Dec 15, 2009 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
Developers Ed Green and Scott Shannon presented plans for a new development on the Riverside Drive property behind the Cazenovia Public Library at a Cazenovia village board meeting Dec. 7.
Green plans to have St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, of Syracuse, move into a 5,000-sq. ft. space in the new development, with the possibility of expanding to 10,000-sq. ft. The entire development would be about 73,000 sq. ft.
Besides medical facilities, the development would include apartments and about 100 parking spaces, including about 40 available for use by the library and the public. There would be about 60 spaces total between the complex, which would be parallel with Albany Street, and the library and adjacent properties. The development would include about 40 parking spaces located underneath the building for residents and employees.
A committee of local officials and residents spent two years determining criteria for an ideal Riverside Drive property development. Trustee Peggy Van Arnam read the criteria at the board meeting: Neighborhood heritage, connectivity to the village (especially to Albany Street), natural resource utilization (i.e. a creek walk), parking, a mixed-use facility, coexistence with the library and with neighbors and improvement of the economy by adding to the tax base. Van Arnam praised the committee for their hard work.
When asked how many spaces would be available for use by the library, Shannon said that about 45 would be exclusively available to the library during the evening; this would change during the day depending on the amount of parking spaces taken by visitors to the medical facility.
One reason for the tight parking, Shannon said, would be the need to keep everything to code.
“It is a tight site, and it is essentially impossible to do it any other way right now,” Shannon said.
The proposed parking lot was criticized for the small space between lanes; if an automobile reached the end of the lot and no space was available, the driver would most likely have to back out the full length of the parking lot.
Community members also criticized access to the development, pointing out the narrow road leading to the parking lot.
Local developer Bob Hood presented several points to the village board.
“The village hasn’t properly, in my opinion, addressed the need for parking,” Hood said.
Until now, he said, there weren’t vacant spaces that could be taken advantage of to alleviate the parking problem.
“Why would you consider putting any type of development of this scale on a lot before you take care of existing building owners?” Hood said. “We only have about 25 percent of our 40 storefronts occupied by retail shops because there isn’t enough parking. I have tenants in Skaneateles, where we have adequate parking. I try to bring them out here — they won’t even come to Cazenovia because there’s not adequate parking.”
Hood suggested that a medical facility would be a much better fit farther down Route 20, outside of downtown Cazenovia. Medical office facilities have more visitors than the average office building, Hood said, leading to a “tremendous” amount of traffic.
In response to concerns of increased traffic and insufficient space, Green said that they hope the development would bring positive change to the village.
Green said that a development with medical facilities and apartments would be a positive addition to the village, addressing a need for residences in the village and providing economic growth.
“We’re trying to do the right thing,” said Green. “We’re trying to do a project you could all be proud of, and feel very comfortable about The intent is to make something that’s viable and desirable and a wonderful addition to the community.”