Following the third public hearing held by the Village Planning Board on Aug. 22, a resolution officially approving Cazenovia College’s request to build an artificial turf field at their Schneeweiss Athletic Complex was adopted by board members.
The college was cleared to begin construction on an improved drainage system, sub-surface, and synthetic playing field. Stadium seating, additional parking and a lighting system are not planned.
“After we went through the entire Environmental Assessment Form required by SEQR, we found that the Cazenovia College turf did not have an adverse environmental impacts in the area,” said planning board chairman William Hall. “After considering of all the public input, I think at the end of the day, we came out with a better project than perhaps we started with.”
The ruling followed a contentious month-long debate between officials at Cazenovia College and residents of Lincklaen Street and Lincklaen Terrace, whose backyards border the proposed site of the turf field. The land is in a distinguished area of the village, and property on three sides of the open field is contiguous to the Cazenovia Village Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
As the project was determined to be a Type I action, an in-depth review of the planned measures was required. At the third and final public hearing, the planning board worked through the State Environmental Quality Review, which consisted of 20 questions pertaining to potential impacts.
Lincklaen Street resident, Carlos Gavilondo, was one of the citizens who spoke out against initial aspects of the college’s plan for construction during previous public hearings. Following approval of the enhanced plan, he was content with the board’s investigation and careful consideration of the project. “The process the planning board conducted was vitally important. It gave the community a chance to learn about the project, offer its perspectives and influence the design,” he said. “As a result, I think the project that was approved is better than what was originally proposed.”
The drainage system initially proposed by Cazenovia College and the traditional aesthetic character of the neighborhood were two attributes that concerned many neighboring residents.
During the month of August, engineers reworked drainage schemes to better accommodate the field and ensure nearby basements would stay dry. Along with the enhanced drainage, sub surface and synthetic playing surface, Cazenovia College was authorized to include one 5-by-16-foot scoreboard in the northwest corner of the field.
School administrators were charged with allowing weekly inspections of construction, maintaining an orderly building site and adequate access for Liberty Street traffic.
“We are pleased that the college’s site plan application to install a synthetic turf field in the same location as our current field (for our existing athletics program) was thoroughly reviewed and then approved by the Village Planning Board,” said Cazenovia College President Mark J. Tierno. “Moving forward with the project will help to improve the current drainage of the field and allow our student-athletes to experience a normal athletic season.”
The field will be used by the school’s soccer and lacrosse teams. Construction is expected to begin shortly, and last for about six weeks.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.