May 06, 2014 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
The five-member Liverpool Village Planning Board met for three hours and 13 minutes on April 28 after meeting for two and a half hours at a special meeting convened on April 7. Each session lasted more than twice as long as most planning board meetings.
The agendas were dominated by discussion of development on the basin block bounded by Lake Drive, First Street and South Willow Street adjacent to Onondaga Lake Park.
Val Lamont’s firm Liverpool Properties LLC – which owns 201 First St. and 110 S. Willow St., where Limp Lizard Barbecue and the White Water Pub are doing business, respectively – wants to build a 49-space shared parking lot in the middle of the block and add a deck behind the Limp Lizard.
Meanwhile, JGB Properties plans to construct three buildings along lower First and South Willow streets with 47 residential units, six office spaces and two retail spaces.
And the village’s most successful restaurateur, John Gormel, owns the Barking Gull, which could soon open to the public at 116 S. Willow St., on the basin block’s southwest corner. Gormel and his family also own several residential properties along Lake Drive.
As April 28’s marathon meeting came to a close, the board members voted to recommend to village trustees that they consider using a village-owned 20-foot-wide strip of land between the Gull and the White Water for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. To help make that plan feasible Gormel offered to widen that strip by adding 6 feet of his own property to the potential driveway.
In return he’d like to see an existing village-owned roadway connecting the middle of the block to Lake Drive turned into a pedestrian-only walkway.
“Monday’s meeting took a while but I feel it was time well spent,” said Planning Board Chairman Joe Ostuni Jr. “We’re working through some complex situations, and I’m pleased that we have had as much property-owner involvement in the planning process as we’ve had.”
Village Engineer Greg Sgromo reported that he’d met with Gormel, JGB representatives, and talked by telephone to Liverpool Properties representative Tom Juliano along with planning board members John Eallonardo and Peter Osborne. The parties hope to “clean up disjointed property lines, some dating back 150 years,” Sgromo said. “The conversations went well and everybody’s open to looking at various options. They’re willing to sit down and talk about what works for everybody.”
Village Attorney John Langey noted that the board’s recommendation to consider using that 20-foot strip for vehicles as well as pedestrians is a change from board’s August 2013 recommendation that it be maintained as a walkway only. “But that was before you saw the other plans [such as the proposed JGB mixed-use development],” Langey said. The lawyer reminded the planners that their recommendation was “not binding,” and merely allows the trustees to “consider” vehicular use.
Liverpool Properties architect Peter Crissey said that Gormel’s offer to widen the village-owned strip to 26 feet, “would help a lot.” If the strip south of the White Water became a driveway, the pub’s present driveway north of the building could be eliminated, thus providing some buffer for the JGB residential units.
Liverpool Mayor Gary White and Trustee Nick Kochan attended both the April 7 and 28 planning board meetings.
Continued development on the basin block, Ostuni said, necessitates cooperation. “Our resident planning board members, elected officials, professional resources and business owners working together is what makes our village the best,” he said.
Future planning board meetings are scheduled for June 2 and 23.