Draft suggestions presented for rules on placing items on village sidewalks

— Efforts of local business owners to have a more inviting streetscape in downtown Cazenovia by putting tables, chairs and other items on the sidewalk outside their stores took another step forward last week when a draft of proposed new regulations on the issue was read, and a public hearing held, before the Cazenovia Village Board’s Jan. 7 meeting.

Only a handful of residents spoke or asked questions about the policy, and every member of the board expressed support for the proposed regulation changes.

The “suggestions for amending the village code regarding the placement of items on the sidewalk” changed only slightly from the draft of possible guidelines presented by the board in November and briefly discussed in December, said Trustee Peggy Van Arnam, who has been the board’s point person on the issue.

“Our plan is to hear from the public tonight and vote on any changes to the code at the March meeting,” Van Arnam said.

The question of allowing local merchants more freedom to place items on the sidewalks outside their shops within the village historic district was first broached last spring. The current village code does not allow anything owned by private individuals to be placed on the sidewalk.

The village board agreed to allow vendors to place small tables and chairs or other items directly in front of or attached to the front of the building owned or leased by them, provided they did not obstruct pedestrian flow, during summer 2012 as a way to gauge the effectiveness of possibly changing the policy.

“It’s been good; the merchants have been responsible this summer,” said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. In a sentiment echoed by the entire board, Trustee Jim Joseph said the entire process for considering and working through this possible code change “has been a success from the beginning.”

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