Village board begins work on possible Riverside Drive redevelopment plan

— The village board last week took its first official step to attempt to redevelop — once again — the currently vacant municipal land on Riverside Drive behind the Cazenovia Public Library by tasking the village’s professional planner to create a development plan and detailed map of the area.

“Part of what’s driving this is that we’ve done interim improvements with parking [behind the library] but we’ve had feedback that we need a more permanent solution,” said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. “The key is to right-size the proposal and not do too much.”

From 2008 to 2012, the village board had discussed the possible creation of a medical center/senior apartment complex on the Riverside Drive municipal land. The project ultimately failed to materialize after St. Joseph’s Hospital decided to put plans on hold in order to focus on expanding its facility in the Atwell Mill Annex.

Plans to revisit the redevelopment of Riverside Drive were intended to be broached by the village board towards the end of 2014, but the discussions concerning rezoning for Eric Burrell’s office building at 4 Chenango St. in order to relocate the restaurant Circa there — which neighbors opposed and Burrell ultimately withdrew his rezoning application — prompted the timeline to be brought forward, Wheeler said. The village board saw the situation as an “opportunity to review the whole corridor more holistically,” according to a board statement in May. “[Burrell’s] separate request for a zone change to Planned Development [PD] for [his] parcel has been tabled in favor of consideration as part of a larger PD zone including the village-owned parcel behind the library and others parcels to be determined during the process.”

The village board had scheduled a public hearing on Burrell’s zone change request to precede its June 2 regular monthly meeting, but when Burrell withdrew his application, the board announced instead that it would use the hearing time to discuss the broader planning process for the Riverside Drive/Chittenango Creek corridor.

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