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Cazenovia Village Board mulls over changes to Comprehensive Plan

— A lengthy public hearing on potential changes to Cazenovia’s Comprehensive Plan at Monday’s Village Board meeting ended in a decision to continue the public discussion at the Sept. 4 meeting.

The purpose of the hearing was a proposal by the Economic Health & Heritage Committee to reopen the Village’s Comprehensive Plan for the purpose of retooling the zoning restrictions to entice further development on the south end of the village.

The Comprehensive Plan was ratified in 2008 and its purpose is to establish the village’s general vision and goals. Parts of the Comprehensive Plan enumerated zoning restrictions to maintain the aesthetic and business dynamic that Cazenovia has worked to establish.

The position of the committee, of which Mayor Kurt Wheeler is chairman, is that the zoning regulations established by the Comprehensive Plan may restrict development, especially in the area referred to as Village Edge South, across route 20 from Tops.

There was spirited debate from the public during the meeting. Many of the residents present were of the opinion that the Comprehensive Plan’s restrictions on zoning in the Village Edge South area did not need to be changed as they were meeting the goals of the document. The plan establishes a maximum building footprint of 3500 square feet. Restrictions like this keep larger chain stores from developing in the area.

“The proposed changes to Village Edge South run entirely counter to the recommendations of the recently ratified comprehensive plan. Those original guidelines were the result of dozens and dozens of hours of community-wide dialogue and represent a measured compromise to multi-generation-long debate. It’s too soon to radically overturn those recommendations in my opinion, especially in light of the reality that they appear to be working according to plan,” said Russ Brownback, a resident present at the hearing who helped draft and ratify the Comprehensive Plan.

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