The Town of Otsego Planning Board approved the village’s site plan for the Gateway Project during its meeting Monday night.
The approval should clear the way for the village to secure federal funds for the project, which will make improvements to Linden Avenue and create new parking for visitors who will be able to use the trolley system to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame and other attractions in the village.
The project is seen as helping solve the village’s long-standing parking shortage and traffic congestion during the summer season.
The approval did not come easily as some board members grilled Peter Loyola, of CLA Site, the company hired to do the design work for the project.
Board members questioned the changes in the drawings Loyola has submitted to the board during its lengthy review of the project. Joe Galati and Donna Borgstrom both quizzed Loyola about the changes as the details of the project evolved.
Borgstrom, whose husband David is the president of Cooperstown Youth Baseball, did not recuse herself from the discussion. He wrote to the planning board as recently as Sept.1 complaining about thevillage not adequately addressing his concerns about the plan to move the CYB baseball facility to a new site.
Donna Borgstrom echoed some of her husband’s concerns about the relocation of the CYB facility during the planning board’s discussion.
Loyola told the board that the plans had not substantially changed and that the project remained the same.
``I kept you up to date,’’ he said.
According to Planning Board Chairman Paul Lord, the board often makes site plan approvals based on preliminary drawings, but that did not satisfy Borgstrom or Galati.
Borgstrom pointed out differences between the drawings submitted in June and July relating to shrubs, trees being cut, catch basins and the removal of concrete curbing.
``It’s added detail,’’ Loyola said.
``I don’t call it added detail,’’ Borgstrom replied.
``I don’t think you understand our site plan review,’’ Galati said.
``I don’t think there are significant changes,’’ Loyola said.
``That’s a matter of viewpoint,’’ Borgstrom said.
``They’re material and cardinal changes,’’ Galati said.
The planning board held a public hearing on the June drawings and Lord said the question is whether the differences between the documents is substantial enough so a member of the public would feel mislead.
Planning board member John Phillips said the board has to look at the concept of the whole plan.
``I think, in fairness, the thrust of the whole plan is pretty well known,’’ he said.
``We can have public hearings until the cows come home.’’
Lord said he does not think anyone was misled about the fact the ball field would be moved.
A motion from Borgstrom to deny the site plan application and schedule a new public hearing on the most recent set of drawings was defeated by a vote of 3 to 4.
A new motion, from Phillips, to approve the application with the conditions that CYB allow the village to represent it in the site plan review and that the village will come back to the planning board with any modifications to the plan was approved by a vote of 5 to 2 with Borgstrom and Galati opposed.