Victory Sports Medicine wants to get bigger, but will Skaneateles residents let them?

Plans for "Victory Campus" on Route 20 in Skaneateles

After starting Victory Sports Medicine in 2001, President Dr. Marc Pietropaoli says he needs more room. With a philosophy of teamwork and bringing various aspects of sports medicine together, Pietropaoli is trying to give patients the ability to get everything they need in one state-of-the-art location.

After unsuccessfully trying to expand in other locations in Skaneateles, Pietropaoli purchased land on the east side of Skaneateles on Route 20 in January of 2009, and has been working to get his proposed state-of-the-art facility built ever since. He says his variety of programs, ranging from post-injury physical therapy and rehabilitation to preventative strength exercises, need space, which he does not have in his current location on Skaneateles' west side.

"These programs take a lot of space," Pietropaoli says. "We can't just have people running and jumping around and doing training programs without having a lot of space. So, it does require a lot of space to have an indoor facility, it requires a lot of space to do these activities outdoors too."

But, Pietropaoli is facing opposition from members of the community, most notably a citizen group called "Citizens to Preserve the Rural Character of Skaneateles."

In the past, the group, led by Holland Gregg, who's lived in Skaneateles for more than two decades, has been instrumental in keeping a strip mall and a bus garage out of the same location on Route 20. They say they do not mind that a local business wants to expand, but think the proposed expansion is too big for their small rural town.

"The developer is going to have a real difficulties," Holland Gregg, the executive director of "Citizens to Preserve the Rural Character of Skaneateles", says. "It is so different from what the community at large feels it should be."

Gregg says the town has a plan for what it will look like in the future, and a large sports complex, what he says lit up at night like a "spaceship," is not in it, or what they want people to see when they enter the Town of Skaneateles.

They believe those lights over the fields could tip the scales in this battle, especially since Victory Sports Medicine recently requested a variance through the Town Zoning Office in an effort to construct lights over 20 feet. The "Citizens to Preserve the Rural Character of Skaneateles" says if the town passes the variance, they are likely to pass the project as a whole.

Gregg says these lights, which are projected at about 90 feet tall, are a concern to houses nearby.

"Neighbors in the surrounding area are very concerned about the glare and the creeping lights that could be in their neighborhood," Gregg says.

But, Dr. Pietropaoli's face lit up when asked about the lights, as he responded by saying the technology they have researched keeps ambient light on the fields only, and away from nearby houses and businesses. Pietropaoli says this project would bring jobs to the area as well, and that he has spoken to other community members who are supportive and interested in what else the complex would bring to the community.

The Town Zoning Office says they have received both positive and negative comments about the proposal, and will continue taking written comments through November 13th.

After the 13th, the board will then make a decision if and when they will have a public hearing.