Nov 26, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
One month after a state supreme court judge ruled that Cazenovia College must undergo a full site plan review for its proposed fence project around the Schneeweiss Athletic Complex, the college is moving forward with getting its fence erected by preparing its submission to the village planning board. However, working under a court deadline and wanting to keep its options open, the college also last week filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York seeking redress for part of State Supreme Court Judge Donald F. Cerio, Jr.’s Oct. 22 decision.
“We fully intend to apply to the planning board for a permit to put up a perimeter fence around our athletics property and hope that there are no difficulties encountered,” said Cazenovia College President Mark Tierno. “However, if the planning board does not approve our request for a perimeter fence, then we would have no choice but to proceed in court.”
Tierno said the appeal was filed as a procedural matter to keep that option open to the college since it had only 30 days to file from the date of Cerio’s Oct. 22 decision. “The college could not wait to learn the outcome of the planning board’s process and then appeal,” he said.
The fence issue concerns more than one year of disagreements between the college and the village over the institution’s proposal to build 1,420 linear feet fence (six feet in height and made of chain link with black vinyl coating) spanning the eastern, northern and western edges of the its Schneeweiss Athletic Complex. The main purpose of the fence is to protect the college’s $1 million investment in its turf athletic field, which was built in 2011-12.
Village Zoning Enforcement Officer Bill Carr denied the college’s permit application to build the fence in July 2012, and declared that the fence was not an independent project but part of the college’s previous turf field project, and as such the proposed fence was “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 appealed Carr’s decision to the village zoning board of appeals, which upheld his decision in April. The college then appealed to the state supreme court in Wampsville, asking the judge to overturn the ZBA’s decision to require full site plan review for the fence project.
Cerio’s Oct. 22 decision supported the village’s arguments in the case that the college must go through a complete planning board process; he also sided with the college by declaring that the fence is a stand-alone project and not a part of the previous turf field construction, and therefore the case is not a question of illegal “segmentation,” as was charged by the village zoning enforcement officer.
The college had 30 days from the filing of Cerio’s decision in which to appeal to the state appellate court. It filed its appeal on Nov. 19.
Cazenovia Mayor Kurt Wheeler, who met with Tierno on Nov. 21, said he was told the appeal filing was simply a procedural matter necessitated by the judicial deadline.
“The village is pleased that we will not have to devote additional financial resources to an appeal,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said the college already has ordered an updated survey for the fence project and anticipates requesting to be on the Dec. 9 planning board agenda to initiate the process.
Wayne Westervelt, the college’s vice president for marketing and communications, said they are currently preparing the project paperwork, which they will submit to the planning board as soon as it is complete.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.