Apr 09, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Cazenovia Village Board of Trustees has scheduled a public hearing for May 5 to discuss the requested zone change for Eric Burrell’s building at 4 Chenango St., which would, if approved, allow Alicyn Hart to move her restaurant Circa to that location. The hearing was scheduled last week after Burrell gave the board on update on his proposed building expansion project.
Both the project proposal and the zone change request have caused concerns from the Mill Street and Chenango Street neighbors since it was announced earlier this year, while just a few weeks ago the village planning board offered a negative recommendation on the zone change, deciding in a 4-1 vote that the idea was not in line with the village Comprehensive Plan.
During the village board’s April 2 meeting, Burrell, along with his attorney George Conway, informed the board that they will continue to move forward with the project and seek the board’s approval. Earlier that day they had submitted a required environmental study of the proposed project with the village.
“We will be submitting things throughout the month … even though there was a negative recommendation from the planning board,” Conway said.
Burrell gave a brief presentation to the board in which he explained recent changes he had made in his project plans as a way to better respond to and hopefully alleviate some of his neighbors’ concerns. He said he plans to make the southern entrance to the circular drive on his property an employee-only, one-way entrance, which will prevent traffic and headlights from impacting the neighbors, which are located on the south and southwest sides of his building. He also plans to build a six-foot-high solid fence along the southern edge of the property which, being on a high grade, will be the equivalent of a 20-foot fence.
“There will never be headlights coming up and shining into these homes,” he said.
Parking will be in the existing lot on the northern, creek-side of the building, which is also where the restaurant entrance will be; the lighting will be only one light shining on the restaurant entrance and a motion-detected light by the parking light.
He said the ambient noise level of the creek is 60 decibels, and any noise or music that comes from the restaurant will be at a maximum of 60 decibels — “so it will never be heard,” he said.
Any garbage generated by Circa — which is not much since Hart composts and recycles most of her garbage — will fit in the building’s current three blue plastic trash cans, “it is not a dumpster,” and will be moved down to the parking lot, he said.
The major item discussed at the meeting was Burrell’s intention to donate the land behind the parking lot and building to the village or the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation for use as a public-use trails and public lands.
In response to some neighbor concerns about the creation of some sort of public “park” next to their homes, Mayor Kurt Wheeler said it would be more accurate to call it “public access green space,” and that such public use of land is necessary for any possible zone change to a Planned Development (PD) zone, as is currently being contemplated.
“We wouldn’t even be thinking about it as a PD if there was not an additional public benefit,” Wheeler said. “I think there’s a lot of interest of tapping into that [green space]. My position, similar to South Meadows, is that if the village has an opportunity to acquire public use lands, then that is a good thing to do.”
Burrell said that there are currently trails that exist on his property that the public walks and places where the public fishes, and, since it is his private property, he is currently liable if someone gets hurt. “Public access is certain in my financial best interests,” he said.
Wheeler also said he has asked professional planner Dan Kwasnowski, who worked for the village on the Village Edge South zoning regulations and design guidelines, to review Burrell’s project and write a brief analysis of the concept. Village Attorney Jim Stokes is also reviewing the plan to see how it fits within the village Comprehensive Plan, and the village has sent the plans to the Madison County Planning Board for its review as well.
Other than seeking further details on the possible public green space access and the schedule of how this issue will move forward in the village board and planning board, the Mill Street and Chenango Street neighbors present at the meeting had no other comments or questions.
Between now and the public hearing on May 5, Burrell said he will continue working on the necessary paperwork and environmental studies for his proposed project.
Wheeler said that after the May 5 public hearing, if the village board decides it has received enough information about the project they may vote on whether to approve or reject the proposed zone change. If they approve it, the project goes back to the village planning board for site plan review; if they reject then Burrell must decide whether to abandon the idea or completely revamp it and try again.
All files, submissions and public input concerning Burrell’s Chenango Street project are available to the public at the village municipal offices. Wheeler said the board continues to welcome further public input on the project.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia republican. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.