Dec 28, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Victory Sports Management officials have hired one of the state’s best land use and environmental law firms to supplement its legal team as it moves forward in its 99.5-acre ‘Victory Campus’ development project off Route 20 in Skaneateles.
The firm of Gilberti, Stinziano, Heinz and Smith will join the VSM team in 2013, Lance Wardell, VSM chief operating officer, confirmed last week.
“In 2013 we will supplement the development team with the participation of Gilberti, Stinziano, Heintz and Smith, one of New York State’s premier land use and environmental law firms. The addition of the Gilberti law firm underscores the extremely positive outlook the development team has for the project and its success,” Wardell told the Skaneateles Press.
Attorney Paul Sharlow of the Gilberti firm will be the primary point of contact for the town planning board, which is the lead government agency for the project, and VSM’s current attorney John Langey, of Costello Cooney & Fearon, PLLC, of Syracuse, will remain as part of the legal team, said planning board attorney F. Scott Molnar.
Molnar said he has been officially notified of Sharlow’s addition to the VSM team, but otherwise had no comment on the development.
The Gilberti firm is well-known for its intricate and large-scale legal work, especially as lead counsel for the Destiny USA shopping mall development in Syracuse. Skaneateles residents may recall that the firm also was involved in the first iteration of the Butters Farm proposal for more than 100 homes and condominiums on Jordan Road in 1988.
A list of the Gilberti firm’s previous and ongoing projects, available at Gilbertilaw.com/projects, shows it continues to serve as lead counsel in the Destiny USA project, with the issues involved listed as brownfield cleanup and tax credits, PILOT agreements and economic development tax credits, condemnation of lease rights and construction loan litigations. Pertinent to the VSM project, the Destiny USA project information says the firm also achieved “the successful defense of multiple SEQRA/condemnation challenges in litigation.”
Other projects handled by the Gilberti firm for local, county and state government, include creation of a statewide wireless emergency network, a local waterfront revitalization project and county-wide water supply issues.
Holland Gregg, executive director of the Citizens to Preserve the Character of Skaneateles, said the CPCS has “no opinion” on the developer’s choice of legal counsel, but “hopes that the developers of the Victory Sports Complex will accept community consensus to move this facility, rather than fight to keep it at the ill-conceived location proposed.”
The VSM development team and attorney currently are preparing responses to nearly half a dozen questions and requests for clarification from the town planning board. The board’s concerns over water usage, lighting, traffic, parking and environmental impacts were raised by village and county health officials as well as the CPCS attorney in late November, and specifically addressed by the board at a Nov. 27 special meeting.
Molnar said VSM officials are currently working on their responses to the planning board’s questions and have submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to review the entire project record, but they have given no specific timeframe as to when the responses will be completed.
The board’s questions and VSM’s ultimate responses are a prelude to the planning board’s possible reconsideration of its previous negative declaration of State Environmental Quality Review Act assessments of the project, which has come under fire from multiple quarters since it was declared in October.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.