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ReZone Syracuse takes another step toward the finish line

John Marino
An aerial photo of downtown Syracuse looking toward Onondaga Lake.

Syracuse’s years-long effort to overhaul its land use priorities continues to move toward the finish line. Common councilors are expected to approve the final step of the state’s environmental review of ReZone Syracusenext week. It’s a requirement that ensures there’s no negative impact on the environment when changes are made to the decades-old zoning ordinance and map.

Assistant City Planning Director Owen Kerney told councilors today that their approvals will be needed throughout the multi-step process.

“This is a completion of one step of the environmental review, which  really allows us to move on to a bigger step and a significant step, and that is those revisions consistent with the environmental review so we can present it to you, the community, and get ReZone adopted in the coming months," Kerney said.

Kerney said the council’s approval at this stage essentially commits the city to identifying and mitigating the impacts that will make it into the final zoning ordinance and map.

“The changes we make will be guided by that environmental review, and as you know, councilor, we had a two month public comment period," Kerney said. "We received well over 100 comments, and really motivated many of the mitigation measures that we included in the final generic environmental impact statement and ultimately in this findings statement.”

Kerney said he anticipates additional public dialogue as the revised ordinance and map goes before the city’s planning commission and then again before the common council in the weeks ahead. The city began the process of modernizing its dated zoning laws in 2015. They haven’t had a complete update since the late 1960’s.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at