To the editor:
In response to Town Councilor Diamond’s letter to the editor explaining the town board’s unanimous 5-0 approval to change the zoning to allow for increased density housing in the Collington Pointe East development, I believe there are still many unanswered questions.
The stated purpose of the incentive zoning law is to preserve farmland by creating inter alia, open spaces. The approved project does not create any open spaces, and I do not see how it preserves any farmland. In fact, one of the parcels surrounded by the site, as well as several area parcels, are enrolled in the New York Agricultural District. Does the town board know (or have they looked into) what the potential impacts of higher density zoning in this area will be on the existing agricultural land?
In order to quantify how much land the town is “preserving” in exchange for increased densification, we need to know how many of the 36 acres that the town has acquired would have been reasonably developed under the original AR-40 zoning. We know that at least approximately 12 acres of the town acquired land are wetland and would not be developable. IF AR-40 zoned property allows for one-acre lots, why were only 45 lots allowed under the original AR-40 zoning for 76.3 acres of property?
I had the opportunity to listen to a recording of the Town of Lysander Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meeting regarding the zoning application. It was clear to me from this meeting the developer had no intention of building 45 lots under the AR-40 zoning, as that would require privately owned roads, which is not something he would be willing to do. The developer (or his proxy) indicated he would either get incentive zoning or nothing. It struck me that the developer was forthcoming with his intentions. Unfortunately, and despite significant public interest in this application, I do not believe the town board adequately conveyed pertinent details related to the application and ultimate approval to our town residents.
Further, the Onondaga County Planning Board reviewed the zone change request submitted by the town board at the request of Bella Casa Builders and unanimously rejected the request 7-0. The meeting minutes presented a litany of concerns and reasons for the rejection. If the application changed so significantly and the town board believes the updated application met the bar the county set in its rejection, why not cross your T’s and dot your i’s by sending it back to county for approval?