March 1, 2011


Planning Commission praises former chairwoman

Staff Reporter

One chair in the middle of the table remained empty as the city Planning Commission met Monday.
A motion was made and unanimously passed at the end of the meeting for the commission to recognize the hard work and dedication of the woman who would normally be sitting at the table with them: Nancy Hansen. Commissioner Bob Spitzer said he hoped the city Common Council would do the same.
Hansen was appointed to the commission in the fall of 2001 and served as its chairperson for several terms until her term expired Dec. 31.
Hansen could not be reached for comment by press time.
At the meeting, Rafael Felix was elected the new chairperson, while Jo Schaffer was named the new vice chair. Neither were in attendance Monday.
After presenting to the commission its lighting plan, the Cortland Repertory Theatre received final approval at the meeting for its downtown location in the former Recreation Bowling Alleys at 24 Port Watson St.
The commission already had approved most of the plan, but asked for more detail on the outdoor lighting. Accent lights will go up the side of the building closest to the city parking lot, as well as in the front of the building.
In addition to the new performance space and seating for 125 to 150 people, construction at the building will include new insulation, ceilings, electrical wiring, ventilation, windows and doors.
The commission also unanimously approved the draft Comprehensive Plan for the city of Cortland, and agreed to forward it on to the Cortland County Planning Board for its recommendation.
The plan deals with land use and zoning issues within city limits.
The commission also set a public hearing date for March 28 at the next regular commission meeting to review the plan.
The commission did not take any formal action, but had a brief question and answer session with representatives from the proposed new Express Mart at 162 Tompkins St.
The proposal came back from county planning two weeks ago with concerns regarding the area variance and special use permit for signs, garbage bin placement and setbacks.
Commissioners asked about traffic flow, and inquired about the ability for cars to leave while a gas delivery truck is unloading. The representatives said the trucks would likely unload at times that are least likely to interfere with business.
The proposed building, a 24-hour gas station that will include a food chain, will replace the Sunoco station on the corner of Tompkins Street and Broadway.
It will be on the site of the current Express Mart and the adjacent vacant lot that was home to Jreck Subs.
The site plan for a 12,000-square-foot addition to the rear of the YWCA building on Clayton Avenue was unanimously forwarded from the commission to the county Planning Board for its review.
The addition would include a multipurpose room and gymnasium.
The YWCA is hoping to break ground in the spring.
The plan was approved by the city Historic and Architectural Review Board two weeks ago, contingent upon the designer coming back with new color choices.
The commission agreed to send the proposal regarding a sorority house at 55 Tompkins St. to the county Planning Board. The building houses Pi Kappa Phi, a fraternity recognized by SUNY Cortland and the fraternity’s national organization, but is not recognized as a fraternity by the city.
Owner Gerry Ruggiero said he plans to fix up the building over the summer. The sorority Sigma Delta Tau would move into the building in August, he said. The sorority currently rents 39 Tompkins St.


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