Oct. 19 City Council meeting

The Auburn City Council voted Thursday  to set two public hearings for the city's updated zoning code.

AUBURN — Members of the Auburn City Council voted Thursday night to set dates for two public hearings for input about the city's updated zoning code. 

The first meeting will be held during the Nov. 2 city council meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at Memorial City Hall.

Director of the Office of Planning and Development Jennifer Haines, who stood in for an absent City Manager Jeff Dygert during the meeting, said after the first public meeting, city staff will discuss the public's concerns and comments and incorporate them into the final draft of the code. Currently, the updated code is 75-percent complete.

The final draft will be made public during the Nov. 21 city council meeting.

On Nov. 30, the second public hearing will take place during the council meeting at 6 p.m. to hear feedback on the 100-percent completed draft. Then, council members will vote to approve the updated code on Dec. 7. 

A copy of the 75-percent draft is available on the city's website, auburnny.gov. The document was first made public during the September Planning Board meeting

Haines said several city residents and business owners have already expressed concerns regarding the code. She said staff has been working with these citizens to rectify any problems. City staff has been working with Bergmann Associates to overhaul the city's outdated zoning code, which has not had a major update since 1991. 

City clerk Chuck Mason said a hard copy of the draft is available at the city clerk's office. 

In other news 

• The city is preparing to close 3.6 acres of the municipal landfill as the sections have nearly reached capacity. The council voted to award a project bid to Adhan Piping Company, of Cortland, for nearly $270,000 to prepare the parcels for closing.

"What we're required to do by law, as certain areas become filled to capacity, we close them out as we go," said Superintendent of Public Works Mike Talbot. 

Work to actually close out the capped parcels will not begin until the spring or summer of 2018. The city will have to hire another company to do that work, Talbot said. 

"These are just the site improvements to get us to that point," Talbot said of the project voted on during Thursday's meeting. 

Before the parcels can actually be closed, the side slopes must be prepared for closure, which is the most difficult step because the slopes have to be at a certain angle for "stability purposes," according to Talbot. Intermediate cover also needs to be placed in areas to mitigate leachate outbreaks. 

The landfill covers 29.3 acres of land. Nearly 10 acres of the landfill have already be capped and closed, Talbot said. 

Talbot said the process is "pretty simple" and "straightforward." 

"It's really routine landfill stuff," Talbot said. "We don't have to borrow any money. It's part of our operating budget for the landfill."

• Councilors voted unanimously to accept a $10 million grant from the state to build the Equal Rights Cultural Heritage Center. 

On Oct. 5, council members voted to approve the project's environmental review and authorized City Manager Jeff Dygert to advertise construction bids for the project. 

Councilor Jimmy Giannettino said he wanted to remind residents that the welcome center is not being funded with local taxpayer money. The $10 million award is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Upstate Revitalization Initiative program. 

"This is the first award to Cayuga County. I'm happy it's coming to Auburn," Giannettino said. "I think this is a project that's going to further accelerate what's already going on in the city."

Staff writer Natalie Brophy can be reached at (315)282-2239 or natalie.brophy@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @brophy_natalie. 

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City Reporter