or transfer of the road to the town so the town highway department could improve and maintain it. After researching the issue, village attorney Ron Carr sent the town a letter stating that short of an act from the state legislature to make the transfer happen, the road has to be deemed useless before it can be given to another entity. Currently, the road is regularly used by Syracuse Home commuters and residents of Golden Legacy, Mercer Mills apartments and a few property owners.
Upon further research, Carr said he found a provision in highway law that gives the town the ability to advise the highway superintendent to take over repair and maintenance including improvements through an agreement between the town and village board, which would be similar to a cooperative agreement.