To the editor:
The Cazenovia Preservation Foundation’s mission is to protect historic, agricultural and natural resources in and around Cazenovia. The proposed Empire farmstead brewery project has received much recent attention. As proposed, the project appears consistent with much of CPF's mission. It is an agribusiness that could strengthen our community’s agricultural roots and highlight our region’s history (and potential resurgence) as a premier hops growing area. Preliminary plans show preservation of a substantial amount of open space for crops used in the product (hops, lavender). The proposed open space exceeds what could exist if the property were developed consistent with current zoning, particularly since the land did not include any private development restrictions when it was sold. The preliminary plans also indicate that most existing mature vegetation and trees would be preserved and wetlands on the property would be protected. The property is, however, located near Lorenzo. That proximity requires particular precautions to assure that historic site is not unduly impacted. CPF intends to participate in the site plan review process and is confident this issue can be addressed.
Some neighbors have voiced their opposition to the proposed project to the Village and the developer. CPF understands that those concerns are being considered as part of the public review process. As reported in last week’s Republican, one neighbor of the proposed project has stated he will close public access to CPF trails on his property because of his dissatisfaction with the proposed brewery.
As part of its mission, CPF maintains about 12 miles of trails in Cazenovia for public use and enjoyment. Although it owns the rights on many of these trails, portions of some trails are not owned by CPF and are only made possible by consent of community-minded land owners. In this case, the land owner indicated he plans to end the policy of trail use established by the Knapp family on sections of the popular and long-standing Burlingame Road trail. Because no specific trail protections were created when the property was sold to the new owner, he has the right to end access for any reason, or for no reason at all. Neither CPF, the Village nor the Town have any control over the owner’s decision on trail access, regardless of any decision on the proposed brewery. Naturally, CPF hopes the policy towards public use of the trails continues, but that is up to the land owner.
CPF will continue to monitor and participate in the process to promote its mission of protecting historic, agricultural and natural resources. We will also continue to work to maintain and improve our trail network for the benefit of Cazenovia’s many walkers, cross-country skiers, and other users.
CARLOS GAVILONDO, PRESIDENT
CAZENOVIA PRESERVATION FOUNDATION