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May 17, 2019 Issue  
Lansing, New York  
Volume 15, Issue 19
[---- Lansing, NY Alert! ----]
Here are the results from the school budget vote and board candidate election: Proposition #1 – School Budget 559, 83% - Yes 111, 17% - No Proposition #2 – Student Transportation Vehicles 568, 86% - Yes 96, 14% - No Board Candidates Kristen Hopkins – 528 Susan Tabrizi – 439 Linda Pasto – 394

posticon Cayuga Power Plant to Become Data Center

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Cayuga Power Plant

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's May 9th announcement that coal-fired power plants would be banned in New York State by the end of 2020 may have seemed like the death knell for Lansing's Cayuga Power Plant.  But while the company intends to get out of the power producing business, it wants to become a consumer of over 100 megawatts by transforming the power plant building into a 'cloud' data center. Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne told the Lansing Town Board Wednesday that Heorot Power Vice President of Development Jerry Goodenough has told him that he is willing to sign a statement saying the company will no longer seek to repower the plant with natural gas.  Instead the company plans to transition both its Cayuga and Somerset plants into data centers, with a $100 million capital investment in the Lansing site.

"As diverse as we are in this county, I think a lot of the circles cross on this issue," LaVigne said. "I asked Jerry specifically, 'Will you sign an agreement that you will not re-fire the plant with natural gas?'  He said yes.  They're taking natural gas right off the table.  So there is no longer an issue of trucking, the pipes -- goodbye!  I asked them that specifically because that will take a lot of the angst out of it.  It's a new chapter, a new book, a new story, a new success.  They're going to reinvent themselves."

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posticon Mall Senior Housing Stalled Again

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Lansing Meadows Development RenderingRendering showing what Lansing Meadows would look like driving down Oakcrest Road

The Lansing Meadows senior housing project looked like it may be headed for more delays Monday, when Planning Board members heard a presentation for an amendment to the PDA (Planned Development Area) that could raise the number of units from 20 to 30.  Arrowhead Venture's Eric Goetzmann requested that the board deem the amendment a 'minor change' that would allow him to begin construction on the larger number of units right away.  A 'major change' would require further review that would certainly delay construction, but Planning Board members were not convinced the change is 'minor'.  The last-minute change is one of a string of nine major changes to a PDA that would bring housing for tenants 55 and older as a condition of being allowed to build the BJ's Wholesale Club building about nine years ago.

"I think everybody sitting here would love to see this done, including the developer," said Planning Board chairwoman Lisa Schleelein. "But it's been a long time coming.  I spent some time going over the minutes over the last ten years, and in that ten year period we're on our second attorney, our fourth code officer, I lost count of the number of planning board members, but about eight have come and gone.  Out of the 160 meetings we have held in that time this issue has come before us 57 times."

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posticon School Vote Next Tuesday

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Laqnsing Central School District Vote

Lansing Central School District voters will go to the polls Tuesday (May 21) to decide on whether to accept the proposed $30,794,650 budget, to also decide on the purchase of student transport vehicles, and elect three Board Of Education members.  School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso began with a summary of school facts and goals, followed by a budget presentation by School Business Administrator Kate Heath.  Proposition #1 is the budget proposal, which Heath says is estimated to have less than one percent impact on the tax rate.

"The proposed budget is a 2.42% increase over last year," Heath said. "We are under the tax cap at 2.48%.  We could have gone up to 2.94%.  The estimated tax rate increase is a 0.84%, so less than a percent increase for your tax rate.  That won't be finalized until this summer, when final assessment rolls come out.

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posticon Village Considers Cluster Development

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Beer Development Village of Lansing Project

Steven, David, and Beverly Beer were hoping that the third time would be the charm Monday, when they informally presented a new proposal for a development on remaining Miller property south of Millcroft Road in the Village of Lansing.  Rather than asking for a PDA (Planned Development Area, a kind of zoning that makes special rules for a particular project) that they wanted for their previous proposals, their new proposal proposes 84 units allowed for the property under the current zoning.  In this preliminary meeting they asked the Planning Board to consider allowing them to use a 'clustering' provision of the zoning ordinance that would allow for more intimate neighborhoods while guaranteeing that 20% of the property would remain 'forever wild' in addition to the 6% of the developed portion of the property they plan to develop as common space for the residents.

"There is the opportunity for the total of 84 units to be developed here in a straightforward, plain vanilla subdivision by right," said the Beers' attorney Randall Marcus. "The option exists for the developer to come in and carve up the property into those lots.  That's certainly something that could be done, however the Beers would like to take advantage of the clustering option for a variety of reasons. It's our perspective that those reasons all redound to the benefit of the village."

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posticon Munson Earns Registered Municipal Clerk Certification

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Lansing Town Clerk Debbie Munson

Lansing Town Clerk Debbie Munson received Registered Municipal Clerk certification last week at the New York State Town Clerks Association (NYSTCA) conference in Syracuse.  Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne recognized Munson's achievement at Wednesday's Town Board meeting, noting that the prestigious award recognizes the professional competency of Mrs.Munson in fulfilling the responsibilities of her office. 

"Well done, Mrs. Munson," said Ed LaVigne. "I must say that I have not heard one complaint about your office.  And many compliments."

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posticon Center for History & Culture Opens

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Tompkins County Center for History & CultureTompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson, History Center in Tompkins County Executive Director Rod Howe, NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton officially opened the Tompkins County Center for History & Culture Friday

The Tompkins County Center for History & Culture officially opened Friday in its new home on the Ithaca Commons.  The opening attracted hundreds of people who gathered in front of the new location for a concert by the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers and more than 20 speakers before a ribbon cutting, after which the crowd swarmed into the new museum.  The exhibit center is open Sundays noon to 4pm; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 5pm; and Thursdays from 11am to 7pm.

The former Tompkins Trust Company building has been transformed into a beautiful space,  making use of two vaults for exhibits, and with the  Thomas Morse S4 Scout ('Tommy'), built in Ithaca a century ago, restored and flown last October.  In addition to the History and Culture Center, the building houses offices for the Discovery Trail, the Dorothy Cotton Institute, Latino Civic Association, the History Center in Tompkins County, the Susan Christopherson Community Planning Center, the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, Discover Cayuga Lake, Ithaca Festival, Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, and the Wharton Studio Museum.

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