Jun 18, 2010 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
The interests of business owners and preservationists collided at a June 14 public hearing to discuss signage in the village of Cazenovia.
Deputy Mayor Kurt Wheeler introduced the first draft of the proposed changes to the sign regulations in the village. Wheeler emphasized the first draft is designed to serve as a common basis for input and discussion.
He said the intent of the code committee is “to balance the community’s desire to maintain the village’s historic nature while also giving business owners the latitude to be successful.”
Wheeler also said the committee has observed many existing signs and practices are out of code, and one intent of the committee is to revise the code to bring acceptable common practices into compliance.
Under the old code, a business downtown with signs in the windows and a sign hanging out front would be considered out of compliance.
The new code takes these practices into account, but details still being refined.
The village courtroom was packed with interested parties June 7, including community members and several local business owners who would be affected by the changes.
Anne Ferguson expressed concerns that there was nothing in the code prohibiting neon signs in the windows of buildings, arguing the signs were unattractive.
Trish Bookbinder, of the Golden Pheasant, argued that restaurants in the village should be able to advertise the products they offer, and that local businesses need every advantage at their disposal.
“We’re not the Olive Garden. We’re not Burger King. We’re a small business trying to make a living,” Bookbinder said.
She said the neon signs were important to draw in new customers.
“If they’re driving through Cazenovia, how do they know what we’ve got?”
The board continued the public hearing to 6:45 p.m. July 7, with additional portions of the code to be rewritten and ready for public review.
In other board news
Huftalen wraps up year of service — Mayor Thomas Dougherty thanked Trustee Richard Huftalen for his service to the board. Huftalen was appointed to the board when former Deputy Mayor Paul Brooks stepped down in 2009. Huftalen did not run for reelection in the 2010 village election.
Riverside Drive project discussed — The board last month asked developers Ed Green and Scott Shannon for their plan to fund their Riverside Drive development and move forward with the project. The board expected a rough plan at the June meeting and specific numbers and information at the July 7 meeting.
Green and Shannon presented several ideas for obtaining more funding for the project, including plans to speak with agencies and foundations that may be able to help the project. They also plan to apply for a Rural Energy for America Program grant.
Before the next meeting, the developers plan to talk to investors, banks prospective tenants, to get options on adjoining properties, and to discuss with planned tenant St. Joseph’s Hospital their options and plans.
Jerry Edwards, of St. Joseph’s, attended the meeting and offered his response to fears that St. Joseph’s might back out of the project.
“St. Joe’s has been very interested in the project since the beginning,” Edwards said. “The sky could fall, but as far as I’m aware, that commitment is there and continues to be.”
Shannon and Green said they will come back and detail their progress to the village board next month.