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Village board approves business furniture on downtown sidewalks

— After more than one year of work, discussions and public input, the Cazenovia Village Board last week approved a local law to allow downtown businesses to place certain items on the sidewalk in front of their shops between May 1 and Nov. 1.

The law, which amends Chapter 141 of the village code, was unanimously approved by the village board at its March 4 meeting after holding a public hearing on the issue.

The law will allow business to have items such as benches, tables and chairs outside their shops, provided they do not obstruct pedestrian flow and are “tasteful and in keeping with the streetscape of a 19th century village.” Any vendor wishing to place items on the sidewalk must file proof of liability policy of $500,000 with the village and name the village as an additional insured on the policy.

Items not allowed on village sidewalks include: sale items except during the July Sidewalk Sales; no flimsy or lightweight items which may blow away or break easily; no played or piped music; no additional lighting; no additional signage or advertising for the business; no items placed on, around or attached to village benches, lamp posts or other items; no permanent structured or items not brought in at night; and no food or beverages may be served on the sidewalk except those following sidewalk café regulations.

Any vendors wishing exemption from the restrictions may apply to the village board in writing with a complete description of their plans.

“Starting May 1 we’ll be more flexible and simultaneously more rigid on this,” said Trustee Peggy Van Arnam, who has been the board’s point person on the issue.

At the meeting, the board:

—Held a public hearing on a proposed local law authorizing the board to approve a property tax levy in excess of the state-mandated 2percent tax cap. There were no public comments at the hearing, and the board afterward unanimously approved the measure. The law does not require the village to override the tax levy cap, but allows it the option to exceed the 2 percent if necessary or desirable. The village approved the same law last year during budget time, and the move was one recommended by both Village Attorney Jim Stokes and by the New York Conference of Mayors, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. “It’s better to pass this and not need it, than need it and not have it,” Wheeler said.

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