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New zoning amendments aimed at promoting an old-fashioned village atmosphere in Lancaster could be put into effect as early as next month, Mayor William G. Cansdale Jr. said Tuesday.

The mayor, speaking following an evening public hearing on the issue, said the village will use comments from the session to refine the amendments in preparation for a final public hearing Feb. 26 and the adoption of the revised ordinance sometime in March.

"We'll take all the comments and include them into the draft, hold another public hearing and then the board will move to adopt those changes," Cansdale said.

Residents, along with members of the Planning, Zoning and Village boards and the Lancaster Village Partnership filled the Village Hall chambers to offer last-minute suggestions and to hear the latest plans from representatives from Peter J. Smith & Co., Central Business District project consultants.

Stanley J. Keysa, the Town of Lancaster's Planning Board chairman and newly appointed consultant to the village's downtown revitalization and community development project, offered comments concerning downtown architecture, aesthetics and parking.

"I think we're all looking to have the same result -- to have an economically vibrant downtown and one that is aesthetically pleasing," Keysa said.

The challenge, according to Keysa, is "getting universal guidelines and at the same time allowing individuality."

With hopes of modeling business district architecture after a village circa 1860 to 1920, Keysa also stressed the importance of maintaining consistent architectural standards building by building.

"We're not building a museum here, we're building a working downtown. Styling and details should be true to the period," he said. "You need to have some variation between buildings to bring people to this area to want to look around and hopefully shop here."

The zoning ordinance is only one aspect of the village's downtown revitalization project, according to Jocelyn Gordon of Peter J. Smith & Co.

She mapped out for the audience the geographical boundaries of the central business district and its three zones.

The entire area is roughly bounded by Pleasant Avenue to the north, Central Avenue to the east, Broadway to the south and Aurora Street to the west, Gordon said. The traditional, new development and open space zones will be generally located within those boundaries.

The traditional zone, in the existing Central Avenue and Broadway corridor, will promote retail business and residential development while "preserving and maintaining the historic character of the properties," she said.

The village seeks a developer's help in its planned "new development zone," located northwest of the central business district, for retail, commercial and residential apartment development.

Meanwhile, the open-space zone will be designed to promote recreational enjoyment and protect the area around Cayuga Creek, officials said.

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