Village planners recommend use for small strip of land on basin block

— The five-member Liverpool Village Planning Board met for three hours and 13 minutes on April 28 after meeting for two and a half hours at a special meeting convened on April 7. Each session lasted more than twice as long as most planning board meetings.

The agendas were dominated by discussion of development on the basin block bounded by Lake Drive, First Street and South Willow Street adjacent to Onondaga Lake Park.

Val Lamont’s firm Liverpool Properties LLC – which owns 201 First St. and 110 S. Willow St., where Limp Lizard Barbecue and the White Water Pub are doing business, respectively – wants to build a 49-space shared parking lot in the middle of the block and add a deck behind the Limp Lizard.

Meanwhile, JGB Properties plans to construct three buildings along lower First and South Willow streets with 47 residential units, six office spaces and two retail spaces.

And the village’s most successful restaurateur, John Gormel, owns the Barking Gull, which could soon open to the public at 116 S. Willow St., on the basin block’s southwest corner. Gormel and his family also own several residential properties along Lake Drive.

As April 28’s marathon meeting came to a close, the board members voted to recommend to village trustees that they consider using a village-owned 20-foot-wide strip of land between the Gull and the White Water for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. To help make that plan feasible Gormel offered to widen that strip by adding 6 feet of his own property to the potential driveway.

In return he’d like to see an existing village-owned roadway connecting the middle of the block to Lake Drive turned into a pedestrian-only walkway.

“Monday’s meeting took a while but I feel it was time well spent,” said Planning Board Chairman Joe Ostuni Jr. “We’re working through some complex situations, and I’m pleased that we have had as much property-owner involvement in the planning process as we’ve had.”

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