May 25, 2012

Discussing the Varna Master Plan

The Town of Dryden Planning Department returned to the Varna Community Center Wednesday with an update on the proposed master plan for the hamlet. Unlike last November's event, which was loosely structured and focused on what different parts of the...

Posted by simon at 5:04 PM

May 5, 2011

Varna moratorium non-introduction

I still haven't found time to write this up - and it needs some detail - but here's the recording of the Dryden Town Board's discussion of the proposed moratorium in Varna (25.8MB, 25 minutes) and the draft local law...

Posted by simon at 7:49 AM

March 11, 2011

Varna Planning - current status

(An update of my January report.) Concerns about the possible impact of large-scale development (likely Stephen Lucente's Varna II) on the Varna Master Plan work that's just getting underway are apparently not enough for the Town Board to be willing...

Posted by simon at 6:04 AM

March 10, 2011

Pocket Moratorium in Varna

I'm still trying to figure out what happened during last night's discussion of a moratorium on Varna development. That's not because the conversation wasn't clear, but because the decisions reached make a confusing situation even more tangled. The Board's choice...

Posted by simon at 7:25 AM

March 7, 2011

Petition for Varna moratorium

I reported about a month ago that the Town of Dryden is getting ready to develop a Varna Master Plan over the next few months, spending about $70,000 to address one of the most criticized aspects of the proposed zoning....

Posted by simon at 6:50 AM

January 29, 2011

"He doesn't take care of his properties"

and that's a good thing, or so I keep hearing from too many people whose judgement I didn't think was otherwise broken. If you talk with residents of Varna or just people who drive through regularly, the decaying appearance of...

Posted by simon at 6:31 AM

January 28, 2011

Varna Planning - current status

Update: new version of this story available. At both the Town Board and Planning Board meetings this week, Planning Director Dan Kwasnowski expressed concerns about the possible impact of large-scale development (likely Stephen Lucente's Varna II) on the Varna Master...

Posted by simon at 7:27 PM

January 4, 2011

Lucente ZBA hearing cancelled

Back on December 7th, the Zoning Board of Appeals deferred action on the Lucente Varna II appeal until January 11th, to address some concerns about the appeal and especially its environmental review. That's now apparently cancelled, because of a procedural...

Posted by simon at 12:25 PM

December 13, 2010

Pay your taxes first?

Dryden Daily KAZ takes a look at the hard questions of developer responsibility and what we hope to get out of development. Personally, I've never understood how anyone could expect the Town to help them out (toward making a profit,...

Posted by simon at 1:53 PM

December 10, 2010

SEQR main cause of delay on Lucente appeal

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on Tuesday's super-brief Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, looking more closely at why the ZBA delayed consideration of Varna II. The State Environmental Quality Review appears to be the main reason: [ZBA Chair] Quinn said...

Posted by simon at 12:30 PM

December 7, 2010

ZBA meets for six minutes, defers action on Varna II

Driving to Town Hall took longer than the meeting did. After Henry Slater, Dryden's retiring Zoning Officer, thanked the Zoning Board of Appeals and they thanked him (with applause from the crowd), Attorney Kristin Gutenberger asked the ZBA not to...

Posted by simon at 8:31 PM

Selling a Development Vision

The Route 13/366 Corridor Study, for all its flaws, attempts to sell a vision of Dryden. One key piece that it tries to sell is a new "nodal development" east of the NYSEG building, along the 13/366 intersection. The description...

Posted by simon at 11:56 AM

December 6, 2010

"I urge you to reject this appeal"

Dear members of the Town of Dryden Zoning Board of Appeals, I re-read Lucente Development's appeal to you for a reduced acreage requirement on a Planned Unit Development. If you knew nothing about the state of Dryden's zoning beyond what's...

Posted by simon at 12:15 PM

December 2, 2010

If this is listening...

I'll have more to say about the Varna Master Plan meeting last night, which mostly went well, but first I'd like to spit out one especially indigestible bit. When it came time to talk about opportunities, Larry Fabbroni, the engineer...

