Cazenovia College sues village in state supreme court over proposed fence

College seeks to overturn ZBA decision requiring full site plan review

— Carr determined in July 2012 that the fence was not an independent project but rather a part of the college’s 2011-12 $1 million turf field project, and therefore required further site plan review. In November 2012, when pressed for a written decision by the college, Carr said the college acted in bad faith — if not illegally — in separating the fence from the turf field project, an action he declared to be “segmentation,” or submitting separate parts of the same project for zoning approval individually instead of as a whole as a way to prevent a possible negative outcome of a site plan review.

The college rejected that ruling, declaring the fence was an independent project unconnected to the turf field necessitated to protect its investment in the turf field from the continual trespass of its neighbors and other village residents. The college also said that since the village had allowed the college to erect multiple other fences on its property in the past it must allow this fence as well

The college appealed Carr’s decision to the ZBA on Feb.1, 2013, and the board held public hearings on the issue on Feb. 5 and March 26. Numerous village residents — primarily college neighbors — turned out at both public hearings to oppose the fence. Some filed letters and even legal briefs opposing the project to the board. One of the major arguments against the fence asserted that it was merely another step toward the college turning the simple turf field into an oversized sports stadium in the heart of the village.

On April 18, the ZBA issued a 29-page determination and resolution declaring that a fence such as the college wants to erect is a structure, a structure requires a building permit and the village code requires site plan review by the village planning board for all land use activities in the village unless exempted under the code, which the college’s project is not. The board also declared that the college is in a C2 College zoning district, and, under the code, “all uses” located in the C-2 College District are required to undergo site plan approval by the planning board.

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