The May 6 village board public hearing on the Empire brewery proposal was the most interesting and illuminating to date. Empire owner David Katleski presented the results of five professional studies — on noise, odor, visual, archaeology and traffic — that showed minimal to zero impact on the surrounding area; he also revealed a redesigned site plan and building plan done solely to alleviate neighbor and community concerns. Katleski also addressed many of the rumors and misinformation that have been circulating around Cazenovia in recent weeks concerning his project.
After listening to Katleski’s presentation and then reviewing all the studies, drawings, photos and other new information in the planning board’s Empire Brewing Company files, our conclusion is that all the major concerns and issues raised in the past three months have been more than adequately addressed, and this project will be a benefit to the community.
We understand that the immediate neighbors are in a unique situation compared to the rest of the community. While we can certainly sympathize with them, they have presented no factual information or issues to date that have not been addressed, or that should cause this project to be derailed.
It is impressive to us how far Katleski has gone to acknowledge and alleviate the numerous neighbor and community concerns about his project in the past few months, including a redesign of the brewery building that he says will not be as functional for him but will be preferable to his neighbors. We believe all his work based on the volumes of public feedback has made this a better project for Cazenovia.
At the May 6 meeting, the majority of the 80 or so attendees also were audibly impressed by the presentation. But the real emotion pervading the room was one of relief. People were relieved that the five studies had been done and showed no negative community impacts; people were relieved that Katleski changed the building design from a square-warehouse look in the back to a historic barn aesthetic; people were relieved when Katleski disproved the size comparisons between his brewery and the Cazenovia High School or a typical Wal-Mart.