What is 54A corridor’s future?

Loujane Johns

The re-surfacing of State Route 54A between Indian Pines and Branchport was a dream come true for area residents: No more bumps and pot holes — just one smooth surface.

Then the announcement that Keuka Lake State Park was the choice of site for The Finger Lakes Museum slated for completion in three to four years started people thinking about the increase in the number of vehicles that will travel the road.

Now, some residents and town officials are thinking about the road and its corridor in a differt way.

The stretch of highway in consideration lies entirely in the Town of Jerusalem.

Recognizing the pros and cons of the increased traffic and businesses along the road that might be interested in taking advantage of the influx of tourists, the Jerusalem Town Council and planning board decided it is not too soon to start reviewing zoning in that area.

The Jerusalem Planning board has formed a zoning review sub-committee, chaired by Mary Coriale. In a recent phone interview, Coriale explained the purpose of the the committee and emphatically stressed the committee would rely on public input.

Coriale quoted the stated intent of any future zoning changes: “To preserve and enhance for future generations the Town of Jerusalem Scenic Corridor and natural resources through use of architecture and site design and zoning regulations to ensure the future development is reflective of the vision of the community as set forth in the current Town of Jerusalem Comprehensive Plan.”

“We want to be pro-active, rather than re-active, said Coriale. Currently, she says, the area is zoned agricultural/residential. The town’s A/R zoning is very “loose” and there is limited control as far as how something looks and how it will fit into an area, she says, explaining it is also quite restrictive on the growth of business.

Coriale says some of the current A/R regulations are a good fit but others aren’t. For example, those dealing with mobile homes and landing strips.

As the committee started going through uses allowed in the zone, they decided it would  probably be better to develop a new district specific to 54A, but continue to allow current A/R permitted uses, such as single family homes, farms and private garages.

The committee is looking at the possibility of sit-down restaurants, senior citizen, banquet centers and lodging to see if they are the right fit for the area.

“We want 54A to remain beautiful for generations to come. It is an exciting time for our town. We are at a crossroads. If the rezoning is done right, there will be a perfect blend of business, residental living and farming,” Coriale says.

The committee is also considering developing a small community plan for Kinney’s Corners to concentrate business into a more planned hamlet.

Coriale says the committee does include residents of 54A. She says some of the State Route 54A area residents and other residents have floated in and out of meetings just to see what is going on.

Plans are to hold a public meeting in February to solicit input and a survey will also be taken.  

“We are not going to change any zoning without public input, says Coriale.

“With the right regulations, the area will allow growth but look good. I hope people see the value in our work to protect property values, allow growth and to preserve the beauty of our area,” she adds.