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Syracuse's council accused of delaying Comprehensive Plan

Syracuse's Director of Planning and Sustainability Andrew Maxwell accused the Syracuse Common Council Monday of "moving the goalposts" on enacting the city's 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which would be a guide to future zoning and land-use policies in the city.

Maxwell's department has been working the plan for three years, he says, and is frustrated the council has delayed action on it.

Councilors disagree with the sentiment and Councilor Lance Denno sharply rebuked Maxwell when he made the comment.

"The council will act when it's ready to act," Denno said.

The council was discussing if it was prudent to approve new zoning regulations for several neighborhood business districts if they could potentially be changed in the comprehensive plan.

"Conflating one with the other I think is inappropriate," Maxwell said in an interview. "I don’t think it’s good for the community. I’m hoping all of these can advance. I certainly have no desire to see the comprehensive plan take any longer than it already has."

The possibility of delaying a vote on the zoning caused local developer Walt Dixie to loudly criticize the council from the back of the room before storming out.

The council ended up approving the new zoning rules, with Councilor Kathleen Joy saying they should be worked into the new comprehensive plan, which was held for a few more weeks.

"It's not being held up," Joy said. "We're doing our job. We've had a public hearing, we're going to have some public meetings, we're going to get some public input. That's what we're supposed to do. So it's not being held up at all."