ZBA denies college appeal over athletic complex fencing request

— If Cazenovia College wants to build a six-foot-high chain link fence around its athletic complex in the heart of the village, a simple building permit application is insufficient and the college must undertake the full site plan review and approval process through the village planning board.

This was the decision of the village zoning board of appeals last week in response to the college’s appeal of a previous ruling to the same effect by the village zoning enforcement officer, whom the college felt exceeded his authority as ZEO.

According to the board’s decision, which was announced at an April 18 meeting, the village code requires site plan review for all land use activities in the village unless the project falls under a specific exemption, which the college fence project does not. The fact that the proposed fence is part of the C2 zoning district for post-secondary education facilities also necessitates “particular precautions” to ensure minimal impact on the surrounding area.

“On its face and pursuant to the provisions of the Zoning Regulations, it is clear that the issuance of a building permit for a perimeter fence at the subject premises requires site plan review and approval by the Village of Cazenovia Planning Board,” according to the determination, which was unanimously approved as a board resolution.

“The fence is not denied, but it must go through the planning board process,” ZBA advising attorney John Langey said. Langey acted as attorney for the board in this case because the regular ZBA attorney, Jim Stokes, recused himself since he is also the village attorney and represents ZEO William Carr.

“We were disappointed in the determination,” said Cazenovia College President Mark Tierno. “The college administration is in the process of reviewing the Village ZBA’s decision in its entirety and will consider all options in determining how to proceed. No decision has been made at this time.”

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