Village, college attorneys argue proposed turf field fence in state supreme court

— The argument over the process through which Cazenovia College must go to build a proposed fence around its turf athletic field is now in the hands of a state supreme court judge after attorneys for the college and the village appeared in Wampsville last Friday.

At issue is whether the college should be allowed to build the fence through the issuance of a simple building permit, as it believes, or whether it should be required to go through a full site plan approval process by the village planning board, as was determined by the village zoning board of appeals in April. Part of the argument rests on the village code enforcement officer’s decision that the fence is part of the overall 2011-12 turf field project and not a separate project as the college alleges.

The Aug. 23 court appearance was the result of the college filing an Article 78 legal appeal for the court to overturn the village zoning board of appeals’ previous decision and to direct the village code enforcement officer to issue the building permit that he previously denied.

The college’s permit application was to build a 1,420 linear feet fence (six feet in height and made of chain link with black vinyl coating) spanning the eastern, northern and western edges of the Schneeweiss Athletic Complex.

“This is about a perimeter fence. Really that’s all it’s about. It seems kind of silly that that’s why we’re here,” Cazenovia College attorney Kevin Bernstein told New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald S. Cerio last Friday. “This is not about the previous turf field project, although the village keeps talking about it.”

Bernstein maintained the college’s position that the fence is a separate project needed to protect the college’s turf field investment necessitated by the continual trespass of neighbors and village residents onto college property. He said the fence was “not anticipated” at the time of the field project and is therefore not an aspect of the previous project “at all.”

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