In the guise of protection


To the editor:

The following letter was delivered to the village trustees at the “Western Gateway” public hearing on July 7

The proposed Western Gateway commercial district attempts to address multiple issues in the guise of ensuring the protection of existing homes and businesses on Ledyard Avenue. The proposed zoning provides no additional legal protection over what the homeowners have today.

There is a key distinction, however:

Under the current zoning, if a revised use is sought, the burden is placed on the owner or outside corporation to prove there would be no negative impact. Under the proposed zoning, that burden would be placed on the existing owners to substantiate disapproval of the proposed legal use. Under current zoning, such uses are not allowed and must be appealed. Under the proposed zoning, such uses are not only legal, but would be promoted in the name of economic benefit.

This played out recently in the town, in the Jephson Estate seeking a bed and breakfast use. There, neighborhood concerns overruled the proposed non-allowed use. Regardless of one’s views on this matter, had this been under the proposed village zoning, the neighborhood would be fighting against an allowed use. This is a harder battle for residents to fight. It is so contrary to the support we seek from our elected officials.

I supported the new zoning for Route 20 East [Village Edge South] as the best compromise that would allow 50-acres of office buildings, new mixed use buildings and a hotel, also known as an event center. Other areas of Cazenovia should be kept free of commercial development until this area is filled. As a developer, why would I choose to build on Route 20 if I could simply convert a home on Ledyard Avenue to office space?

At the last meeting, the proposed zoning was wrongly said to be supported by Randall Arendt’s concept of mixed-use buildings in walkable communities. Nowhere does Arndt propose to wedge commercial business into established residential neighborhoods.

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