Lansing Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing

Click here for Planning Board documents, including public comments that were submitted on the Comprehensive Plan revision.
The Lansing Town Planning Board hear public comments Monday to be considered for its final draft of the Comprehensive Plan revision before sending it to the Town Board for consideration.  About 30 people attended the hearing  A dozen people spoke.

"We all want to see some growth, but not stupid growth," reflected Planning Board Chairman Tom Ellis.  "We struggle with 'where do you put it?'  We've made a pact to preserve farm land when we can and as we can.  We see, on the other end, that our infrastructure is moving north.  The logical place, in the planning sense, is to move people and density where the infrastructure is moving.  It's constantly a balance trying to infill existing neighborhoods or work around existing neighborhoods to keep growth where it probably should be, as opposed to chewing up farmland.  It's always easier to say 'can't they move this to some place else?'  Where is that 'someplace else'?"

The Board was criticized for not including the public in its deliberations, but Board members observed that all the meetings were announced on the Town Web site and the Ithaca Journal, and were open to the public, but only a few people attended.

"Only one or two of the general public attended planning board sessions or meetings," said Planning Board member Dean Shea.  They gave no comments nor inquired about the process, progress, or substance of the review during the sessions.  The general public did not contact the Board as a whole with comments, process, progress, or substance of the review until beginning approximately September 25th, 2017, with some comments being submitted as late as today, October 30th at 4:20 pm.  A few individuals did contact individual board members during the review, and their concerns and comments were relayed to the Board and considered in the board review process."

A number of comments expressed dismay that zoning recommendation language for the 'Bell Station' land had been scaled back, effectively recommending keeping existing zoning in place.  Planning Board members later reflected that the existing ' Lakeshore Low Density' zoning already allows a state park as a use, but restricting the land to just that use would restrict private lakefront construction.  They noted that a 'Recreation' zone in earlier language in the plan isn't a category of zone that Lansing has.  Board members said they have to balance potential tax revenue with land use, but were supportive of the idea of a public recreation area.

The 'Bell Station' land is owned by NYSEG.  When NYSEG sold the Milliken Station power plant to AES they retained the 490 acres with the intention of building the Bell Station Nuclear Plant there. In 1969 the Tompkins County Board of Supervisors approved the plant. The $320 million plant was fiercely opposed by a Trumansburg group in 1973. A 2,436,000kw reactor was planned to produce a net 838,000kw of power. However, the plant was never built.

In November 2012 Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp proposed that the State acquire the land for use as a state park or forest.  At that time town officials indicated they would be supportive of such a use provided the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) entered into a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the Town to insure some level of tax revenue for Lansing.  The eastern portion of the land has been leased to farmers, and the western potion includes 3,400 feet of shoreline along Cayuga Lake. 

A number of speakers commented on the triangle of land surrounded by Triphammer Road, Hillcrest Road, and Triphammer terrace.  Many neighboring homeowners objected to changing the zoning to allow business use, but John Young, who owns the property, said that nobody wants to build a $500,000 home on that land because there is too much traffic noise.  He objected to neighbors expectation that he should bear the cost of mitigating their stormwater issues without doing anything to address them on their own properties.  He said he is considering building his own office, a low-traffic impact business on the land if the zoning changes to allow business use in the future.

Others expressed concern for keeping the Lansing Center Trail intact in the face of proposed development on the 153 acres of town-owned land across the street from the town ball fields.  Ellis said that the Board is not ignoring that concern, and, in fact, requires developers to include public trails and walkways, and to work around the current trail, including providing right of way to the trail.  Ellis noted that new developments are strongly encouraged to include new trails in their projects.

A number of other comments criticized the Board for inadequately notifying residents of their deliberations, but Board members observed that they had exceeded state requirements for notification.  Board Member Al Fiorille acknowledged some of the suggestions and said the Planning Board would consider further methods of notification.