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Cazenovia College sues village in state supreme court over proposed fence

College seeks to overturn ZBA decision requiring full site plan review

— The board also rejected the college’s argument that since it must allow this fence to be built because previous fence construction had been allowed. The board said those fences were not comparable to the currently proposed fence in size and scope, were internal to college property and not on the property edge, and therefore the comparison was not applicable.

In their petition to the state supreme court, college attorneys Kevin M. Bernstein and Kathleen M. Bennett, of the Syracuse law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, requested the court to declare the ZBA decision “null and void,” to direct the ZBA to find that the installation of a perimeter fence does not require site plan approval, to direct the ZEO to issue a building permit for the fence and for “such other and further relief as the court may deem just and proper.”

The college’s 19-page petition to the court stated that:

—The ZBA acted outside of its jurisdiction by raising issues in its decision that were not part of the ZEO’s interpretation of the village code or of the college’s appeal of that interpretation.

—The ZBA improperly applied provisions of the village code to determine that the college’s permit request for the fence required a full site plan review. The suit alleges that the fence is not a “structure,” but is an “accessory structure” and therefore is exempt from site plan review. It also states that the ZBA’s logic that the fence is an aspect of the previous turf field project “is a reach — at best,” and “flawed logic” that would require any new accessory structure in the village to be tied to previous projects “no matter how tenuous the connection.”

—The ZBA unlawfully extended the provisions of the zoning code against the college by concluding that other relevant sections of the zoning regulations must be considered in such a case where a fence would control access to a facility that had previously undergone an exhaustive site plan review — or that the village code “could not be read in a vacuum.”

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