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Possible zone change in Cicero causes debate

— Proposed zone changes brought up debates of progress versus preservation at last week’s Cicero Town Board meeting on Wednesday, July 11.

Dan Bargabos, president of Heritage Homes, proposed a zone change from agricultural to residential for the property located at 5869 Ladd Road in Brewerton. His proposal included a subdivision of the land that would allow for possible future development. Currently, there is a home on the land that Bargabos would sell as is, and he has plans to build another home. The request for a zone change came with a positive recommendation from the planning board.

The plan was met by some resistance from residents living close to the site of the potential rezoning. The area surrounding the property is in a residential zone, and residents voiced the complaint that they chose their home locations because of the fact that the adjacent agricultural property was free of development.

Adam Panic, whose house borders the property on the east, led the opposition.

“This doesn’t benefit my family, and it doesn’t benefit my neighbors,” Panic said. “It only benefits the developer. We wouldn’t have built there if we thought [the zone] was going to change.”

Andrea Chiofsy, who lives north of the proposed change, expressed a similar sentiment.

“When we were purchasing the property, we thought long and hard about where we chose, and the fact that it was agricultural was a big part of that,” she said.

To strengthen their cause, Panic submitted a petition against the zone change including 56 names from many of the 51 houses in the affected area. The neighbors have also enlisted the help of a lawyer to look into the legal issues of the matter. One of the potential issues is whether or not an action to change the property from an agricultural to a residential zone would be considered “spot zoning.” Spot zoning is when a zone change is made so that a certain parcel has a different zone classification than the surrounding area and the change benefits only that parcel. The issue of spot zoning is under investigation, but town attorney Robert Germain assured the board that their only job was to determine what would be the best use of the land.

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