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No Chenango Street location for Circa

Burrell withdraws zone change request due to neighbor pressure

A "For Lease" realty sign is now up in the front window of Circa. The restaurant's lease expires May 31 and owner Alicyn Hart is looking for a new location.

A "For Lease" realty sign is now up in the front window of Circa. The restaurant's lease expires May 31 and owner Alicyn Hart is looking for a new location. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— To accomplish the project, Burrell requested a zone change from the current R-10 Residential District zoning to a planned development (PD) zone. The village board referred the zone change application to the planning board for a recommendation.

The Chenango and Mill street neighbors, however, attended meetings and wrote letters voicing numerous concerns about the potential neighborhood impact of the restaurants lights, noise, parking and traffic issues and even garbage. Neighbor Helen Stacy retained local attorney Paul Curtin to represent her and make her concerns especially known.

In March, the village planning board voted 3-1 to offer a negative recommendation to the village board on the zone change application. The planning board’s decision is only a non-binding recommendation; the village board has the final say, and they were expected to vote on the issue at their May 5 meeting. Instead Mayor Kurt Wheeler announced to the room full of spectators that Burrell had withdrawn his request for the restaurant and instead would seek to add on more office space for his business, which is also located in the building.

“There was just enough community pressure that I didn’t want to … I have a business to run. I need this addition,” he said.

Burrell said the addition would be essentially the same as previously proposed, but instead of porches and outdoor patio he will enclose the entire addition. He also remains committed to seek an easement for the trails and Chittenango Creek access on his property that local residents currently use, even though it is his private property.

“I’d love to get an easement so I don’t have to incur the insurance liability I have now,” he said.

During the public comment portion of the hearing, numerous neighbors reiterated their opposition to the proposed zone change, saying that even without a restaurant moving in, Burrell’s proposed project is an inappropriate use of the lot and does not conform to the village Comprehensive Plan.

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