It's not often that the Village of Lansing has a contested election. Most years members of the Community Party run unchallenged. But this year Mayor Donald Hartill and Trustees Pat O'Rourke and Ronny Hardaway will be challenged in the April 25th election. In a letter to Lansing Trails neighbors, John A. LaVine announced that the newly formed Village of Lansing Preservation Party, which he chairs, would be collecting signatures to get Lisa Bonniwell on the ballot to challenge Hartill for the Mayor's office, and Tatyana Duval and Gregory Eells for the Trustee seats.
Last year Bonniwell, and her mother Janet Jonson rallied neighbors to protest a zoning change on a lot on Bomax Road from High Density Business and Technology to High Density Residential use. They brought over 50 neighbors toVillage trustee meetings to protest the change, saying the upscale apartment complex proposed for the lot would harm their property values, create unsafe additional traffic, and threaten the character of their neighborhood. The Lansing Trails 1 and 2 and Janivar Road neighborhoods were conceived and built by Janet's husband, developer Ivar Jonson.
"If elected, our first order of business will be to reverse the spot zoning change on Bomax Drive," says LaVine's letter. "Our candidates are opposed to this housing project being built in our neighborhood and possibly others to follow on the other side of Bomax Drive and off of Dart Drive."
Trustee John O'Neill also planned to send a letter to his neighbors in Lansing Trails 1. O'Neill says he is sending his letter as a citizen and fellow neighbor, not as a Village official. The letter complains that the connection between Lansing Trails 2 and 1 has brought too much traffic to the original neighborhood that O'Neill and his wife have lived in for 16 years.
"After 5 years (about 2006) the connection between Nor Way (south) and Janivar Dr. was completed. The northern half of Nor Way, connecting with Craft Rd. will not be completed at this time. Traffic, traffic, traffic," O'Neill's letter says. "Our neighborhood was a runway from Warren Rd. and Triphammer Rd."
The last contested election in the Village was in 2012, when Yasamin Miller and Brian Goodell challenged O'Neill and Julie Baker for their seats as Trustees. The incumbents won in that vote.
All six candidates must meet petition requirement for village elections as set out by New York State. New York election law states, "An independent nominating petition for a village office must be signed by at least one hundred voters in villages containing a population of five thousand or more; by at least seventy-five voters in villages containing a population of three thousand and less than five thousand; and by at least fifty voters in villages containing a population of one thousand and less than three thousand; and in villages containing a population of less than one thousand by voters numbering at least five per centum of the number of voters at the last regular village election."
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of the Village of Lansing at 3,629 in 2015.
Hartill is running for his 11th term as Mayor, and served as a Village Trustee for eight years. O'Rourke was appointed to fill the remainder of Trustee Larry Fresinski's term in 2010, and is running for the third time. Hardaway is running for his second term in office.
The Village of Lansing Preservation Party was registered with the NYS Board of Elections on January 6th.
Independent nominating petitions are distributed from February 7 until March 14th.