Stuck in High Traffic

Village planning board chairman Mario Tomei said the zoning can be changed to accommodate medium traffic. 

Owner of Triax Management Group and local landowner Eric Goetzmann’s request for a zoning change for a parcel of land he owns in the Village of Lansing, for the moment, has been denied. The parcel is located off North Triphammer Rd, across the street from the village town hall and between the YMCA and Ciao restaurant.

Goetzmann has owned the property for several years; however, its current zoning - Commercial Low Traffic (CLT) - does not allow him to develop the land the way he would like to. Earlier this month, he began his request for a Commercial High Traffic (CHT) rezoning at the Lansing Board of Trustees public meeting on Feb. 2. Dialogue for that request moved forward with the village’s planning board during the board’s public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

While the planning board wasn’t completely against the idea of increasing the amount of commercial traffic the parcel is zoned for, most members were skeptical of making such a change.

“We have trouble with the request for high traffic,” Tomei said. Goetzmann replied that he “had to start somewhere.” Based on Tuesday night’s conversation between Goetzmann and the board, there appears to be wiggle room for a compromise in the near future. The planning board is currently discussing creating two new districts – one south of Oakcrest Road, and one north of Oakcrest Road. The goal of such districts would be “to create a buffer zone for neighborhoods” between residential spaces and the high commercial spaces of the Shops at Ithaca Mall and BJ’s, among others, Tomei explained.

“We can make some changes [to Goetzmann’s parcel] without making it wide open [for hotels and more big boxes],” Tomei added. A medium traffic commercial zoning would, in theory, give Goetzmann the flexibility to build some kind of retail. While he was “unsure” what exactly he would like to put on the parcel, Goetzmann told the Village of Lansing Board of Trustees he is thinking about “something that works with [the local housing around the property” and something “more associated with retail.” He added that he envisions the kind of retail neighboring residents could go to over the weekend and “pick up anything they need” and used a Byrne Dairy as an example.

Board member Deborah Dawson said she was confused as to what something like a Byrne Dairy would give residents that the Shops at the Ithaca Mall or Tops doesn’t provide them with already. Goetzmann stressed on multiple occasions of a demographic in the village that “simple won’t go into the mall,” and would much rather have some place where they could “go in and out” without driving down Route 13 into Ithaca to do so. Dawson noted the village “doesn’t want another fast food [restaurant] and another gas station.”

“It’s not the intent of Lansing to make residents drive into Ithaca for everything they need,” Goetzmann said. “When the village was mapped out 40 years ago, I understand this parcel being zoned as Commercial Low Traffic. But if the village was incorporated today, this would be Commercial High Traffic.”

Tomei said that as his vision becomes more specific, and the village moves forward with its two-district rezoning, there would be potential to reach some sort of common ground to appease both parties.

“I just wanted to begin the discussion,” Goetzmann said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

This is a space for civil feedback and conversation. A few guidelines: 1. be kind and courteous. 2. no hate speech or bullying. 3. no promotions or spam. If necessary, we will ban members who do not abide by these standards.

Recommended for you