Lansing is at a turning point, with zoning laws that need to be updated and the ongoing need for conservation to protect our natural resources.
Acknowledging these issues, the town will begin revision of the zoning laws in 2022. This includes the zoning revisions of the rural agricultural area, which encompasses about two-thirds of the northern part of the town. It is also an area where development pressures are conflicting with resident’s expectations on a regular basis.
Lansing’s Comprehensive Plan calls for new zoning to preserve the agricultural nature that Lansing was founded on. Often, developers who reside outside the town want to build storage facilities, small discount stores and solar panels on the town’s open farmlands and along scenic corridors. Oftentimes, these developers look for two criteria: where traffic flows and where land is available. -Lansing residents want and deserve more. Zoning laws need to reflect demand but also residents’ wishes.
The recent Bell Station land controversy highlights how important natural areas such as Cayuga Lake’s beautiful gorges and diversity of plant and animal life are. The limited public access to the lake guards against access. If these precious lands are developed into homes or inappropriate commercial use, the lands and their natural habitat can never be reclaimed.
Studies prove that the costs to taxpayers to maintain the infrastructure of developments of homes and commercial properties demand more capital than is collected through local taxes that are generated from these sites.
The Town of Lansing is also considering several major capital projects, including rebuilding the highway barns and rebuilding portions of Myers Park. While some of these expenses can be covered by grant money, careful long-term financial planning will ensure that the town is not expanding faster than the tax base can afford.
Joseph Wetmore and Ruth Groff, two Democratic candidates for Lansing Town Board, have sound financial backgrounds. Both are committed to ensuring financial accountability, protecting the economic interests of Lansing’s residents, conserving precious natural areas, and preserving the character of our neighborhoods.
Wetmore, a resident of North Lansing, is running for re-election.
“I served on the Comprehensive Plan Committee before I was elected,” Wetmore explained. “And as a Town Board member, I helped shape some of the final revisions, like making sure the Comprehensive Plan stated Lansing’s desire to preserve the Bell Station land.”
Wetmore was an integral part of hiring a town planner, creating a Conservation Advisory Council and creating and co-chairing the Lansing Broadband Committee. Wetmore described the overarching goal of the Broadband Committee as “making an affordable fiber-optic connection to every address in Lansing.”
Wetmore is co-chair of the Tompkins County Council of Governments and represents the Town of Lansing on the Ithaca Tompkins County Transportation Council.
Groff, who has lived in Lansing for over a decade and currently holds the position of chair of the Lansing Democratic Committee, will bring sound financial management and accountability to the Town Board.
“I have been an accountant for my entire career, working for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, for-profits and not-for-profits, and with titles ranging from Controller to Director of Finance,” Groff said. “My responsibilities have included financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, analysis, teaching and ethics training. I believe these experiences in a variety of industries gives me a strong understanding of fiscal matters, as well as the skills to adapt to challenging situations.”
She is committed to Lansing and is an active volunteer at The History Center in Tompkins County, which serves to strengthen her belief that our history provides us with a “sense of place in our community.”
“I am looking forward to bringing my skills of fiscal responsibility and efficient management to Lansing while, at the same time, preserving the historical and special character of our town,” Groff said.
Town of Lansing, make your voices heard by voting for two seats for Town Board, Joe Wetmore and Ruth Groff, on Nov. 2. The Town of Lansing is at a turning point.