The town of Clay recently completed a study to determine the best uses for land north of Route 31.
“It was an internal study we started a couple of years ago under [former Commissioner of Planning and Development] Dave Tessier,” said Supervisor James Rowley. “We know the pressure for development and we wanted to try to get ahead of the curve. The study will give us a guideline as to how that development should take place.”
Rowley said that 85 to 90 percent of the land studied will likely be divided into large lots 60,000 square feet or larger. The town created a new zone for this land — R-60 — which will replace the existing R-40 zoning for new development only. The study, indeed, pertains only to new development; existing development already zoned R-40 will not be forced to come into compliance with the new zone.
According to the study and data provided by the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), while the total number of households in the town will increase by 15 percent by 2025, the total number of households in this area will increase by 30 percent.
The study also called for the implementation of a River Overlay District zone in the town code. That zoning would apply to areas along Clay’s waterfront.
“We’re in the process now of putting together what that means,” Rowley said. “We’re using a grant to conduct a waterfront revitalization study with Plumley Engineering.”
The area examined by the Town of Clay Northern Land Use Study is primarily vacant agricultural land at this time. The study area is divided into nine areas (see map):
– Horseshoe Island, bounded by the Oneida River and the Erie Canal;
– Bonstead, bounded by the Erie Canal, Oneida River, Morgan Road, Route 31 and Route 481;
– Three Rivers, including the Three Rivers site and bounded by Route 481, Route 31, the Seneca River and the Oneida River;
– Caughdenoy, bounded by the Oneida River and the Erie Canal and including Lock 23;
– Orangeport, bounded by the Erie Canal, the Oneida River, the Cicero town border, Mud Mill Road and Caughdenoy Road;
– Ver Plank, bounded by Oak Orchard Road, the Clay Industrial Park, Route 31 and Morgan Road;
– Clay Industrial Park, including the park itself and bounded by Mud Mill Road, the Cicero town border and Route 31;
– Maple Road, bounded by Route 31, the CSX railroad tracks and Route 481; and
– Cherry Estates, bouned by Route 31, Route 481, the Cicero border and the CSX railroad tracks.
The study examined land features that would limit development in all nine areas (wetlands, flood plains and soil suitability for septic systems) and facilities supporting development (public sewer systems, public water service and existing highways). Based upon that data, the study offers recommendations for how each of the nine areas should be developed.
There are several existing development proposals within the study area. The study will be used to determine how to best proceed with these developments. The town hopes the study will help to create development which will ease traffic, promote circulation within and between future neighborhoods and aid in economic development.
To see the study, contact the town at 652-3800 or visit their website at townofclay.org.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club’s Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.