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No vote yet on requested brewery land zone change

Issues raised, concerns alleviated at planning board hearing

Rippleton Road resident Jody Reynolds, standing, holds up a painting of Lorenzo viewed from the south with a shadow of the brewery's estimated dimensions superimposed in the background as a way to suggest that the size of the brewery will be too large. The March 11 planning board public hearing had more than 50 attendees and was filmed by two television news crews

Rippleton Road resident Jody Reynolds, standing, holds up a painting of Lorenzo viewed from the south with a shadow of the brewery's estimated dimensions superimposed in the background as a way to suggest that the size of the brewery will be too large. The March 11 planning board public hearing had more than 50 attendees and was filmed by two television news crews Photo by Jason Emerson.

— The Cazenovia village meeting room was filled to seating capacity, filmed by two television news cameras and swirling with questions, responses, issues and information during the March 11 planning board public hearing on Empire Brewing Company’s requested zone change for its Route 13 property.

Empire officials offered updated information and site plan changes at the meeting, while neighbors — and two attorneys — asked more specific questions and offered some objections to the project as currently planned.

The planning board, which is considering whether or not to recommend that the village board approve the zoning change from residential to commercial, did not vote on the issue at the meeting, and extended the public hearing until its next regular meeting on April 8. Approval of the zone change is necessary for the brewery project to move forward into the next development phases.

“We’ve gotten a lot of interest on this topic [and] a lot of public input so far,” said planning board Chair Rich Huftalen. “Our job is to consider the balanced interests of the community, the applicant and the neighbors and take all that into consideration. I guarantee you we take our jobs seriously.”

The March 11 public hearing was a continuation of the planning board’s previous Feb. 11 public hearing and part of the process of accumulating project information and public feedback, Huftalen said. There was also a public hearing in front of the village board of trustees on March 4, at which Empire Brewing Company officials presented the then-current iteration of its plans — including a scale model, drawings and maps for public viewing — and answered board and public questions.

At the March 11 planning board meeting, project architect Kurt Ofer gave a brief overview of the project and said he had submitted updated site plans and an updated State Environmental Quality Review Assessment form to the planning board that afternoon.

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