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Appalled by planning board decision

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

I am appalled that an appointed planning board whose responsibility is to protect the interest of its citizens, has instead chosen to unanimously support the commercial endeavor of one developer by recommending the approval of the light height variance, further ignoring the voiced concerns of residents in the Skaneateles community.

In anticipation of the Sept. 18 planning board meeting, I delivered a petition from my neighbors and further inquired about the additional concerns they had regarding the obvious correlation between lighting and noise generation. When I relayed the neighbors’ eagerness to attend the meeting later that same day, the secretary of the town planning board, informed me that “it would not be necessary for neighbors to attend because Dr. Pietropaoli had canceled.” She told me the next time Victory Sports Medicine was on the agenda would be Oct. 16.

The concerned neighbors are now shocked and angry that Lance Wardell, COO of Victory Sports Medicine, did in fact represent Victory Sports Medicine before the planning board that same evening according to the published minutes, which resulted in the following motion: “Wherefore a motion was made by Member Alan Briggs and seconded by Member Scott Winkelman that the Town of Skaneateles Planning Board is in full support for approval of the height variance request for the proposed athletic fields lighting, requested by Victory Sports Medicine for the Victory Sports Campus Project. The Board having been polled resulted in the unanimous affirmance of said motion.” The minutes can be found online at townofskaneateles.com/pub/docs/pbm.09.18.2012.pdf.

This action was done in spite of the fact that a petition stating the concerns of many residents had been presented, and their willingness to attend was made clear. Furthermore, that decision was made, not based on a “neighborhood meeting” as stated in the minutes of the board: “Chairman Tucker attended the neighborhood meeting given by Dr. Pietropaoli on Sept. 9 and stated that the drainage concerns of the western neighbors was alleviated based on the fact that their property is at a higher elevation than the western part of Victory Sports Campus. The lighting demonstration also removed their concern regarding the athletic field lighting.” It was instead based on an “Invitation Only” presentation given by the developer. The invitations were distributed at the developer’s discretion to selected recipients, and not to all affected neighbors, including those with adjacent property. The presentation was hosted by Victory Sports Medicine in a biased and limited forum at the developer’s facility.

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