Posted by simon at 6:10 AM

November 30, 2010

Lucente appealing Varna II to ZBA December 7th

Steve Lucente apparently didn't like the rejection the Town gave his application for a 260-unit development in Varna, and is appealing it to the the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals. They'll be meeting December 7th at 7:30pm at Dryden Town...

Posted by simon at 12:39 PM

September 2, 2010

Varna II application bounces

Last we'd officially heard, there'd be news about Steve Lucente's proposed Varna II (or whatever he'll call it) project in "two to three weeks". That was about six weeks ago. I hadn't seen anything new from Lucente, but apparently he...

Posted by simon at 12:00 PM

July 20, 2010

New Varna II news in "two to three weeks"

This morning's Journal finally notices the Varna development conversations of the last few months. The biggest news in it is that there's a possible date by which we might learn something new about the evolving proposal. Well, not exactly a...

Posted by simon at 7:15 AM

July 8, 2010

First Impressions of last night's Varna meeting

Last night's meeting at the Varna Community Center to discuss Stephen Lucente's plans for development was one of the strangest meetings I've ever attended. I don't think it was just the heat. A few of the highlights, from my definitely...

Posted by simon at 8:08 AM

July 2, 2010

Planning Board Minutes Relevant to the Varna II Proposal

I mentioned earlier that I really like having public meeting minutes available on the town website. Among those minutes are Planning Board minutes. Much as I like having minutes available, sometimes it's easier to gather pieces about one subject into...

Posted by simon at 5:11 PM

June 30, 2010

Tompkins Weekly on Varna development

Reporter Nick Babel was at last Monday's meeting about development in Varna. The resulting article gets to a lot of the points raised, though most of the details come out quoted to me, and not to the many people who...

Posted by simon at 2:01 PM

June 22, 2010

Varna discusses its future

Last night, around 40 residents of Varna (and the Dryden Town Supervisor) gave up a gorgeous evening and came together to discuss what the future of the hamlet might look like. The meeting was preparation for a July 7th meeting...

Posted by simon at 6:49 PM

June 21, 2010


Here's the text of the mailing sent out about tonight's discussion of a vision for Varna: CHANGE IS COMING READ THIS LETTER & COME TO A MEETING FOR VARNA RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS OWNERS MONDAY JUNE 21 7 P.M THIS IS...

Posted by simon at 6:46 AM

April 26, 2010

Another vision for Varna: The Varna Community and Commercial Revitalization Plan

Back in 1999 and 2000, the Varna Community Association was looking ahead to how their hamlet should look, setting concrete goals that described their hopes. As I mentioned earlier, some parts of that plan have only just recently come to...

Posted by simon at 11:15 PM

March 23, 2010

Zoning discussed in Varna

Last night's public workshop on the amended zoning law was almost as busy as the one held January in Dryden, with some familiar faces but also a lot of new people. Settling in at the Varna zoning meeting. Opponents of...

Posted by simon at 7:57 AM

February 20, 2010

Where would Varna II go?

I've had a few people ask me where exactly these 260 units would go, so I pulled out some aerial photos from April 2005 that show the site. I wasn't so good with the camera that I got the entire...

Posted by simon at 10:37 AM

February 19, 2010

Is 260 units legal?

I was reviewing the old Varna II environmental impact statement, created by Lucente Development for an earlier iteration of this project in 2000. I was a little startled to find, on page 22 of Volume I, this statement: "[Section 803.5...

Posted by simon at 1:55 PM

New Varna II much denser than earlier proposal

Ten years ago, Varna residents fought hard against a 170-unit proposal. Last night, Stephen Lucente unveiled a a 260-unit proposal for the same area, apparently indifferent to the work of the project's neighbors and other Town residents that had gone...

Posted by simon at 7:34 AM

February 18, 2010

260 units over Varna?

Developer Stephen Lucente and his engineer Lawrence Fabbroni came to the Dryden Planning Board to have an initial conversation about their proposal for building a new development on the southern hillside above Varna along Route 366, running behind the existing...

Posted by simon at 9:35 PM