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Skaneateles village board hears opposition to proposed law

Village residents speak out against proposal to change the makeup and powers of the historic commission

Dave Neibert, a current member of the HLPC, speaks in opposition of the proposed law, to change the role and powers of the commission, at the March 14 village board meeting.

Dave Neibert, a current member of the HLPC, speaks in opposition of the proposed law, to change the role and powers of the commission, at the March 14 village board meeting. Joe Genco

Jim Williams said he was opposed to the board becoming “advisory only” and recommended that the village have better communication with applicants about what is expected of them in the review process for building projects.

Several people, including John Young, said that the board functions fine as it is and that there is no need to streamline its process. “Probably 90 plus percent of the applications over the past 35 years have been approved in a single hearing and that hardly calls for streamlining,” he said.

Andy Ramsgard, a 17-year member of HLPC, also spoke against streamlining and taking away the regulatory powers of the commission. The HLPC holding public hearings is an important part of the current review process because many of its decisions are subjective and it helps them to get input from everyone who lives in the historic district, he said.

Dave Neibert, another current member of the HLPC, said that the commission is important for all of the little things it does that people don’t necessarily hear about and making it advisory only would lead the village to lose sight of its historical importance. “To diminish the historical commission to just an advisory thing is taking the teeth out of what we do,” he said.

Mary Sennett said that she was pleased to see such a large turnout for the meeting and that everyone was respectful in expressing their concerns about the community and providing the board with thoughtful suggestions.

“I really like to see the involvement. It shows people care, it shows they’re engaged, and I view that as positive,” she said.

The village board will make appointments at its annual meeting on April 1, so for the proposed changes to the HLPC to go into effect for this year, the law would have to be passed at the board’s March 28 meeting.

Also from the meeting:

-- Village Code enforcement officer Adam D’Amico said that he is conducting fire inspections for village businesses and any business that needs an inspection should contact him now to speed up the process. He can be reached at the village office at 685-3440.

-- The village board announced its endorsement of the upcoming Earth Hour and Energy Team Challenge kickoff event that are being planned by Sustainable Skaneateles for March 23.

Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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