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Planning board approves zoning changes

    PENN YAN—The Yates County Planning Board has approved changes to Jerusalem’s zoning laws which will help pave the way to begin construction of the Finger Lakes Cultural and Natural History Museum. Proposed amendments to the zoning regulations were given approval during the regular meeting Thursday, April 26.
    Planning Board Vice-Chair Charles Mitchell explained the current zoning regulations for Jerusalem do not mention anything about allowing a museum to be built. For the amended ordinance, “museums” would be added to the list of permitted uses and structures in the town’s agricultural residential districts. County Planner Shawna Bonshak pointed out no other clauses regarding educational institutions would be instilled in the zoning law changes. “This would only apply to museums,” said Bonshak. “Not any other educational use.” A letter from Jerusalem Attorney Phil Bailey also points out any other activity on the matter such as filling out State Environmental and Quality Review Act (SEQR) forms would not be affected by the proposed zoning changes. He indicated such business “has been directed solely to the museum.”
    A $40 million project, the Finger Lakes Museum is expected to have two different sites. The main location is a 620-acre campus in Keuka State Park. Museum leaders are also planning to have a site at the former Branchport Elementary School. The museum is expected to be a cultural resource devoted to the stewardship, education, and enjoyment of the Finger Lakes region. For the Keuka State Park site, the plan is to have more of a focus on traditional-based exhibits. The Branchport location is intended to be a research center with hands-on educational exhibits for students and visitors. Museum officials are aiming to begin renovations in Branchport this July. According to Don Naetzker, the museum’s executive director, there is no clear knowledge of when work would begin in Keuka Park. However, he noted the hope is for that construction to start by the end of 2013.
    Before conducting a final vote on the amended zoning ordinance, the Jerusalem town board must hold a public hearing on the changes. That hearing has been scheduled for the next regular Jerusalem meeting on Wednesday, May 16.
    In other business:
    • Susan Atkisson and Brian Figuliette of Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters were given approval to construct and operate a retail market at 2792 Route 54A in Jerusalem. Atkisson explained the market would be used to produce and sell coffee-based products which the company produces. She added the store would probably be open three or four days a week.
    • The planning board approved for Theresa Wagaman to convert her home at 106 Main St. in Penn Yan from a single-family to two-family house. Wagaman said she is having trouble paying off mortgage on the home which is why she wants to make the change. She added the house was originally for two families, but it was converted to single-family right before she purchased the property in 2007.
    • Aaron Ray Martin was approved to have a six-foot tall fence in front of his property at 2811 Route 14 in Torrey. Martin said he was not aware the town did not allow for the height of a fence to exceed 2.5 feet until after he built the one around his property. The purpose of the six-foot fence, he explained, is to help prevent children from running on the road. Martin also pointed out the taller fence would help drone out traffic noise.
    • The planning board approved the annual report for 2011. Overall, a total of 70 referrals were received during the course of the year. The town of Milo had the most submitted with 16. Of all the county referrals, the board recommended approval for 45 of them; 16 were approved with modifications, and nine were disapproved/tabled.

 


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