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Opposition to proposed sports campus mobilizes, hires attorney -- Planning Board member Southern advises group on how to proceed

CPCS Executive Director Holland Greeg, standing right, talks to about 75 concerned residents on Nov. 1 in a meeting at The Creamery on Hannum. The group met to discuss how best to oppose the proposed Victory Sports Management Campus on Route 20.

CPCS Executive Director Holland Greeg, standing right, talks to about 75 concerned residents on Nov. 1 in a meeting at The Creamery on Hannum. The group met to discuss how best to oppose the proposed Victory Sports Management Campus on Route 20. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— Discussed at the CPCS meeting was how best to coordinate and advance the group’s opposition to the development, including attending every Town Planning Board meeting and public hearing on the project, writing letters to all local officials and organizations, submitting letters to the local newspapers and urging all local residents to join the opposition cause.

First on the agenda is to convince the Zoning Board of Appeals to deny the VSM request for a light variance for the outdoor athletic fields, the group agreed. VSM wants to erect 17 light poles of 70 to 90 feet tall, but town zoning law prohibits anything above 20 feet. The ZBA held a public hearing on the issue on Oct. 23, with its next meeting scheduled for Nov. 13.

CPCS members say allowing the 90-foot lights will set a harmful precedent for future developments in the town, and they will also, among other things, cause harsh light pollution into neighbors’ homes.

Town Planning Board member and CPCS member Southern told the group that if the ZBA denies the variance, then VSM must modify the project lighting plans and bring them back before the planning board.

“We cannot act unless they modify their plans, so you’re hitting a good spot,” Southern said.

Southern also told the group that people were concerned that the planning board mishandled the SEQRA environmental assessment on Oct. 16, but said the SEQRA had to be done in order for the project to get to a public hearing.

“It doesn’t mean we can’t call it back,” Southern said. He advised the group that if they get enough information and public opposition “out there” the planning board can call it back. “I will call it back,” he said.

It also was announced at the CPCS meeting that the group had retained environmental attorney Tom Fucillo, of the firm Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., and also will be aided by attorneys Ted Williams and Bob Legal, Gregg said.

The fees for Fucillo’s aid will run between $20,000 and $35,000, Gregg said, so the CPCS will also begin fundraising efforts to pay the legal costs.

“With Tom Fucillo involved, now the game has gotten serious,” Gregg said. “They’ll see we’re not just a bunch of tree-huggers out there whining.”

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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