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Clearspeak: What’s in a boundary line?

My grandmother emigrated to the U.S. from a part of eastern Europe where the frontiers shifted regularly with the tides of war and empire. From this experience came her favorite joke, which went something like this:

A young man lives in a cabin in the Russian woods with his grandmother, near the Polish border. One day he bursts into their cabin excitedly waving a newspaper. “Babushka, babushka,” he cries, “look at this. We don’t live in Russia any more. Now we live in Poland!” The old lady stares straight ahead, then sighs and says: “Tank Gott. I couldn’t take another Russian vinter.”

Apologies for the dialect, but that’s the way grandma delivered that line, in contrast to her usually flawless English.

The punch line never failed to crack her up.

So what’s in a boundary line? Not enough to change reality. Grandma was tickled by that joke because she was a realist. The weather is still the weather.

And a commercial district is still a commercial district no matter on which side of a municipal line it may lie. It’s from this sense of realism that the Village is moving to annex the Stowell parcel. The parcel in question lies between the current eastern boundary of the village and the western edge of the historic Enders property – on the northern side of Route 20, just past McDonald’s as you leave the Village heading east.

Thus, the Stowell parcel is near other properties already dedicated to commercial uses. Acknowledging this reality, the village’s comprehensive plan contemplates commercial development of this parcel. Annexation of the parcel, on which the Canastota-based Nice N Easy corporation plans to build a gas station, would be consistent with this plan.

With the consent of all other involved agencies, including the Town Board, the Village Board of Trustees has appointed itself lead agency for purposes of environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. SEQRA is the state law that requires certain government decisions, including many land-use decisions, to be environmentally informed. In fulfilling its SEQRA role, the Village Board will hold a series of hearings to gather public comment on the proposed annexation.

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