Planning Commission meeting re: sign waiver



NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that a public hearing will be held Monday, April 27, 2009, at 6:00 p.m. in the Common Council Chambers, City Hall, Syracuse, New York to consider in full or in part the following applications:
. . . . . .
7) Application No. AS-08-33, for a Sign Waiver of area, type, and number, on property situated at 2327 James Street, owned by Five Point Development Grant, zoned Local Business, Class A, pursuant to Part C, Section X, of the City of Syracuse Zoning Rules and Regulations, as amended.

(See notification of complete meeting HERE.)

Look familiar?

Yep, we just went to the same meeting on April 6. What happened in that meeting? No decision was made. After three years of not communicating with the community and only one whole business day before the April 6 planning commission meeting, the developer requested and was granted the opportunity to meet with community members before a decision would be rendered. So he didn’t show up or even send a representative to the April 6 meeting where one person, Minch Lewis, spoke in favor of the waiver, one person offered a compromise (and was told this was not the meeting in which to do that), and over a dozen people spoke against it.

So what are we to do now?

Let me quote Frank Coon here. Frank, owner of CareFree Realty, grew up in Eastwood and has been responsible for the design, permitting and development of more than 120,000 acres, more than 18,000 homes being sold and/or built, and several million square feet of all types of commercial properties in New York, Texas and Florida. He knows the developer game. Frank says:

If their requirements are reasonable, a good developer knows that they will be able to attract quality businesses and tenants. These will last for years.

Especially in today’s economy, and some of these do this even in good times, there are the “vultures” out there who will do or say anything to get things their way – and all “on the cheap”. Nothing is left unturned to accomplish their goals – political manipulation, bullying tactics toward the residents and other business people, etc. Sound familiar ?? That type of “cheap” development may work for a couple of years, but will not last.

This is primarily due to the fact that this type developer ends up with a similar class of tenants who run their business “on the cheap”, end up running them into the ground and leave owing all kinds of money. Then the community is left with buildings that not only do not fit with the rest of the community, but will not and do not stand up to the elements – and good quality tenants turn their noses up at that type property – and it can turn them off to the community. That’s because that type development tells them a lot about the quality of the community and their prospective customers.

The “birds of a feather” thing does apply.


Eastwood is full of people who do not have the experience with developers that Frank has. They haven’t had to think like a developer to get their work done, so they cannot necessarily conceive of the game that’s being played with this last-minute meeting and the offer of one more “compromise” when in fact we’ve already been compromised to death. Too bad we have to be that cynical just to protect ourselves from the type of developers whose  deeds on James St., present or future, would contribute to the kind of destruction of the social fabric that has taken place at Salina and Ballantyne streets.

Streetscape design includes lighting, sidewalks, where buildings are placed and how transparent they are to the street. If streetscape design were not beneficial, the City of Syracuse would not have invested over three hundred thousand dollars in the sidewalk improvements we’ve gotten in the past three years. Yet all this can be overshadowed by poor building design. In other words, if we allow the guidelines to be disregarded, we have essentially thrown away all the money spent on sidewalks and other beautification.

The unraveling of the fabric of our community starts by allowing one hole in the enforcement of the guidelines. Strong guidelines attract good developers.

No ground signs.  Period.

Frank would concur. And so would the public.

So far, forty-six people have voted in the public survey about the sign waiver (top right sidebar). The results:

  • 79.55% chose the following options :
    • Absolutely not. The signs on their walls are more than enough.
    • No, that kind of sign shouldn’t be there.

The remaining 20.45% was evenly divided between “I like it”, “It’s okay”, and “I don’t care either way.”

What do you think?

One thought on “Planning Commission meeting re: sign waiver”

  1. I’ll be at the third stupid meeting in as many months, but it doesn’t seem like the CPC is at all interested in what the community has to say. I didn’t bother getting up to the mic at the last meeting, because they as much as said they weren’t going to make a decision that day. My perception is that palms have been greased, and the developer will get his way. The Overlay Ordinance is only as good as the will to enforce it, and the hand puppets on the CPC have none.

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