Feb 11, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
After nearly two years of work, proposed changes to the village zoning regulations and the establishment of design guidelines governing future development in the Village Edge South area have been unanimously approved into local law by the village board of trustees.
The result is that the 84-acre area off Route 20 currently for sale will be developed in a mixed-use capacity for business and residential, all in a manner consistent with the style and feel of the village yet flexible enough to allow developers to build as they principally envision.
“This is an outcome that will allow a considerable degree of desirable economic growth while at the same time preserving the valued qualities of the zone more effectively than the old zoning and planning for development of the area in a way that reflects and enhances the village character,” said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. “I truly believe the intent of the EHH committee’s mission was fulfilled.”
The EHH committee was formed by a resolution of the village board in March 2012 to amend the village zoning law in order to prepare VES for future development that preserves and protects the land while also allowing for smart economic growth, according to the committee’s original establishment resolution. The board has met monthly since then, held numerous public meetings and information sessions and late in 2013 hired professional planner Dan Kwasnowski, of Applied Planning, to assist in the final phase of the work.
After completing a visual preference survey of 100 village residents late last year, the committee completed the VES draft design guidelines and draft zoning amendment in early January of this year.
The design guidelines for the zone on Route 20 across from the Tops plaza plan for a “commercial core” with retail shops, a hotel and a public green space, surrounded by residential single-family houses, condominiums, town houses and possibly senior housing. The neighborhood aesthetic will be of sidewalks, front porches and landscaping. The plan also calls for a pedestrian pathway along Route 20 inside a double aisle of trees and greenery that would also act as a barrier between the road and the development.
The main idea of the committee’s work is to “make it easier for the area to be developed the way the village wants it to be developed,” Kwasnowski he has said at previous village board meetings.
The village board held its final public hearing on the zoning and design guidelines on Monday, Feb. 3, during which no comments were made by the public.
One comment on the proposed law that was received by the village board that same day was a recommendation report made by the Madison County Planning Department, which commended the village and the EHH Committee for their efforts to “develop a clear vision for this gateway into the village.” The MCPD stated that Cazenovia will be the first municipality in Madison County to utilize design guidelines, and it felt the guidelines “will be a model for other villages and cities in the county.”
The Madison County Planning Department had previously reviewed the draft zoning amendments and design guidelines in September 2013, and, in addition to offering suggestions that were ultimately incorporated into the final guidelines, stated, “This really is well thought out and has tremendous vision.”
Wheeler mentioned the county planning board’s report during the Feb. 3 meeting and quoted from it.
After reviewing the State Environmental Quality Review Act issues that pertain to the proposed new law and declaring that the legislative action will have no significant environmental impact, the board unanimously voted to approve the new law 4-0, with Trustee Jim Joseph absent.
“I am deeply appreciative to the members of the EHH committee who put in countless hours over the past two years,” Wheeler said. “Committee members Don Ferlow and Ted Bartlett, in particular, provided the community with incredible expertise that was invaluable. Our professional planner, Dan Kwasnowski, and our village attorney, Jim Stokes, also worked tirelessly on this effort. I am very proud of the process which included stakeholders from all perspectives and was as thorough and inclusive as any initiative I’ve seen since I began serving the village.”
With the zoning amended and the design guidelines approved, the Village Edge South area is now ready for potential development. Wheeler said he already has had inquiries from people “interested in a range of different options” on the site. He said there also is “tremendous enthusiasm” in the village for the proposed environmental and quality of life elements such as permanently protected green space areas and an expanded trail and sidewalk network “to make Cazenovia even more walkable than it is now.”
All of the EHH Committee’s meeting minutes, work and concept maps, as well as the VES design guidelines (with map) and zoning recommendations are currently on the village website at villageofcazenovia.com/planning-and-zoning.
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.