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Town Planning Board approves permit for 100-acre athletic complex off Route 20

Public opposition grows as plan moves another step closer to fruition

A map of the proposed new VSM athletic complex

A map of the proposed new VSM athletic complex

— Board members answered ‘no’ as to whether the project could be expected to create public controversy due to environmental impacts.

The board’s final vote was to approve a “negative declaration” for the SEQR, which is a determination that the project will not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts.

Many of the spectators to the meeting were not happy with its outcome.

Susan Taylor, who lives on Sachem Drive about 750 feet from the western fields of the proposed VSM complex, said she is “very unhappy” about the project: the stadium lighting, the noise pollution of the PA systems and cheering crowds, the increase in traffic congestion.

But she is also upset, she said, by the lack of community outreach from VSM. “They don’t have any public opinion about [the project] because nobody knows about it,” she said.

Taylor went door-to-door in her neighborhood with a petition opposing the complex and discovered that her neighbors knew nothing about it and had never been notified by VSM Enterprises, she said.

Taylor delivered to the planning board after its Oct. 16 meeting a petition with 24 signatures of local residents opposing the plan. The petition, which is now online at change.org, currently has 72 signatures.

Another Sachem Drive resident, Donna Himelfarb, also opposes the project. “People don’t know how close to the lake this really is,” she said, citing her concern for water contamination from the turf fields.

She said residents also do not realize how large the complex will be. “The Waterloo Outlet Mall is 25 acres. This is 100 acres with a plan to develop 75 percent of it,” she said. “People need to understand this is not a playground, this is not a picnic area, this is four Waterloo areas.”

Residents will have an opportunity to speak out on the proposed project when the planning boards holds a public hearing on site plan approval for the complex at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at a venue to be determined. The hearing is contingent, however, upon the town Zoning Board of Appeals approving a variance for the proposed stadium lighting at the complex, for which a public hearing was held Tuesday, Oct. 24.

That public hearing occurred after press time, but the Skaneateles Press will have a report on the meeting on our website, skaneatelespress.com.

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

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