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Over the next few years, the Village of Lancaster's historic downtown is scheduled to undergo a face-lift.

Plans to enhance, enlarge and restore the character of the village's central business district already are well under way.

Village officials are encouraging residents to bring their ideas to Village Hall at 8 p.m. Tuesday for a hearing on zoning guidelines.

In exchange, village officials have scheduled a public information session in early March to unveil their own ideas in a comprehensive plan for the village's downtown development.

Mayor William G. Cansdale Jr. said the rezoning plans would control development in the business district.

A draft of the proposal, originally submitted to the village in 1999, calls for the village's downtown area to be divided into three zones: the Traditional Central Business District Zone, a New Development Zone and an Open Space Zone.

The traditional zone, located in the Central Avenue and Broadway corridor, is designed "to preserve and enhance the character and economic viability of existing historic structures" in the area.

It also seeks to promote the development of ground-floor retail, second-floor commercial/office/residential and upper-floor residential development, according to the proposal.

The new development zone would be located northwest of the central business district in the Pleasant Avenue and North Aurora Street area of the village, where village officials envision retail, commercial and apartment developments.

The open space zone would "enable the passive recreational enjoyment of land located near Cayuga Creek in the Central Business District," according to plans.

The land could be used for a park, playground, pedestrian and bicycle path or other recreation-type activities.

Other zoning issues outlined in the plan include standards for building design, lighting, signs, general landscaping and parking.

The Village Board, meanwhile, has scheduled a public informational meeting at 7 p.m. March 1 to update residents on the ongoing streetscape plan for the downtown commercial core.

The plan involves enhancing pedestrian access and improving aesthetics in the commercial core of the village.

"We're going to remove that 1970s appearance from the business district," the mayor said.

Cansdale said village officials also will use the meeting to "open the books" of the Lancaster Village Partnership, after Daniel L. Baccari, the village's former community development director and building inspector, admitted last fall to embezzling more than $25,000.

"We'll give a detailed description of what happened, how it happened, and what's occurred since (Baccari) was prosecuted," Cansdale said.

Baccari has since repaid the village and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 16 in State Supreme Court.

Stanley J. Keysa, chairman of the Town of Lancaster's Planning Board, was appointed last week to coordinate the village's downtown revitalization and community development efforts.

Keysa will be introduced at the March 1 meeting and give a brief presentation of his development plans, Cansdale said.

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