Dec 27, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Cazenovia College appeared before the village planning board last week to seek site plan approval once again for its proposed 1,420 linear feet fence spanning the edges of the Schneeweiss Athletic Complex. The appearance comes after months of legal wrangling between the college and the town over the fence, and is the result of a state supreme court judge’s decision that the college must go through a full site plan approval process.
The application already hit a small bump, however, when the planning board determined during its Dec. 9 meeting that the college’s application was incomplete, and asked them to resubmit a full application in January.
The issue — which has been highly contentious between the college and its village neighbors — also took a bad turn when the college submitted a site plan survey to the planning board that not only showed the proposed fence but also delineated where neighbors have encroached on college lands. Numerous people with knowledge of the survey found it to be unnecessary and even provocative considering the ongoing opposition of the neighbors.
“The survey was required as part of the application for a proposed fence. It was also necessary to determine any future landscaping plan. When a surveyor does a perimeter survey, encroachments are noted as a matter of course,” said Cazenovia College President Mark Tierno. “While some notations fall outside the proposed fence line, we had asked for a complete survey, not a partial one. There are numerous delineations on the survey and the overwhelming majority of them have nothing to do with encroachments; rather, they serve to provide informed choices for the proposed fence and landscaping plan as well as day-to-day operations. The three or four instances of encroachment will be managed as separate matters.”
College neighbors, for their part, attended the Dec. 9 meeting thinking it was a public hearing, which it was not, but many of them submitted letters to the planning board once again urging the board not to allow the fence to be built.
Planning Board Chair Rich Huftalen said the board’s decision to call the college application incomplete was due to college submitting the “short form” State Environmental Quality Review Act paperwork regarding the project, when what was necessary was the SEQR “long form.” The long form was necessary because the board determined the project to be a Type 1 action under SEQR because the construction would be contiguous to a designated historic zone.
“We as a board determined the application wasn’t complete and asked them to fill out the long form and bring it back next month,” Huftalen said.
Also at the meeting, college representative Susan Berger broached the subject of planning board member Jennifer Gavilondo recusing herself from voting on the project due to the fact that she is a direct neighbor to the planned fence and her husband, Carlos Gavilondo, has been a vocal opponent of the project from the beginning. The college has brought up this possible conflict of interest for Gavilondo in the past.
Gavilondo said during the meeting that she intends to recuse herself from the issue.
This latest meeting comes nearly two months after a state supreme court judge ruled that Cazenovia College must undergo a full site plan review for its proposed fence project rather than be issued a simple building permit as the college sought. It also comes one month after the college filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York seeking redress for part of State Supreme Court Judge Donald F. Cerio, Jr.’s Oct. 22 decision.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.