ZBA denies college appeal over athletic complex fencing request

— The issue, which has been ongoing since summer 2012, concerns whether or not the village zoning enforcement officer properly denied the college’s permit application to build a 1,420 linear feet fence spanning the eastern, northern and western edges of the its Schneeweiss Athletic Complex.

Carr determined in July 2012 that the fence was not an independent project but rather a part of the college’s 2011-12 $1 million turf field project, and therefore required further site plan review. In November 2012, when pressed for a written decision by the college, Carr said the college acted in bad faith — if not illegally — in separating the fence from the turf field project, an action he declared to be “segmentation,” or submitting separate parts of the same project for zoning approval individually instead of as a whole as a way to prevent a possible negative outcome of a site plan review.

The college rejected that ruling, declaring the fence was not only an independent project unconnected to the turf field, but that since the village had allowed the college to erect multiple other fences on its property in the past it must allow this fence as well.

The college appealed Carr’s decision to the ZBA on Feb.1, 2013, and the board held public hearings on the issue on Feb. 5 and March 26. Numerous village residents — primarily college neighbors — turned out at both public hearings to oppose the fence as well as filed letters and even legal briefs opposing the project to the board.

The board’s 29-page determination and resolution of the college’s appeal was read in full by ZBA Chair Philip Byrnes at the April 18 meeting. The decision detailed the entire history of the planning and zoning issues relevant to the college as an entity in the village, the college’s previous turf field project and the current fence proposal. It also detailed the village zoning regulations, as well as the authority of the ZBA.

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