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Planning board steps up; Ostuni, et al, make two recommendations regarding the basin block’s future

— The Liverpool Planning Board wants the village to consider retaining ownership of at least one of two village-owned pieces of property on the basin block. Bounded by lower First Street, South Willow Street and Lake Drive, the block is the site of ongoing development.

Two years ago, the Limp Lizard Bar & Grill opened at 201 First St., and last year the White Water Pub opened at 110 S. Willow St. while appeThaizing opened at 105 First St.

This year, Val Lamont’s Liverpool Properties LLC, which owns the Limp Lizard and the White Water properties, applied for permission to add a deck at Limp Lizard. The proposal also calls for expanding the mid-block parking lot to 49 spaces, which would be shared by Limp Lizard and the White Water.

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s most successful restaurateur, John Gormel, plans to open the Barking Gull at 116 S. Willow St. For the better part of a decade, the Gull has operated exclusively as a venue for private parties, but Gormel has installed an Italian-made wood-fired pizza oven in preparation of opening to the public. Plans to open in May have been pushed back to autumn at the earliest.

At the village board meeting in July, Gormel offered to buy the two village-owned parcels, but Mayor Gary White said, “There are still a whole lot of things to be determined.” Engineers are studying drainage issues, and attorneys are researching existing easements on the block.

At the Sept. 16 village board meeting, White read a letter received from Joe Ostuni Jr., chairman of the village planning board.

The planners recommended that the village retain ownership of a 40-by-200-foot parcel running from mid-block to Lake Drive. The board also urged village trustees to “incorporate the lane as part of an appropriate development scheme for projects in this area.”

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